Renewable focus: ResourceCo

ResourceCo has appointed leading expert Henry Anning to its newly created energy arm to spearhead renewable energy solutions.

As more Australian businesses seek genuine alternative energy solutions, international alternative fuels leader ResourceCo has moved to provide further industry support.

Earlier this year, clean energy expert Henry Anning took on the newly created role of Chief Executive Officer of ResourceCo’s “specialised” energy arm.

Henry previously led the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s (CEFC) bioenergy platform and oversaw the investment of more than $400 million in energy projects – worth a billion dollars in the sector. This included supporting ResourceCo’s vision to roll out and build new Processed Engineered Fuel (PEF) manufacturing plants Australia-wide, including its latest plant at Wetherill Park in Sydney.

He was also an Associate Director at Low Carbon Australia, where he focused on bioenergy sector finance and industry engagement.

Henry says it’s an exciting time to be joining ResourceCo, as the company’s waste-derived fuel provides a unique solution for the manufacturing sector.

“Businesses are needing low-cost, long-term renewable energy solutions fast as soaring gas and electricity prices are really hurting them. For many, gas prices have increased four-fold over the last five years,” he says.

Henry explains that there are a lot of manufacturers who are using natural gas, in particular, for heat, such as hot water, steam or hot air. He says manufacturers have expressed their frustration about the uncertainty surrounding gas prices, market volatility and short-term energy fixes.

“Manufacturers and other high energy users are wanting certainty on lower energy prices and ResourceCo is uniquely placed to provide a lower cost, renewable, long-term energy solution.”

In response to these market demands, ResourceCo is expanding its suite of 24 plants across Australia and South-East Asia by developing new energy plants with biomass boilers to use PEF. The product is manufactured mainly from timber waste materials but also includes cardboard, paper, textiles and plastics.

At its own cost, ResourceCo can install a waste-derived fuel biomass boiler between five to 40 megawatts, effectively combusting waste timber from construction, demolition, commercial and industrial sites. Henry says that this provides customers with over a 90 per cent renewable heat source as an alternative to gas and significantly reduces energy costs.

“We are targeting businesses who are using between 100 thousand gigajoules or a petajoule of natural gas. By setting up the infrastructure of the energy plant, owning and operating it for the customer, we’re taking away any responsibility for capital costs while demonstrating responsible environmental management.”

Subject to the approval process and depending on the scale of the new plant, ResourceCo estimates construction will take up to 18 months.

“It’s about us being a long-term energy partner, providing a fixed cost solution and allowing the manufacturer to focus on their core business,” Henry says.

“These businesses have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into their own facilities and need certainty about their energy costs as well as assurance they’re receiving a quality product.”

Henry says while there are other biomass feedstocks on the market, ResourceCo’s waste derived fuel is a fantastic environmental and business solution that is cost effective, simple and reliable.

ResourceCo’s proven track record as a leading provider of alternative waste fuels is demonstrated by its long-term partnerships with major companies such as Boral, Adelaide Brighton Cement, Suez and Cleanaway.

“We’ve been providing PEF to major industrial customers for more than 10 years and strong business-to-business relationships are critical and a top priority,” Henry says.

“We know where our PEF is going, that it’s being used properly, and has the full backing by the environmental regulators in each jurisdiction, both locally and overseas.”

ResourceCo only takes construction demolition and commercial industrial waste and deals directly with the customer.

Its business model is to ensure a strong chain of custody, environmental compliance and investment in local communities.

The company recycles more than 95 per cent of incoming materials while processing over two million tonnes of materials annually. Its alternative fuel complies with the requirements of the Australian Governments Clean Energy Regulator under the Emissions Reduction Fund.

“Heat is too often a forgotten energy in Australia, with electricity regularly being the focus of policy discussions to reduce emissions,” Henry says.

“PEF is a proven and successful technology, with hundreds of plants throughout Europe using waste-derived fuel for heat and electricity.”

He says that the waste-to-energy market is earmarked to become more sophisticated over the next five years, as the sector continues to experience significant growth.

“To achieve zero waste and carbon emissions is of course the ultimate goal and while this in reality is a long way off, major steps must be taken by the sector now to move towards long-term solutions.

“Future and consistent recognition of the different types of waste to energy available in the market is vital to show this is a much better solution than landfill.

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Sims Metal Management to open Australian waste-to-energy plant

Sims Metal Management will expand into the waste-to-energy market, with plans to install and operate seven plants over the next 10 years, according to an ASX report.

The metals and recycling company will leverage expertise and best practices from joint venture partner LMS Energy, a leading landfill energy company in Australia, and later expand that business model into other parts of the world.

Sims Metal Management Group CEO Alistair Field told investors the company is strongly positioned to become a global leader in the circular economy and act as responsible stewards for the environment.

Mr Field said the company plans to acquire or build a minimum of 50 Megawatts of sites within the next six years.

To generate electricity the company will capture the energy available in non-metallic residue produced during the metal shredding process.

Mr Field addressed opportunities for growth within the company’s existing metals and e-recycling businesses, as well as plans to establish new businesses to reduce waste and produce renewable energy.

