International Sugarcane Biomass Utilization Consortium (ISBUC)


DATE: Wednesday, 1st August 2007
VENUE: ICC, Durban, South Africa
ATTENDANCE: As per attached list


At the second exploratory meeting of ISBUC in Maceio, Brazil, it was decided to officially launch ISBUC and hold the first official meeting during the ISSCT Congress in Durban. The first official meeting was chaired by Dr Peter Rein and Dr Jean-Claude Autrey and was attended by 45 people, representing all the major sugar producing countries.

Dr Rein welcomed delegates to the meeting. It was explained that ISBUC meetings are open to members only, but in this instance the meeting was open to observers as well, to give them the opportunity to join as members.

The process followed in the two preliminary meetings held last year to set up ISBUC was reviewed and the main aspects of the Memorandum of Understanding outlined to those present. This information is currently on the web site (


Although members were asked to sign up as members through the ISBUC web site, the response had been poor. During the course of the meeting a number of other organizations signed up. Membership was established as:
  1. Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute (Rene Ng Keekwong)
  2. Kenana Sugar Company, Sudan (Omer el Farouk Mirghan)
  3. Cengicana, Guatemala (Mario Melgar)
  4. South African Cane Growers Association (Adrian Wynne)
  5. Mitr Phol, Thailand (Pipat Weerathaworn)
  6. Australian CRC (Peter Twine)
  7. University of Campinas, Brazil (Luis Cortez)
  8. CERF, Reunion (Siegmund Bernard)
  9. Universidade Federal de Itajuba, UNIFEI, Brazil (Electo Silva)
  10. Cenicana, Colombia (Alvaro Amaya)
  11. Ceres Inc, USA (Steven Thomas)
  12. ISGEC John Thompson, India (D.K.Goel)
It was agreed that ISBUC is viable with this number of members and it is expected that more applications for membership of ISBUC will be forthcoming. (Subsequent to the meeting, an application has been received from ZeaChem). Principle Energy indicated a desire to join, but two organizations reported that they will not join, namely Mackay Sugar Co-operative and SRI-QUT, both in Australia.

The possibility of individual membership, rather than through an organization was raised, and this needs to be investigated.

Research Proposals

As agreed at the last meeting, two research proposals for consideration by ISBUC had been submitted. The process envisaged for making proposals involves placing them on the web site ahead of the meeting for members to familiarize themselves with the proposals before hand. In this instance most attendees had not seen the proposals and they were presented by Dr. Electo Silva.

The two proposals are:
  • Vinasse: life cycle analysis and cost assessment of different methods for its disposal
  • Design, build-up and evaluation of a sugarcane biomass (bagasse and trash) gasification pilot plant with 3 MWe of power.
Both are projected to run over 3 years, with multi-million dollar funding. After much discussion, it was agreed that both projects should be accepted and a source of funding should be established. It was decided to form 2 small committees to progress each of the proposals. The following agreed to participate in this way, together with Electo Silva and Luis Cortez:
  • Vinasse project: Pipat Weerathaworn, Rene Ng Kee Kwong, Adolfo Gomez.
  • Gasification project: Graeme Bullock, Tim Eggeman, Edgar Castillo.
Both funding and research providers need to be established. Multi-organization and multinational projects will gain favour with certain funding agencies.

Other issues discussed
  1. It was agreed that a list of members and potential collaborators be drawn up, indicating their current interests and research activities.
  2. The web site is an important part of the initiative and for the time being will be administered by the ISSCT Secretariat.
  3. The processing of high fiber ("energy") cane should be considered as a potential new project. This might involve some interaction with plant breeders.
  4. Peter Rein indicated that he will no longer be in a position to lead the initiative. It was agreed that Regis Leal will assume the role of champion of the consortium.
  5. A steering committee is necessary to guide the new consortium. The following people volunteered and were accepted as steering committee members: Regis Leal (Brazil), Graeme Bullock (Australia), Tim Eggeman (USA), Edgar Castillo (Colombia), Omer el Farouk Mirghan (Sudan), Luis Cortez (Brazil), Electo Silva (Brazil), Pipat Weerathaworn (Thailand), Siegmund Bernard (Reunion), Jean Claude Autrey (Mauritius), and Peter Rein (UK).
  6. The next ISBUC meeting will be held in Piracicaba, Brazil in July 2008, to coincide with another activity of interest.
22 August 2007.


José Luiz Oliverio Dedini S/A Ind. Base
Luis Cortez UNICAMP
Electo Eduardo Silva Lora University of Itajuba, UNIFEI
Edgardo Ouvares Gomez University of Itajuba, UNIFEI
Manoel Regis L.V. Leal CENEA/UNICAMP
Jaime Finguerut CTC (Piracicaba-SP-Brazil)
Phillip Lamport Cengicana (Pantaleon Mill)
Graeme Bullock Consultant
Peter Twine CRC Sugar Biotechnology
Tim Eggeman ZeaChem
Pipat Weerathaworn MP Sugar Research Centre Co Ltd
René Ng Kee Kwong MSIRI
Alvaro Amaya Cenicana, Colombia
Edgar Castillo Cenicana, Colombia
Adolfo L Gomez P Cenicana, Colombia
Ricardo Janeiro Merino    
Jorge Martinez Ucona? ATAM, Mexico
Manuel Enriquez Poy ATAM, Mexico
Raul Reissner ATAM, Mexico
Mario Melgar Cengicana, Guatemala
Vinay Kumar NFCSF, India
Thibault Florent Sugar Millers Syndicate, Réunion Island
Siegmund Bernand CERF (Reunion)
Graham Bonnett CSIRO
Mark Fanning Sugar Technology International
Omer El Farouk Mirghan Kenana Sugar Company
Lorraine Day Louisiana State University
Vadim Kochergin Audubon Sugar Research Institute
Donal Day Audubon Sugar Research Institute
David Love Tongaat Hulett Sugar
Dennis Walthew Tongaat Hulett Sugar
Bryan Lavarack Mackay Sugar Co-op Association
Geoff Kent Queensland University of Technology
Chris Norris TSB Sugar International
Alan Munro NSW Sugar Milling Co-op
Michael Steenmeiser BRN-Brazil
Adrian Wynne SA Cane Growers Association
Jean Claude Autrey MSIRI
Peter Rein Audubon Sugar Research Institute
Steven Thomas Ceres Inc, California
Prabhakar. N Deccan Sugars, India
D. K Goel ISGEC John Thompson, India
Phil Hobson Sugar Research and Innovation Queensland
University of Technology