Sydney Water has started a waste-to-energy trial using food waste sourced locally to power Cronulla Wastewater Treatment Plant.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water Niall Blair and NSW Environment Minister and Member for Cronulla Mark Speakman launched the trial – the first of its kind for a utility in Sydney. The three-year project is jointly funded by Sydney Water and the Office of Environment and Heritage’s Sustainability Advantage Program. It forms part of a push by the NSW Government to lower energy costs and customers’ bills.
The project came about as Sydney Water already used an anaerobic digester at the site to process sewage sludge and a co-generator engine to generate power. By building another tank to take liquefied food waste, it can boost the microbes to make the methane, and generate the power required for operations at the Cronulla plant.
Sydney Water has partnered with Pulpmaster to bring the liquefied food waste from its clients to Cronulla. Pulpmaster supplies the equipment to commercial kitchens and markets to turn the waste into a slurry, and then collects it for use at the plant.
“It’s about keeping waste local and not sending it to landfill,” said Sydney Water Senior Media Advisor Mariana Cidade. “Our plant in Bondi has already been making its own energy and then some, so this is an exciting next stage project.”
Minister Blair said the project is a great example of Sydney Water and local businesses working together to develop solutions to benefit the environment and the local community.
“Not only will the food waste help to generate renewable energy to power the plant, it will also save 150,000 wheelie bins of fruit and vegetables per year from landfill.”
Minister Speakman said that the Cronulla project would be of great benefit to the environment and local residents.
“Renewable energy being produced from food waste will generate more than 60% of the energy the plant needs to run, which is enough to power a third of homes in Cronulla for a whole year,” Mr Speakman said. “Fruit and vegetable waste which is typically driven many kilometres away for landfill will also now stay in Cronulla. This means fewer trucks travelling long distances and a saving of 90,000 kilometres each year.”
A close up of the co-generation engine