Victorian Government launches waste to energy fund

The Victorian Government has launched a new $2 million program to support the development of waste to energy technologies, including anaerobic digestion and thermal treatment of waste.

The Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund will boost sustainable energy production using organic and other materials and divert more waste from landfill.

As a major food producing and processing state, Victoria’s commercial and industrial sector produced more than 300,000 tonnes of food waste in 2014-15, but only 22 per cent of that was recycled.

Diverting commercial and industrial food waste from landfills means methane produced during decomposition is not released to the atmosphere where it is a major greenhouse gas.

Methane released to the atmosphere is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide which traps heat and contributes to climate change.

The Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund is designed for the waste management sector, councils, water authorities and businesses with proposals for new or upgraded projects that can be commissioned by 31 December 2019.

Expressions of interest close on 3 April 2017. A full application and detailed business case assessment process will follow for eligible project ideas.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said waste to energy projects helped to reduce business costs, generating sustainable energy and reducing pressure on landfill.

“This program supports investment in renewable energy technologies that will help Victoria become a low carbon economy and reach our target of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“A variety of industrial and organic waste products can be used in waste to energy projects, however thanks to our agricultural base and food-culture, Victorian farms, food processors and commercial operations are well-placed to benefit from turning waste to energy.”

EnergyAustralia proposes waste conversion energy project in NSW

EnergyAustralia is looking to convert part of its coal-fired Mount Piper Power Station on the New South Wales central tablelands into a purpose-built boiler that would run on waste.

ABC News reported the $60 million project would be the first of its kind in Australia, as non-recyclable materials known as refuse-derived fuel are converted into energy, including plastics, linen and non-recyclable paper.

The power plant reportedly produces 15 per cent of the NSW’s electricity and sources all of its coal from the nearby Springvale Mine.

Mark Collette, energy executive at EnergyAustralia, told ABC News that while the technology was used to generate electricity in the United States and Europe, this project would be a national first.

“It’s a world-class technology. It’s commonplace throughout Europe, and we’re very excited to bring this technology to the central-west,” Mr Collette said.

“The central-west has always focused on new and innovative technologies in the energy arena and we’re continuing that fine tradition with this project.”

Mr Collette said the company would work with recycling management company Re.Group on a feasibility study into the economic viability of the project and its possible impacts.

“We’ll then look at all the things that really matter to us and to residents, so things like the potential environmental impacts, noise, we’ll look at dust, we’ll look at transport,” he said.

“We’ll make sure that we’re comfortable as one of the big residents in the area, that this project works on all those fronts.”

Mr Collette said there was the potential for significant environmental benefits, as materials used in the proposed facility would otherwise go to landfill.

“The refuse-derived fuel and the paper and the other components that it makes up, we actually think of that as a renewable source of energy,” he said.

“It is something that continually gets produced, and then used and produced, because paper is ultimately a renewable resource.

“So when you look at it from that perspective, we’re expecting that it will improve the overall emissions profile of Mount Piper.”

However, environmental group the Colong Foundation told ABC News the proposed project was the wrong step for diversifying sources of power.

Director Keith Muir said he was concerned about the potential impacts of pollution from the site.

“In burning waste, what you’re doing is you’re actually burning a resource, so any sort of strategies that we have for zero-waste gets undermined by this plant,” Mr Muir said.

“There is a big move now in Europe to stop building these sorts of plants and to go towards reusing waste as a resource.

“The air emissions include highly toxic pollutants, and these things are really carcinogenic and you only need tiny amounts in the air to increase cancer risks.”

Mr Muir said the ash from such a plant would also pose a risk to waterways.

“It’ll be emplaced in the Coxs River catchment, part of the drinking water supply [for Sydney],” he said.

“It shouldn’t be in that sort of environment. It should just be ruled out at this feasibility stage.”

The feasibility study, design work and planning applications are expected to take 12 months.

EnergyAustralia said a decision on whether to proceed with the project would be made in 2018, with first power scheduled for 2019.

New Waste and Recycling Industry Association formed

A new waste and recycling industry representative body was formed in Adelaide earlier this month, after a meeting attended by representatives from a range of companies with direct investment in the state’s waste management, recycling and resource recovery industry.

