De-packing for anaerobic domination: ELB and Peats Soil

As the food waste issue escalates, Peats Soil is transforming South Australia’s organic waste into high-grade renewable energy, with help from ELB Equipment.

Australia’s annual food waste bill hit $10 billion in 2019, up from $8.9 billion the previous year. Despite ‘fault’ often being directed at primary production and manufacturing, consumers were the biggest food waste offenders, generating 34 per cent of the nation’s food waste in 2019.

While the key to fighting food waste, and waste generally, is reduction, advancements in the waste-to-energy sector are highlighting renewable energy opportunities.

South Australia’s Waste Strategy 2015-2020, for example, highlights anaerobic digestion as a cost-effective solution in areas without the feedstock levels required to sustain large-scale waste-to-energy operations.

To that end, recyclers across the state are working to transform organic waste into energy and fertiliser, fostering a sustainable biofuel future.

Peats Soil is one of those operators, which in addition to processing much of metropolitan Adelaide’s garden organics via council kerbside, collects food organics from hotels, supermarkets, schools, offices and manufacturers.

Peats Soil opened its fourth compost and renewable energy site in May 2019.  Peter Wadewitz, Peats Group Managing Director, says Peats Soil is committed to realising the environmental impacts of soil improvement, biofuel and regeneration.

“Redirecting organic recyclable materials from homes and businesses away from landfill means methane gas is transformed into captured biogas for renewable energy production, without affecting the production of valuable soil improvement products,” he says.

To assist its operations, Peats Group maintains a long-term equipment supply relationship with ELB Equipment. The 10-plus-year relationship, Peter says, began after ELB took over Komptech’s Australian operations in 2009.

“We’d been working with Komptech for years, and always relied on them to supply high-quality equipment. When ELB took over, that reliability and quality continued, so we stuck with them. It’s a good relationship with quality backup and support,” he says.

Additionally, Peter adds that he continues to work with ELB due to the innovative choices they bring to market.

Introduced to the Australian market by ELB in 2018, the Dominator Depackaging Machine is one such innovation.

According to Simon Humphris, ELB Product Manager, the Dominator Depackaging Machine is designed to separate food and liquid from outer packaging, allowing the reuse of waste that would otherwise be destined for landfill.

The Dominator was developed in 1992 after a bag of animal feed accidently fell into a pellet press conditioner. The empty bag was reclaimed, but the product had been removed. The incident gave Rowan, a family-run biomass engineering company, an idea.

“Countless trials and adjustments later, the machine is capable of depackaging food waste, plastic bottles, tetra pak, tin cans, plasterboard, sachets and pharmaceutical and bakery waste,” Simon explains.

Separated packaging can be sent for recycling, he says, further reducing waste and potentially generating additional revenue streams.

“Expired or reject food with faulty packaging can be processed and used for anaerobic digestion, with the output also added to animal feed and used as a wet additive in compost facilities,” Simon says.

When Peter acquired a Dominator 3000 from ELB in early 2019, anaerobic digestion was a critical decision driver.

“We use the machine to grind and screen anything that’s housed in food packaging, from yogurt containers to apple cider bottles,” he says.

“The output then goes into our anaerobic digestor to generate energy, with the remaining sludge added to compost.”

To start the process, waste is loaded into an intake hopper where it begins conditioning. The Dominator then uses a motor to drive a solid steel shaft lined with paddles. Using mechanical and centrifugal forces, material is depackaged and forced through a mesh screen, leaving two separated waste streams for further processing.

Next, the material is augured and pumped into a holding tank, before it’s transformed into renewable energy.

The Dominator is available in two different models, Simon says, with an arrangement of different sizes depending on throughput and space requirements.

Peter’s model, the Dominator 3000, is available with up to 78 paddles, while the Dominator 3500 is available with up to 96 for heavy duty operations.

“Both models have a potential throughput of up to 255 cubic metres an hour and are available in mild or stainless steel, with motors ranging from 15 to 75 kilowatts,” Simon adds.

Portability is an added benefit of the depackager, Peter says, with the ability to move the machine seamlessly between four sites a crucial component of Peats Soils’ anaerobic process.

“There are other machines that do the job, but like with any purchase, you get to a point where while they’re all efficient, one is just a little bit better,”  Peter says.

“The Dominator stands out as one of the best depackaging machines on the market.”

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Investing in a cleantech future: NCTCE

Peta Moore, National Cleantech Conference and Exhibition Director, highlights sustainable investment opportunities ahead of the August event.

As a novel approach to waste-to-energy (WtE), Moving Injection Horizontal Gasification technology works to sidestep the scaling issues often associated with traditional combustion technology.

