An Australian developed waste-to-fuel conversion process will be deployed in a new demonstration project in Western Australia, that will produce useful liquid fuels from organic waste otherwise destined for landfill.
Renergi will establish the waste-to-energy demonstration project in the Collie Shire in Western Australia, the state’s coal centre, and it will have the capacity to process around 1.5 tonnes of organic waste each hour.
Overall, the plant will have the capacity to convert 4,000 tonnes per year of waste that would be otherwise destined to landfill, and up to 8,000 tonnes a year of forestry and agricultural wastes, diverting the waste from landfill.
The Renegi project will construct the $9.3 million demonstration plant that will use new pyrolysis technologies developed by the Curtin University’s Fuels and Energy Technology Institute. The technology uses an innovative ‘grinding pyrolysis’ process, that produces a crude pyrolysis oil and biochar.
The crude pyrolysis oil will be able to be processed into a liquid fuel, and the biochar has the ability for use as a soil conditioner.
“This innovative project will save around 4,000 tonnes of solid waste from going into council landfill each year, an issue faced by local councils across Australia,” federal energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor said.
“Around 8,000 tonnes of forestry and agricultural waste each year will be used to produce bio-fuels for local industry and create bio-char that farmers can use to condition their soil.”
The pyrolysis processes allow the project to produce useful energy from waste materials without the use of an incinerator, avoiding concerns that are often raised by environmental groups and local communities around projects that involve the burning of rubbish.
The ACT government recently agreed to ban the construction of any new waste incineration facilities, following strong community backlash to a proposed project in the territory.
The demonstration project has received a $3.9 million funding boost from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) along with funding from the Western Australian government, and Renergi has previously attracted investment from a consortium of investors tied to economist Ross Garnaut’s Sunshot Energy.
“While other energy from waste projects are focused on incineration at large centralised plants, Renergi’s technology is a potential waste treatment solution for regional and smaller towns,” ARENA CEO Darren Miller said.
The project is expected to be up and running within the next two years.
Western Australia is set to be become host to a number of waste to energy projects, with a 17MW project being developed by New Energy Corporation in the regional centre of Port Hedland.
John Laing is also working on the development of new waste to energy plant, with the capacity to process up to 300,000 tonnes of waste, collected from the Perth metropolitan area.