An inaugural management committee of the the Waste and Recycling Industry Association of South Australia (WRISA) has been formed consisting of representatives from Solo Resource Recovery, Peats Soil, Veolia, Mastec, Suez, Scout Recycling, ResourceCo and Bettatrans.

“Through WRISA, the waste management and recycling industry operators in South Australia will have the opportunity as a single voice to promote the industry, and optimise engagement of government, business and the community,” said Peter Wadewitz, president of WRISA and managing director of Peats Soil.

“Our objective is to influence change in the interest of the industry.”

The focus of WRISA will be to engage those with an investment in the industry and to promote solutions to the legislative and regulatory challenges facing the sector.

WRISA said the association’s activities will be ensuring consultation goes right across the local industry, and canvasses the views of all players large and small.





Sydney’s Trisun Green Energy Co secures work in Vietnam

Sydney-based firm Trisun Green Energy Co has secured approval to build a $520-million waste treatment plant outside Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam.

VN Express International reported the Australian company will use plasma gasification technology in the plant to burn 3,000 tons of garbage per day, which equates to more than 40 percent of the city’s volume of waste.

As Vietnam’s largest economic hub, Ho Chi Minh City has treated its waste using burial methods at its landfill sites, with the remainder incinerated and a small portion recycled.

The plant will use runaway heat to generate electricity while the post-incineration material will be used for making building materials.

Ho Chi Minh City will cover the cost to treat each ton of solid household waste, at $20.63 per ton, while the Australian firm will negotiate the price of treating industrial, medical and hazardous waste with their generators.

In October of last year, the city gave Cienco, a state-owned company providing environmental services, the green light to build the first waste treatment plant with the ability to generate generate power.

Data from the Ho Chi Minh City environment department found the city produces about 2.5 million tons of garbage each year, costing it VND1 trillion ($44 million) for waste treatment.

The plant will take about 33 months to be built.

E-waste recycling

ZenRobotics delivers new waste sorting system

Finish robotic technology developer ZenRobotics will deliver a new robotic waste sorting system to Melbourne waste management firm Sunshine Groupe.

Waste Management World reported the three-armed ZenRobotics Recycler units (ZRR3) would be the first of its kind in Australia, which will be fully operational by spring 2017.

Sunshine Group told the publication it had been investing its funds in a bid to become one of Melbourne’s primary waste processors.

“We believe that through changed thinking and innovative technology, wastes can be transformed into valuable resources. We will achieve this by challenging conventional waste practices and by looking for new and innovative technologies to recycle waste,” explained Tom Buxton, Director at Sunshine Groupe.

Sunshine Groupe installed a material recycling facility (MRF) at its Brooklyn landfill and recovery site through a partnership with Sustainability Victoria.

The facility has been used by the Melbourne company to better identify resources from the 120,000 tonnes per annum waste stream to be repurposed and reused for other materials.

Once the waste is sorted, it will be transferred to the robotic material sorting plant.

ZenRobotics explained that the ZRR3 will use precision sensors and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to sort specific material types from the waste stream.

Robots in Waste’s Jim Duncan told Waste Management World the Australian market looks very promising for the technology.

“It is exciting for Robots in Waste to have the Sunshine Groupe project finally close to completion as there are many companies that are aware of this significant development and are watching with interest,” he said.

“Because of the sheer size of our country we will have people flying across the continent to see the ZRR3 in action. Such is the interest in the system.”


Fuso Canter E-Cell

Fuso, part of the Daimler Group, has announced that its new Canter E-Cell electric truck will make its Australian debut in 2017.

The enhanced version of the Fuso Canter E-Cell electric truck, which was on display at IAA Commercial Show in Germany, has already undergone a number of real-world trials in Portugal.

Fuso Truck and Bus Director, Justin Whitford, has confirmed the eCanter will be involved in a local trial with key customer fleets this year. “We are excited to be able to conduct a local trial with the groundbreaking all- electric Fuso eCanter in Australia,” Whitford says.

According to Fuso, the new eCanter uses a permanent synchronous electric motor with an impressive output of 185 kW and torque of 380 Nm, with power transferred to the rear axle by a standard single-speed transmission.