Developed by Brisbane company Wildfire Energy, the technology converts biomass and waste feedstocks into energy and chemicals via a gas treatment train. With the ability to process a range of material without pre-treatment, Wildfire Energy’s current pilot product can convert between 20 to 100 kilotons of waste feedstock per annum – thereby offering an alternative solution for small-scale investment.

Moving Injection Horizontal Gasification will be one of many emerging cleantech technologies showcased at the 3-4 August National Cleantech Conference and Exhibition (NCTCE) in Brisbane.

Now in its second year, the conference will explore cleantech, an umbrella term for investment in sustainable products and services, as an instigator of innovation, creative collaborations and inclusive prosperity.

According to Peta Moore, NCTCE Event Director, cleantech is a growing sector in Australia, with an array of innovative organisations working to transform waste into economic, social and environmental opportunities.

Peta says sustainable waste management is vital to assist the transition to a circular economy.

“Some of the greatest barriers to achieving this are poor infrastructure and technology, and a lack of awareness of alternative solutions, which is what we’re hoping to address at NCTCE.”

The upcoming conference, Peta says, will showcase a number of innovative cleantech organisations, including Wildfire Energy and Licella.

“Wildfire Energy will present operational data from its pilot program and plans for a future commercial demonstration project in Queensland,” she says.

As a national platform, the event will bring together major players across the cleantech sector to exhibit new technology and research.

Peta says this year’s event will explore how cleantech can help fast-track sustainable growth. “At a time when people are asking what can be done?, this national conference will provide an insight into the solutions that exist today, or are in the start-up phase ready for investment,” Peta says.

Peta explains that plastic recycling generally takes two forms: physical and chemical. Physical focuses on the repurposing of resources, while chemical takes the material back one step further to its chemical building blocks to make brand new materials.

Drawing on a theme of problem plastic, Peta highlights Licella as another standout presenter.

“What if instead of seeing a plastics recycling crisis, Australia looks to lead the world towards a plastic neutral future? Licella will explore the opportunities of chemical recycling as a circular solution for end-of-life plastic at NCTCE,” she says.

Licella will present on its Cat-HTR technology, which transforms plastic waste into an oil, which can function as a direct substitute for fossil oil.

“This oil can be used to make fuels, chemicals and new plastics, plus the solution is commercial-ready, giving end-of-life plastic new life and transforming it into a truly circular resource,” Peta says.

The NCTCE team is currently seeking expressions of interest from event sponsors and exhibitors looking to highlight similar innovations to an audience of cleantech producers, users and policy makers.

“This is a multi-sector event. We understand that addressing the problems of today requires a holistic approach across technologies, behaviours and policies,” Peta says.

“Our speaker program aims to spotlight best-practice case studies, innovative partnerships and new business models, to help delegates navigate their way through the implementation process.

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One-stop-shop services for the Recycling Plant sector

Australia’s recycling plants are working harder than ever. A number of factors are contributing to the “24/7, 365-day” operating service recycling plants are having to provide, including the restrictions of recyclables imported to China imposed in 2018.

Up until the ban, Australia had sent 619,000 tonnes of recycling waste to China annually. This caused a strain on local recycling plants. Enabling seamless 24/7, 365-day operations was first and foremost on its mind when BSC Australia targeted its house-brand supply of industrial consumables to recycling plants.

Marlin offer a range of products which include chemical cleaning, materials handling goods, and lifting and hoisting equipment. The industrial consumables stream, secondary to BSC’s core business of bearings and power transmission solutions, was established with the intention of providing a one-stop-shop service to the industries they look after, according to National Accounts Manager Wayne D’Souza.

“The extensive range of industrial consumable products that BSC has to offer outside of bearings and power transmission is an attractive proposition for our customers. Ultimately, they’re looking at reducing their tail-end spend, and including these product ranges in their overall scope of purchases from us,” says D’Souza.

“Generally, our customers haven’t thought about us for this and they’re quite impressed when we start demonstrating the range we’ve got.”

“The industrial consumables range is really a valued-added solution for our customers. Many of our customers and contracts are looking to rationalise their supplier base to save valuable time and money and our BSC valued-added solutions go hand-in-hand with increased efficiencies in procurement and supply chain strategies,” says Industrial and Engineering Consumables Category Manager, Dominic Arena.

BSC uses international and local suppliers for the Marlin range of products, with full control of the sourcing and supply chain, allowing for full traceability from the manufacturing stage through to the end user.

“Through this distribution method we can also offer customised solutions for real-world problems that our customers may face with product development and technical engineering at the forefront of what we do,” says Arena.

