AORA welcomes new VIC funding for organic W2E projects

A small-scale biogas, organic waste to energy plant
The Victorian Government has announced $300,000 funding for innovative technology organic waste to energy projects.

The Advanced Organics Processing Technology Grants program aims to local government and businesses with installing small scale on-site or precinct-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) technology for processing organic waste in Victoria.

Announcing the new funding, the Victorian Government says supporting alternative waste-to-energy technologies will help to keep organic waste out of landfill, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide an alternative energy source.

The program aims to help overcome barriers to adopting these technologies by supporting pilot projects that demonstrate the viability of organics recovery and processing, and which can easily be replicated.

Announcing the new grants, Victorian Environment Minister Lisa Neville said: “This funding will support businesses that produce organic waste on site and have identified alternative technologies as a future opportunity.”

In 2011/12, the commercial and industrial sector generated more than 280,000 tonnes of food waste, with only 10 per cent recycled, indicating a significant opportunity to increase the recovery and reprocessing of wasted food. It also presents opportunities for economic development with the potential to create jobs and drive investment in Victoria’s waste and resource recovery industry.

Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio added: “The use of recovered organic materials as a renewable energy source is an emerging opportunity that the we are committed to exploring further.”

The Australian Organics Recycling Association is a consistent supporter of projects that divert organic waste from landfill and find valuable uses for it. Its Executive Officer, Peter McLean, said the new Victorian grant program is a positive step forward for organics recovery in Australia and that AORA would look forward to seeing the results.

“Small scale and localised energy production has many strong benefits, and the by-products can be used as nutrient-rich fertilisers or inputs to product quality composts,” said Mr McLean. “As anaerobic digesters are also enclosed systems, it is much easier to control odours which allows them to be easily used in city environments and within the confines of buildings, this is commonly the case in many European countries.”

Although welcoming the funding, Peter did raise concerns about the continual challenge of contamination products, like plastics, which make organic recycling difficult and make anaerobic digestion inefficient. He asserted that the use of Australian Standard compostable bags will need to be considered in the feedstocks for these funded projects.

Applications  for the Advanced Organics Processing Technology Grants program close on 21 March 2016. For more information on these grants, visit the Sustainability Victoria website.

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