“They are water-cooled lithium-ion batteries that feature a long service life, high ef ciency, especially at high ambient temperatures, and also compact design of the battery units. Despite the weight of the battery pack, the Fuso eCanter nevertheless boasts an outstanding weight balance: the chassis load capacity of the 7.5-tonne vehicle is 4.63-tonnes including the body and load.

“Individual battery packs with three to six sets of batteries of 14 kWh each are planned for the upcoming small-scale production run. This allows the eCanter to be adapted to customer requirements with regards to range, price and weight.”

Fuso adds that the eCanter’s locally zero-emission drive will not only reduce the impact of exhaust and noise emissions on city centres, but will also be an economically attractive alternative to diesel engines.



West-Trans launches new waste tarp technology

New South Wales transport equipment specialist, West-Trans Equipment, is now distributing TransCover tarpaulin systems into the Australian market.

The new tarpaulin technology is manufactured by UK-based TransCover and is purpose-built for the waste transport industry.

According to West-Trans Equipment, the TransCover system is lightweight, easy to install and economical to maintain. “TransCover had achieved this by developing a tarp cover that could operate in unison with a hooklift or a skiploader, which it called a HyCover and a Mini HyCover,” says Les Carpenter, General Manager of the West-Trans Group.

Carpenter says a key feature of the HyCover and Mini HyCover is that both products use air rather than hydraulics to extend the tower, and a high-duty cycle electric motor to extend and retract the tarp. “This results in a system that weighs just under 200kg, which is half the weight of the traditional hydraulically actuated tarps currently being used in Australia, at roughly 70 per cent of the cost.

“In addition, TransCover also manufactured an entry level tarp system to cater to budget-conscious operators, known as the PullCover. The PullCover system is fixed into the load board and operates with a simple spring-loaded drum, similar in operation to a Holland blind. All versions are available with and without side flaps.”

Read more at West-Trans 

Best on ground

You may not know what they’re called, but chances are if you’ve been to a large sporting event in recent years, you’ll know what they sound like.

Thundersticks have become a fixture at many sporting events in the past few years, and the little inflatable tubes that make a spectacular racket when clapped together en masse have become a particular fixture of the Big Bash cricket over the past two summers.

But it almost wasn’t so – at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) at least. When the Big Bash league first raised the idea of handing out thundersticks to spectators with MCG management, the reception was not immediately positive.

“I denied the request originally as we didn’t know if it was a recyclable product,” says Vince Macolino who is the Venue Presentation Coordinator for the MCG’s managing body, the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC).

Such is the MCG’s commitment to waste reduction, working with Terracycle they sent the thundersticks in question over to the USA to be analysed, and only approved their use once it was determined that they could be recycled.

This is the kind of thinking that has seen the MCG recycle more than 77 per cent of the 1691 tonnes of waste it produced in 2016.

When Macolino joined the MCG’s team at the end of 2013, he conducted a thorough review of the venue’s waste management procedures.

While the venue was doing a reasonable job at the time, with multiple recycling streams in place, capturing just over 60 per cent of the waste generated on site, Macolino set to work with external consultant David Raiko and KS Environmental to find ways to improve. “We came up with a training and education program that was targeted at our contractors and caterers – the main people who produce and needed to be aware of the waste management producers,” Macolino says. “We identified the waste streams at the MCG, what they looked like, where they were located, and everyone who attended those sessions was then responsible for on-training their teams.”

Macolino implemented monthly reporting procedures to track how they were performing and to help identify any problem areas.

“For example, if we’ve sent more waste to landfill, investigate why that’s happened,” he says. “We make each department and contractor accountable for their own recycling – if you’re doing the wrong we’ll follow up on it.”

Macolino’s team developed a waste hierarchy that prioritises avoidance, reuse and recycling of waste that is now regularly communicated to all departments within the venue.

“People can also phone me if they’re unsure,” he says. “Over the past year, I’ll get phone calls from staff and contractors asking about how to dispose of a waste properly, because people are aware that we’re doing something about it.”

One of the MCC’s key partners in this task is ISS.

“ISS are on the ground day-to-day – they’re one of the big companies responsible for recycling at the MCG,” Macolino says. “They’re invested in our recycling rates as well and trying to get the best for MCC.”

Macolino says that one of the biggest challenges is dealing with what people bring into the MCG and leave behind on event days, such as bags,  food packaging and drink bottles that might not be recyclable.