BSC also has the technical capabilities to be able to customise its products to suit the different industries it supplies.

“We can offer customised solutions as well, because we have that technical engineering product development capability, which differentiates us from the standard distributor who just walks in and sells right off the catalogue. We’ve got eyes and ears in the field that pick up on feedback and customer needs, and we’re able to develop products and product ranges that suit their requirements,” says Arena.

Through this field experience, BSC saw the challenges to recycling plants that Marlin can alleviate.

“In these recycling plants, there are a lot of extremely heavy, awkwardly-shaped products moving around at a high velocity,” says Arena.

“You’ve got lots of equipment and lots of operators. Having the correct load restraint equipment that’s properly labelled for the weight and the dimensions is essential to ensuring best practice for how things get moved around.”

By improving visibility and enabling a better flow of movement throughout the plant, the materials handling products ensure safe practise as well as preventing the loss of time that results from on-site injuries. One of the most important factors to keeping recycling plants and their machinery operational is keeping them clean.

“If contamination or foreign matter were to get into bearings or critical pieces of equipment, it could cause catastrophic failings,” says D’Souza.

“It could just be something as simple as dust, or it could be heavy, chunky grease that forms over time; that’s just as dangerous as having dust. You’ve got to remove that because that can not only contaminate the recyclables, but it can get into some of the equipment that we provide, such as bearings, and lead to stoppages. It can also cause an OH&S issue when its dropping on factory floors, making it unsafe at the workplace for traffic to go through.”

The chemical cleaning products Marlin supplies can be used while the machinery is running. To break down contaminants, such as built-up dust, oils, and thick chunky grease, users can spray and wipe down machinery components and equipment without needing to slow down operations. Best practice, however, says D’Souza, means sometimes having to shut the equipment down now and then. However, Marlin enables this down time to occur less often.

For more articles like this, go to: www.lets-roll.com.au

                                           

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Infrastructure Australia calls for national waste and recycling plan

Developing a national waste management and recycling plan has been named a ‘high priority’ on Infrastructure Australia’s 2020 Infrastructure Priority List.

According to Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive Romilly Madew, the proposed initiative involves a coordinated strategy between all levels of government and the market to identify a program of investment in new waste recovery and reprocessing infrastructure.

“This aims to meet the long-term needs of Australians and to foster innovation and adoption of emerging technologies,” she said.

Challenges identified by Infrastructure Australia include a lack of space for transfer facilities, material recovery facility capacity in remote and regional Australia and under developed domestic reuse markets.

“Resilience was a key theme of our 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit and this focus continues to be reflected in our latest edition of the Infrastructure Priority List,” Ms Madew said.

“Compounding issues of unprecedented infrastructure demand, severe drought and other environmental changes require a focus on our resilience strategies, and a consensus on where to invest now for our nation’s future prosperity.”

Ms Madew also reaffirmed the role the Priority List plays in business case assessment.

“The Priority List has a strong record of driving national investment and has become a key reference point for all levels of government,” she said.

“This year alone we have seven infrastructure projects graduating off the list as they enter the delivery stage.”

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VIC Govt makes $100M investment in recycling industry

The Victorian Government will invest $100 million into the state’s recycling system to drive research and expand local processing and manufacturing.

The investment follows a suite of additional announcements earlier this week, including the introduction of a container deposit scheme and roll out of a four-bin kerbside system.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the measures are part of the state’s 10-year Recycling Victoria plan, which aims to reform waste management and create sustainable industry.

The plan, Mr Andrews said, will create an additional 3900 jobs for the sector.

“The $100 million investment will help local businesses give new life to old rubbish – better processing recyclable materials and getting more value from waste by making it available for end-market uses like recycled plastic in railway sleepers or recycled glass in footpaths,” Mr Andrews said.

As part of the package, the state government will double funding for businesses to invest in infrastructure to sort and reprocess recyclables for use in manufacturing.

Mr Andrews said the $28 million infrastructure boost will bring the total funding available through the Recycling Victoria Infrastructure Fund to $56 million.

“The package includes $30 million in grants to make Victoria a leader in recycling innovation – creating new products from recycled materials like glass, plastic, organics, electronic waste, concrete, brick and rubber,” he said.

“The government will also provide $10 million in grants to help businesses improve resource efficiency, reduce waste and increase recycling in their daily operations – saving them time and money.”

A new $7 million Business Innovation Centre will also be established, to bring industry, universities and councils together to develop new technologies and collaborate on creative solutions to waste challenges.

“For waste that can’t be recycled, processors will also be able to access $10 million for waste-to-energy initiatives, minimising the amount of rubbish being sent to landfill, while $11.5 million will go towards treating hazardous waste – protecting the community from illegal chemical stockpiles,” Mr Andrews said.

