Aussie Sawdust to Fuel Indo-Pacific as Mauritius Trades Coal for Biomass!

Biomass from PEFC & FSC certified forests will drive decarbonisation across France's protectorates under a landmark agreement.

Tue 16 Jan 24


Liquidated Atlus Renewables has found a white knight after Paris-based renewable powerhouse Albioma acquired the liquidated company’s assets yesterday – including the Queensland-based Tuan pellet plant.

Positioned in the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin, the plant will supply Albioma’s power plants in La Réunion, a French protectorate in the Mascarene Islands about 175 km southwest of Mauritius, as part of the company’s commitment to create “green energy” for 2.1 million residents.

Locator map Mascarene Islands
The Mascarene Islands or Mascarenes or Mascarenhas Archipelago is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar consisting of the islands belonging to the Republic of Mauritius and the French Department of La Réunion. 

The plant, operational since 2014, uses pine sawdust from forest plantations to make pellets and supplies the product as a complementary fuel source for power stations.

At its peak, the company was one of Australia’s largest timber waste recycling plants, with the Tuan mill producing more than 125,000 tons of wood pellets and operating at 90,000 tons leading up to the liquidation.

Wood Central understands that the transaction also includes a 35,000-tonne storage facility in the port of Bundaberg and a 57-hectare site in South Australia, where the previous owners unsuccessfully raised capital for a 300,000-ton a-year “mega pellet plant.”

image 52
A mock-up of Altus Renewables’ Green Triangle proposed site. (Photo Credit: Altus Renewables)

The plant’s raw material is formed from residues supplied under long-term agreements from South East Queensland’s major sawmills, which are then processed from wood provided by PEFC and FSC-certified managed forests. 

“We welcome the team at Tuan, who bring all their expertise to Albioma,” according to President Frédéric Moyne, who spoke about the transaction from Albioma’s headquarters in Paris.

“This operation will enable us to diversify our pellet supply portfolio, which meets the most stringent requirements on sustainable development,” he said.

“In addition to locally-sourced biomass, which is naturally given priority to promoting the circular economy, this supply is essential to guarantee the continued production of renewable energy in the French Overseas Territories.”

image 53
Altus Renewables’ current plant near Maryborough, Queensland, produced less than half of the wood pellet the company proposes to manufacture from its Green Triangle plant. (Photo Credit Altus Renewables)

The acquisition steps up Albioma’s presence in the Indo-Pacific region, where they have been deeply rooted for decades – where they are replacing at least four coal-powered plants with woody biomass, solar and geothermal.

In addition to the French protectorates, it operates in mainland France, Brazil, Turkey and Canada.

Over the past 30 years, Albioma has developed a unique partnership with the sugar industry to produce renewable energy from bagasse, a fibrous residue of sugar cane. 

The group is also the leading producer of photovoltaic energy in the French overseas territories, where it builds and operates innovative projects with storage, as well as in France and Brazil.

Since 2021, the group has expanded into geothermal energy, acquiring two power plants in Turkey.

Renewable energy powerhouse Albioma has been operating in the French protectorate of Mauritius. It is committed to driving the “green transition” through the Indo-Pacific region – footage courtesy of @albioma2005 (in French).

It comes as solar power reached an installed capacity figure of 11.2 GW in 2020, with President Macron introducing reforms that led to the level of solar panels rising to 17.1 GW by the end of 2022 as part of a goal of 100 GW by 2050. and rose to 17.1 GW at the end of 2022. 

Editor’s note: The Queensland government between Gympie and Maryborough has approved plans for one of the largest wind farms in the southern hemisphere. The Forest Wind project will be embedded into the HQPlantation estate, Australia’s largest exotic pine plantation between Maryborough and Gympie in the Wide Bay region. The wind farm is valued at around $2 billion and could increase Queensland’s installed power generation capacity by about 9%.


  • Jim Bowden

    Jim Bowden, senior editor and co-publisher of Wood Central. Jim brings 50-plus years’ experience in agriculture and timber journalism. Since he founded Australian Timberman in 1977, he has been devoted to the forest industry – with a passion.


Related Articles