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Veolia to commence O&M on Australia’s first thermal WtE facility in 2021

Construction has begun on a thermal waste-to-energy facility in Kwinana, WA that will be operated and maintained by Veolia Australia and New Zealand post-construction for 25 years.

Avertas Energy has been named the supplier and will contribute to landfill reduction by processing 400,000 tonnes of waste, equivalent to one quarter of Perth’s post-recycling rubbish. Diverting this waste from landfill will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 400,000 tonnes per year, equivalent to taking 85,000 cars off Perth’s roads.

In addition, Avertas Energy will generate and export 36 megawatts of green electricity to the local grid per year, sufficient to power more than 50,000 households. Scheduled to open in 2021, Avertas Energy already has 20-year waste supply agreements in place with Rivers Regional Council and the City of Kwinana, playing a role in supporting those local governments’ waste management strategies. As the preferred supplier of baseload renewable energy, Avertas Energy will also be supporting the green energy needs of the Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA) and its members.

Avertas Energy is implementing moving grate technology which is used in approximately 2000 facilities globally. Waste managed by Avertas Energy will result in recovery of metallic materials that will be recycled and by-products that will be reused as construction materials.

WA Premier Mark McGowan joined Macquarie Capital and Phoenix Every Australia representatives to ‘turn the sod’ at a ceremony last Friday.

“Having the country’s first thermal waste-to-energy facility built in Western Australia demonstrates confidence in our economy and shows WA has the capacity to be at the forefront of new technologies for waste management,” he said.

The plant will generate more than 800 jobs during construction and 60 positions once fully operational.

Funding for the project has been provided by Macquarie Capital, Dutch Infrastructure Fund, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and a range of financial institutions.

Federal Government Environment Minister Melissa Price said the government was pleased to support this project with a $23 million grant and up to $90 million in debt finance.

Avartas Energy CEO Frank Smith said the facility represents a significant opportunity to reduce pressure on landfill capacity and create a new and reliable source of green power.

Acciona Geotech Managing Director Bede Noonan said the company anticipates this project will contribute to the development of specialist skills in the Western Australian construction industry, creating local opportunities for subcontractors.

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Teys Australia revels plans for low emissions energy hub

Beef processing company Teys Australia reveals plans to develop a $42 million low emissions energy hub (LEEH) at its Wagga facility.

The LEEH will result in the facility being independent with all energy needs to be met by the hub which will provide electrical and thermal energy and free up the available power in the grid, particularly during peak periods.

The announcement follows a two million jump in energy costs in the last financial year.

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Teys Australia chief supply chain officer Tom Maguire said the LEEH will have significant returns for the facility, Wagga and the environment.

“The hub will include baseload bio-generation, solid waste digestion, solar PV, energy storage and biomass boilers to produce steam.

“Together these technologies will provide stable baseload power that integrates with the grid, improving energy security, and reducing emissions,” he said.

Mr Maguire said the region’s farmers will also benefit with the ability to sell farming waste to be used for energy generation.

Teys will fund half the hub’s cost and applying for government funding for the remaining half.

East Rockingham first waste-to-energy project for SUEZ

WA’s East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility has awarded waste management giant SUEZ a 20-year minimum contract as waste management partner.

SUEZ has partnered with a consortium of four companies running the facility – Hitachi Sozen INOVA (HZI), Tribe Infrastructure Group and New Energy Corporation, which won a series of competitive tenders for long-term contracts in the Perth metropolitan area before securing the East Rockingham partnership.

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The facility encompasses the design, construction, financing and operation of a greenfield waste-to-energy facility, 40 kilometres south of the Perth CBD.

The project aims to treat approximately 300,000 tonnes of waste per year from municipal, commercial and industrial sources including up to 30,000 tonnes per year of biosolids.

Energy generation targets are expected to reach 29 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to supply 36,000 homes following the start of construction slated for 2019.

SUEZ will provide 65,000 tonnes per year of commercial and industrial waste, maintenance services, removal of non-processable waste at its Bibra Lake and North Bannister facilities and the purchase of renewable electricity generated for its Perth operations.

This is the second waste-to-energy plant planned for the Rockingham-Kwinana industrial region.

EGL acquires RCR’s Energy Services after voluntary administration

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Fuel cell powered waste collection vehicle in development

Commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania has teamed up with Swedish waste company Renova to develop a fuel cell powered refuse truck with a fully electrified power train and compactor.

The two companies aim to reduce emissions and noise to make the electrified vehicles an attractive alternative when working in residential areas at early hours of the morning.

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Renova and other waste handling companies have previously carried out trials with electric refuse trucks, however this will be the first with fuel cells.

Scania Electric Powertrain Technology Project Manager Marita Nilsson said the company is highly interested in gaining more experience of fuel cells in actual customer operations.

“Fuel cells constitute a promising technology in the needed decarbonisation of transports,” Ms Nilsson said.

Renova Head of Development Hans Zackrisson said electrification using fuel cells fuelled by hydrogen is a highly appealing alternative for heavy commercial vehicles such as refuse trucks.

“The trucks benefit from all the advantages of electrification while maintaining some of the best aspects of fossil-fuel operations, namely range, hours in service and payload,” Mr Zackrisson said.