According to Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) CEO Gayle Sloan, the Victorian Government is leading the way by committing significant new funds to the industry.

“WMRR is pleased that the Victorian Government has flagged infrastructure investment as part of this package,” she said.

“This will be key to driving success as we work with government to continue to grow markets domestically for these valuable resources.”

Ms Sloan said that with 14 million tonnes of waste generated annually in Victoria, the investment represents a fantastic opportunity to transition the state’s remanufacturing industry.

“WMRR acknowledges that a sustainable remanufacturing base will take time to develop in Victoria, and its success depends on robust government regulation and policy that support market development and community and business demand for recycled material, which will go a long way in providing industry with certainty to invest,” Ms Sloan said.

According to Ms Sloan, WMRR will continue to work closely with Victoria’s leaders to provide feedback and input on the projects, policies, and investment priorities that will drive the sector forward.

“Market development and remanufacturing demand cannot however be achieved by one state alone,” she said.

“As we head towards the COAG meeting next month and impending export bans, it is vital that there be national action on creating markets and demand for recycled products, this includes emphasis on design, a mandated product stewardship scheme for packaging and national specifications.”

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VIC to introduce CDS and four bin kerbside system

The Victorian Government will introduce a container deposit scheme (CDS) by 2023, as part of a new suite of initiatives to reduce waste to landfill by 80 per cent over 10 years.

A four bin kerbside system will also be rolled out as part of a $129 million overhaul of the state’s waste and recycling sector, with seperate bins for glass, food and garden organics, household waste and plastic, metal and paper.

Premier Daniel Andrews said that by collecting glass separately, Victoria can ensure effective recycling, with jars and bottles transformed multiple times into different products, including new roads and footpaths.

“Separate glass collection will also make recovery of other recyclables – like plastic, metal and paper – simpler, with the food and organic bin significantly reducing the amount of waste going to landfill,” he said.

According to Mr Andrews, the bin rollout will begin gradually next year – informed by the needs of local communities and existing council contracts.

“There will also be special arrangements for remote regional households and people in apartments, to ensure everyone gets access to the new four-bin system,” he said.

“This represents a holistic approach to reducing, reusing and recycling our state’s waste. That’s good news for Victoria’s environment and good news for Victorian jobs.”

Waste management will also be classified as an essential service under the new system, to ensure a basic standard of service across the state.

Additionally, a dedicated waste authority will be established to help the state better govern its recycling system and hold waste service providers to account.

“An education and behaviour change campaign will support the rollout of the initiatives. It will target households, businesses, councils, community groups and charities – helping them transition to the new system,” Mr Andrews added.

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) has welcomed the changes, highlighting Victoria as the only Australian jurisdiction without a CDS currently in place.

VWMA CEO Peter Anderson said the association sees tremendous benefits for Victoria through the introduction of the scheme, including less rubbish sent to landfill, less litter from single use items covered by the scheme and the opportunity to further build public awareness about waste and recycling.

“The Victorian Government is to be congratulated for listening to stakeholders from the waste and recycling sector on the development of this CDS, which will transform how Victorians dispose of certain materials,” Mr Anderson said.

“It’s important that Victorians understand that this is not about imposing additional costs or inconvenience when it comes to disposal of recyclables. It’s about dramatically increasing the amount of waste that gets recycled and, conversely, reducing how much we send to landfill.”

The VWMA has worked closely with the Victorian Government to establish the scheme, Mr Anderson said, and looks forward to further engagement and consultation.

“As part of the transition to a CDS, change and adjustment will be required of every Victorian household and we may need to do things differently,” he said.

“Changes to the size of our bins and frequency of collection will be likely, and we look forward to working with the Victorian Government to help educate Victorians on the many environmental and economic benefits a CDS will deliver.”

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Waste Expo Australia

Waste Expo Australia will take place 21 to 22 October at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre showcasing over 120 brands and 35 hours of free-to-attend content over three conference stages.

The event is one of the largest gatherings of waste management and resource professionals in Australia and offers exclusive access to latest technology, information and trends while providing networking opportunities with industry experts.

Featuring over 120 brands and three conference stages that showcase over 35 hours of free-to-attend content, Waste Expo Australia is a platform for exclusive access to the latest technology, information and trends and to hear from industry experts and network with your peers.

Waste Expo Australia will examine the future of waste and recycling in the country, focusing on seven targeted areas: collections, resource recovery, landfill and transfer stations, waste to energy, commercial and industrial waste, construction and demolition waste and wastewater.