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The WA EPA has recommended conditional approval of New Energy Corporation’s change in technology from gasification to combustion for its proposed East Rockingham waste to energy (WtE) facility.
New Energy Corporation proposed using Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) Grate Combustion technology, which the EPA found did not bring any further risks to the surrounding environment or communities.
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The technology allows for a greater waste throughput at the facility, increasing the amount of waste it can process from 225,000 tonnes per year to 300,000, leading to increased electricity generation.
The EPA has also recommended strict new conditions for the proposal to ensure only residual waste is accepted at the WtE facility to be consistent with the state’s waste hierarchy.
The EPA has defined residual waste as “waste that remains after the application of a best practice source separation process and recycling systems, consistent with the waste hierarchy”.
Under the new conditions, WtE proponents will need to develop a Waste Acceptance System Plan and a Waste Acceptance Monitoring and Management Plan to identify the suppliers of waste and describe the types of waste, waste loads and quantities accepted.
WA currently has four approved WtE facilities, however none are in operation.
EPA Chair Tom Hatton said the HZI technology is used widely around the world, having been tried and tested in more than 500 plants.
“While the gasification technology originally proposed for the facility was also deemed to be acceptable by the EPA, the combustion technology has been used in a number of facilities of a similar scale, and we have determined it does not pose any additional risks to the surrounding environment and community,” Dr Hatton said.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson will make the final decision for the proposed change. The EPA’s report is also open for a public appeal period which closes Monday 5 November.
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The City of Cockburn has accepted a tender to supply its general waste to HZI consortium’s waste to energy (WtE) plant for the next 20 years.
The deal will begin from 2021 and will be processed at a proposed facility WtE in East Rockingham, WA.
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Under the agreement, waste will be delivered from kerbside collection to the plant at an estimated cost of $3.47 million for the first year.
This represents a considerable cost saving on the current arrangements for waste disposal, according to the City of Cockburn.
The Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council has accepted the consortium as the preferred waste disposal tenderer.
Moving grate combustion technology is planned to convert energy from general waste and turn it into electricity, while also producing ash by-products that could potentially be used in road construction.
City of Cockburn Waste Manager Lyall Davieson said the waste supply agreement represented significant savings for ratepayers and would divert greater volumes of waste from landfill.
“Waste disposed at landfill attracts an ever-increasing state government landfill levy, which is currently $65 per tonne, but this levy does not apply to WtE,” Mr Davieson said.
“The state government has determined that no further landfills will be approved on the Swan Coastal Plain,” he said.
“When existing landfills reach capacity, the city, along with many other metropolitan local governments, will have to transport its general waste to regional or inland rural areas, a costly proposition that would also increase the city’s transport carbon emissions.
“The WtE process is environmentally favourable to landfill in that valuable materials are converted for energy production. There is also potential for the city to purchase the electricity produced by processing the waste.”
Mr Davieson said the initiative will build on the weekly recycling and green waste services provided by the city.
“Sending the city’s waste to the New Energy WtE facility will help the city reach an overall waste diversion rate from landfill of 85 per cent for all its household waste streams, well above the Waste Authority’s target,” Mr Davieson said.