$9.4 million bioenergy project to convert waste into biofuel in WA

$9.4 million bioenergy project to convert waste into biofuel in WA

The Western Australian Government will invest a $2 million grant from the Collie Futures Industry Development Fund to secure a $9.4 million waste recycling plant for the state’s Collie region.

The collaborative project will be delivered by Renergi, with support from the state government, the Shire of Collie and the Federal Government, which has provided $3.9 million in funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Renergi will design, build and operate a 1.5 tonnes per hour demonstration scale distributed energy from waste plant that will incorporate Renergi’s patented grinding pyrolysis technology.

The plant will convert 4000 tonnes per year of municipal solid waste, which would otherwise go to landfill, and 8000 tonnes per year of forestry and agricultural wastes to crude pyrolysis oil and biochar.

The bio-oil will be sold to local industrial customers as a liquid fuel to generate industrial heat, while the biochar will be sold to WA farmers as a soil conditioner.

According to Western Australian Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan, the project makes a considerable contribution to the circular economy by diverting council waste from landfill and turning it into energy and other valuable by-products.

“This innovative bio-energy project is another example of the Western Australian Government’s Collie Futures Industry Development Fund working to create long-term opportunities for the town,” she said.

“A prototype of this design has been operated by a team led by Professor Chun-Zhu Li in Curtin University’s laboratory at Technology Park, with this new commercial-scale plant having potential to revolutionise the management of municipal waste throughout the state and beyond.”

The project has attracted private investment from a consortium of investors related to ZEN Energy, led by Professor Ross Garnaut and Western Australian businessman Norman Pater.

This consortium will support the future commercialisation of the Renergi technology at other regional locations around Australia.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project could see other opportunities open up for regional communities to convert their waste into fuel.

“Landfill avoidance has become a key issue in Australia due to restrictions on the export of materials to Asia, with approximately 75.8 million tonnes of waste being generated in 2018-19 alone,” he said.

Miller added that Renergi’s project aims to solve some of the current waste disposal problems affecting local councils.

“Renergi’s technology will demonstrate the viability of a scalable distributed energy from waste process, which will use low value waste to displace fossil fuels and thereby helping to reduce emissions,” he said.

“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.”

The project is expected to create up to 10 jobs during construction and up to 10 jobs once the plant is fully operational, as well as generate flow on economic, social and environmental benefits for Collie and the wider WA community.

The design phase will commence this year, with the plant expected to be operating within two years. Renergi will give preference to local manufacturers for the construction of components of the plant.

The facility is to be co-located with the Shire of Collie’s landfill site, to enable access to municipal waste.

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