To read more, see page 40 of Issue 10.

Central Australian salt mine to operate as waste facility

A proposed salt mine in Central Australia will also be used as a deep storage facility for archival material and hazardous waste.

Developers Tellus Holdings noted the facility’s potential in a statement, as the draft environmental impact statement [EIS] was released last week.

Managing director Duncan van der Merwe told ABC News the concept was nothing new.

“The voids leftover from mining effectively creates an underground warehouse business,” Mr van der Merwe said.

“This is popular in Europe and North America where the banks and governments store equipment and electronic archives and paper copies.

“It’s just like one of your commercial above-ground storage facilities, but is well suited in a dry environment.”

The proposed Chandler site salt mine is 120km south of Alice Springs.

Mr van der Merwe said waste types, such as those from agriculture, the construction sector, health care, manufacturing as well as chemical, industry, mining and technology could be stored in the rock salt mines.

“Oil, gas and waste from utilities like electricity, water, gas supply [can also be stored],” he said.

The facility would be able to store or permanently isolate up to 400,000 tonnes of waste per annum, the draft indicates.

ABC News reported the company expects to start with 30,000 tonnes for the first year and an average 340,000 tonnes per annum after that.

Mr van der Merwe said underground salt mines were ideal for storing these waste products.

However, he said they will not take nuclear and uranium waste.

“We’re emphatically saying that we will not take uranium waste and nuclear waste. In the event that we even get approached down the road we will decline that.

“We are not interested in using out facility for these services.”

The draft EIS is available for public comment until Friday, March 31, 2017.

Sydney Opera House is following a new environmental sustainability plan

Sydney Airport achieves Airport Carbon Accreditation

Sydney Airport has achieved Airports Council International (ACI) Level 3 Airport Carbon Accreditation by working with airport business partners to manage and reduce carbon emissions.

Airport Carbon Accreditation recognises and accredits the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions, with four levels of certification: Mapping, Reduction, Optimisation and Neutrality.

Sydney Airport Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kerrie Mather welcomed the accreditation.

“This is a fantastic result that recognises our continued work with airlines, tenants, business partners and airport staff to map and then reduce our overall airport carbon footprint,” Ms Mather said.

“Sydney Airport has already delivered a 25.6% reduction in carbon emissions per passenger since 2010, well ahead of our target date. We’ve also achieved an absolute reduction of 8% – a great result given the growth of our business since 2010.”

To achieve Level 3, Optimisation – Sydney Airport was required to:

  • measure emissions from the landing and take-off cycle, electricity usage, ground transport and staff business travel;
  • provide evidence of stakeholder engagement;
  • meet level one and two accreditation requirements; and
  • show a reduction in its carbon footprint by analysing the carbon emissions data of three consecutive years.

ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Director Patti Chau said the program is the only institutionally-endorsed, carbon management certification standard for airports.

“Sydney Airport’s achievement is no small feat. It is a demonstration of the airport’s commitment in operating the airport in an environmentally sustainable manner together with its business partners, with the willingness to go the extra mile.

In addition to achieving Level 3 Airport Carbon Accreditation, Sydney Airport has implemented a range of environmental initiatives, including:

  • a $5 million investment in environmentally friendly ground transport, including Australia’s first electric airport buses;
  • investing significantly to reduce water usage across the airport including development of a recycled water treatment plant;
  • investing to facilitate cleaner, quieter, next generation aircraft;
  • developing an energy and carbon reduction plan to identify new energy savings, greenhouse gas emission reductions and energy efficiency opportunities;
  • becoming the first Australian airport to release a Sustainability Report in line with GRI G4 reporting requirements;
  • development and implementation of an Environment Strategy and a Sustainability Strategy;
  • partnering with environmental education provider Kids Teaching Kids, mentoring future environmental leaders; and
  • working with Conservation Volunteers Australia to deliver environmentally beneficial outcomes across the local community, including a bush regeneration program at Kamay Botany Bay National Park.

ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation is an international and industry recognised certification program designed to assess and recognise airports’ efforts to manage and reduce their carbon emissions.

It is the only industry-specific, performance-based, voluntary and institutionally- endorsed accreditation label designed specifically for airports.