Construction complete on WA waste to biofuel plant

WA waste to biofuel plant

Construction is complete on a new demonstration plant in Western Australia that will turn household waste and biomass into biofuel.

In partnership with the Shire of Collie, Renergi has completed construction of the $10.4 million Collie Resource Recovery Centre, with support from the Western Australia and Commonwealth governments. Renergi also attracted investment from a private consortium to develop the project.

The plant will convert rubbish collected from households, as well as biomass wastes, into commercially viable bio-char, bio-oil and wood vinegar.

Chris Bowen, Federal Energy Minister, and Don Punch, Regional Development Minister, on Friday joined representatives from Renergi to mark the completion of construction of the Collie Resource Recovery Centre.

The plant, which was built using a patented design and uses technology developed in WA by Renergi, is the first of its kind and positions Collie as a pioneer in the negative-emission bio-based circular economy. Renergi and its technology were incubated at Curtin University by an engineering team led by Professor Chun-Zhu Li.

The project is expected to attract wide attention as a possible clean way of converting biomass and municipal solid wastes into valuable products. It could also reduce landfills to low levels and convert plastic wastes into industrial and energy inputs.

Up to 12 full-time jobs will be created to support the operation of the facility, which is co-located with the Shire of Collie’s landfill site.

Punch said Renergi is one of a growing number of trailblazers who have seen an opportunity in Collie and, with the funding provided by the State Government, have grasped that opportunity.

“The plant will turn trash into treasure in the form of bio-char, bio-oil and wood vinegar.

“The community wins as economic and environmental opportunities flow.”

Biochar can be sold as a soil conditioner or used in road construction, where it is recognised as a medium for secure, long-term carbon sequestration.

Bio-oil can be used as a liquid fuel or as feedstock for replacement of fossil carbon in chemical manufactures, iron-making and other industries. Wood vinegar is a valuable input in horticulture.

Local use of bio-oil and char can potentially contribute to other industrial developments in Collie and the surrounding region.

Bowen said the world’s climate emergency is regional Australia’s jobs opportunity and the ARENA-backed project is an excellent example. The Collie project demonstrates how all levels of government – Federal, State and local – can work collaboratively to create jobs in regional communities as the world decarbonises.

Jodie Hanns, Collie-Preston MLA said she was pleased to see Collie at the forefront of new technology that not only creates jobs but tackles the problem of waste in an innovative way.

“There is genuine optimism in the community as the town’s bright future takes shape,” Hanns said. “The completion of this demonstration plant builds confidence in Collie’s future.”

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