New VIC WtE Facility to convert liquid food waste into biogas

The Victorian Government has launched a new recycling facility in Melton that will recover resources from waste, cut greenhouse emissions and produce enough renewable energy to power Western Water’s Recycled Water Plant.

On Friday 26 March, Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio opened Western Water’s Melton Waste to Energy Facility, which was supported by an $800,000 grant from Sustainability Victoria’s Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund.

The $3.3 million facility will treat up to 5000 kilolitres of liquid food waste each year – including leftover cooked meals, food scraps, fats, oils, old drinks and greases – from local businesses and convert it into biogas.

The facility will generate up to 1000 megawatt hours of renewable electricity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 900 tonnes annually – the equivalent of taking 300 cars off the road each year.

Biogas produced at the facility will be used to power the Melton Recycled Water Plant on site, reducing reliance on the grid and cutting Western Water’s energy costs.

“With organic waste representing over 30 per cent of the total solid waste sent to the state’s landfills, this waste-to-energy facility is an important part of the Victorian Government’s targets to reduce the amount of organic waste that ends up in landfill,” D’Ambrosio said.

“The Melton Waste to Energy Facility will contribute to the state government’s goal of halving the amount of organic material going to the state’s landfills by 2030 and assist Victoria in meeting its zero net carbon target by 2050.”

The facility meets strict requirements set by EPA Victoria to ensure there are no negative impacts on neighbours or the environment.

Any odour generated by the additional organic waste treatment will be contained within the plant’s buffer zones.

According to a Western Water fact sheet, biogas generation is an existing component of the wastewater treatment process at Melton.

“Increasing biogas production will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Resource recovery is an important focus for the government and liquid organic waste is an ideal resource for treatment at the Recycled Water Plant,” the fact sheet reads.

“The new digestor at Melton Recycled Water Plant was designed to meet the needs of the growing population for the next 15 years.

“As a result, it currently has ample spare capacity for treatment of other wastestreams. The facility will create a new revenue stream for Western Water, helping keep the costs of our services down for all customers.”

The Melton Waste to Energy Facility development follows a similar renewable energy initiative at the Recycled Water Plant, which saw Western Water construct a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array in December 2019.

The solar array reduces Western Water’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 15,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide or an average of 630 tonnes per year over the next 25 years, which is the expected life of the asset.

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