Scania has also previously partnered with Norwegian food wholesaler Asko to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology for its production plant.

The project is being implemented in cooperation with the Swedish Energy Agency and Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology. The fuel cell refuse truck is expected to be delivered in the end of 2019 or by the beginning of 2020.

WA EPA recommends approval for East Rockingham WtE

The WA EPA has recommended conditional approval of New Energy Corporation’s change in technology from gasification to combustion for its proposed East Rockingham waste to energy (WtE) facility.

New Energy Corporation proposed using Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) Grate Combustion technology, which the EPA found did not bring any further risks to the surrounding environment or communities.

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The technology allows for a greater waste throughput at the facility, increasing the amount of waste it can process from 225,000 tonnes per year to 300,000, leading to increased electricity generation.

The EPA has also recommended strict new conditions for the proposal to ensure only residual waste is accepted at the WtE facility to be consistent with the state’s waste hierarchy.

The EPA has defined residual waste as “waste that remains after the application of a best practice source separation process and recycling systems, consistent with the waste hierarchy”.

Under the new conditions, WtE proponents will need to develop a Waste Acceptance System Plan and a Waste Acceptance Monitoring and Management Plan to identify the suppliers of waste and describe the types of waste, waste loads and quantities accepted.

WA currently has four approved WtE facilities, however none are in operation.

EPA Chair Tom Hatton said the HZI technology is used widely around the world, having been tried and tested in more than 500 plants.

“While the gasification technology originally proposed for the facility was also deemed to be acceptable by the EPA, the combustion technology has been used in a number of facilities of a similar scale, and we have determined it does not pose any additional risks to the surrounding environment and community,” Dr Hatton said.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson will make the final decision for the proposed change. The EPA’s report is also open for a public appeal period which closes Monday 5 November.

Perth anaerobic digestion project wins bioenergy award

A project that converts food waste to energy has won an award at the Bioenergy Innovation Awards dinner in Queensland.

Four bioenergy projects and the Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk were awarded top honours at the awards night, which showcases Australia’s bio-based alternatives for heat, power, and liquid fuels.

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Perth based Biogas Renewables has commissioned a plant that will take between 35,000 and 50,000 tonnes of food waste per year and is capable of producing between 2.4 to 2.6 megawatts of energy.

The company was awarded the Large Scale Bioenergy Innovation Award for the project, with Bioenergy Australia CEO Shahana McKenzie saying the application of anaerobic digestion is a major advancement of the Australian market.

Biotechnology company Microbiogen was awarded a commendation for its development and launch of a superior biocatalyst for the global bio-ethanol industry.

Ms Palaszczuk was awarded the Government Leadership Award for the Queensland Government’s 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan to support the growth of the state’s bio-economy. The plan identifies 15 current projects which represents a potential investment of around 41.4 billion and the creation of 2500 new jobs in rural and regional communities.

“The integrated approach is paving the way for Australia to develop a sustainable, export-oriented industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector by 2026,” Ms McKenzie said.

“The plan shows a pathway which recognises Queensland’s mix of natural resources, skilled workforces, world-class research and development and supporting supply chain industries.”

The research Leadership Award was presented to the Australian Biomass for Bioenergy Assessment platform, which is a collaboration of states, industry and universities to enable better links between biomass suppliers and end users.

Victorian Pyrenees Shire Council won the Community Leadership Award for its large-scale project which focused on converting straw and straw pellets to energy.

Ms McKenzie said the awards are recognition for the breadth and scope of the bioenergy work being undertaken across Australia.

“Bioenergy is the subject of considerable interest and investment world-wide, due to its enormous potential to reduce carbon emissions and drive a more sustainable energy future,” she said.

Full list of winners:

BIOENERGY INNOVATION AWARD – LARGE SCALE
Winner: Biogass Renewables Pty Ltd, the Richgro Anaerobic Digestion Project
Commendation: Microbiogen Pty Ltd, the Development and Launch of World’s First Superior Biocatalyst for Global Bio-Ethanol Industry

BIOENERGY INNOVATION AWARD – SMALL SCALE
Winner: Dragon NRG Pty Ltd, the Meredith Dairy Bioenergy Project Commendation: ReNu Energy Limited, Goulburn Bioenergy Project

BIOENERGY COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AWARD
Winner: Pyrenees Shire, the Pyrenees Straw Project
Commendation: CLEAN Cowra, Goulburn Bioenergy Project, CLEAN Cowra BioEnergy Hub Commendation: Mt Alexander Sustainability Group, Integrated Community Bioenergy from Waste project

BIOENERGY CORPORATE LEADERSHIP AWARD
Commendation: MSM Milling, MSM Milling Biomass Fuel Switch Project

AWARD – BIOENERGY RESEARCH LEADERSHIP AWARD
Winner: Australian Biomass for Bioenergy Assessment
Commendation: Queensland University of Technology Industrial Biotechnology, Bioproducts and Biorefining Team, Achieving bio-economy impact through industry focused research

BIOENERGY GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP AWARD
Winner: Premier of Queensland, the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP