One million tonnes of PEF: SUEZ-ResourceCo

SUEZ-ResourceCo’s South Australian waste to energy plant has officially produced one million tonnes of alternative fuel.

Australia’s first waste-to-energy plant celebrated the production of one million tonnes of alternative fuel in November, and as a process aside, the diversion of two million tonnes of waste from landfill.

Working closely with Adelaide Brighton Cement, ResourceCo developed a Processed Engineered Fuel (PEF) as a partial replacement for fossil fuels for the company’s cement kiln in 2006.

The result is a plant capable of sorting, sizing and extracting 300,000 tonnes of combustible material each year. The Wingfield plant in South Australia is operated as a partnership between ResourceCo and SUEZ.

Simon Brown, ResourceCo Managing Director, says the company is proud to play a role in Australia’s efforts to move away from a make, use and dispose model in favour of a circular economy.

“ResourceCo’s ethos is to recover, recycle and re-use products to extract their maximum value – in this case dry non-recyclable material,” Simon says.

“The plant is a great example of what’s possible when it comes to circular economy initiatives.”

Cement produced by Adelaide Brighton, using PEF from the Wingfield plant, has been used in a host of major infrastructure projects across South Australia.

According to Simon, the Wingfield facility uses world-leading technology to harness the energy value in construction, demolition, commercial and industrial waste, otherwise destined for landfill, transforming it into a baseload fuel.

When unveiling a plaque to mark the one-millionth tonne milestone, Steven Marshall, South Australian Premier, acknowledged the facility as a great example of what’s possible in the resource recovery industry.

“South Australia leads the nation in resource recovery, and projects like this are fantastic for the environment as well as the economy,” Steven says.

“We know that for every tonne of waste recycled, there are more than three times the amount of jobs created compared to when sent to landfill.”

David Speirs, South Australian Environment and Water Minister, says the SUEZ-ResourceCo facility reinforces South Australia’s reputation as a national leader in waste management and circular economy initiatives.

“The waste management and resource recovery industry is a major player in South Australia’s economy with approximately 4800 people employed, and we want to this number to grow,” David says.

Mark Venhoek, SUEZ-ResourceCo Chairman and SUEZ Australia and New Zealand CEO, says in addition to creating employment, the SUEZ-ResourceCo partnership has resulted in significant environmental outcomes.

He adds that the facility has contributed not just to significant landfill diversion, but also a reduction in the state’s reliance on fossil fuels.

“PEF presents a cost-effective, sustainable solution to the generation of baseload energy, while helping to address the complex issues of waste management – it’s a win/win,” Mark says.

“Since launching as Australia’s first waste-to-energy plant in 2006, the facility has helped reduce annual green house gas emissions to the equivalent of the electricity supply of 50,000 homes.”

Nick Miller, Adelaide Brighton Limited CEO, shares Mark’s enthusiasm.

“SUEZ-ResourceCo’s alternative fuel reduces Adelaide Brighton Cement’s reliance on natural resources, as well as the use of raw materials in the cement manufacturing process,” he says.

“Through the use of this alternative fuel, Adelaide Brighton Cement has achieved a reduction of approximately 500,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions since project inception.”

Tony Circelli, South Australian EPA Chief Executive, says the plant illustrates an innovative way of dealing with waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill.

“The EPA has driven a regulatory risk-based framework to ensure that innovation can occur with strong attention and adherence to their social license,” Tony says.

“The outcome is positive both for the environment and the people of South Australia.”

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East Rockingham WtE facility announces financial close

The consortium developing the East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility has reached financial close on its waste-to-energy project (WtE) in Western Australia.

The consortium is led by Hitachi Zosen Inova, with SUEZ operating as waste management partner under a 20-year contract.

SUEZ Australia & New Zealand CEO Mark Venhoek said the project demonstrates SUEZ’s commitment to develop WtE in Australia.

“WtE is currently the missing link in Australia’s waste management hierarchy and will play a key role as we move towards a circular economy,” Mr Venhoek said.

“The project will significantly accelerate the improvement of waste treatment practices in the Perth region, as well as reducing their environmental footprint.”

As waste management partner, SUEZ will facilitate waste supply via post-recycling residuals, operations and maintenance, power off-take and disposal services for fly ash residue and non-processable waste.

The facility will treat approximately 300,000 tonnes of residual waste from municipal, commercial and industrial sources and generate 29 mega watts of renewable energy each year.

The facility is the first of its kind in Australia to use “waste-arising” contracts, which provide flexibility to councils to help them meet waste reduction targets without overcommitting waste volumes.

Hitachi Zosen Inova Australia Managing Director Marc Stammbach said the facility will use proprietary moving grate combustion technology.

“For Hitachi Zosen Inova this project marks our entry into the Australian market and introduces our world renowned and leading technology to Australia – something we’ve been working on for a long time,” he said.

“For the Perth area this project marks a major step towards sustainability and renewable energy from waste.”

Financing of the $511 million project was supported by an $18 million grant from ARENA.

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SUEZ and Yume announce strategic partnership

A new partnership with Yume will see SUEZ leverage its customer network to tackle commercial food waste, as more than 4.1 million tonnes of surplus food is sent to landfill each year.

SUEZ Australia and New Zealand CEO Mark Venhoek said by partnering with Yume, SUEZ continues to focus on building its existing local infrastructure and driving innovation and collaboration across industry.

“We need to start taking responsibility for all the waste we produce, and we can achieve this by joining forces to speed up the development of more advanced approaches to recycling in Australia,” Mr Venhoek said.

“This partnership will leverage off our national presence and extensive network of customers to connect food suppliers with food buyers – achieving better outcomes for quality surplus products that’s at risk of going to waste, in order to create sustainable value for our customers.”

According to a joint statement, 55 per cent of total food waste generated comes from the primary production, manufacturing and wholesale sectors.

“At the heart of this strategic partnership is a shared commitment to prevent quality food from going to waste,” the statement reads.

Mr Venhoek said partnering with Yume aligns with SUEZ’s commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by promoting responsible production and consumption.

“Yume has already sold over 1,350,000 kilograms of quality surplus food, returning nearly $5 million to Australian farmers and manufacturers,” he said.

“This is an incredible achievement and testament to Katy Barfield’s passion and commitment to the industry.”

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Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo announces speakers

The Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo has announced its upcoming 2019 Speaker Series, including a new stage addition.

Over the last 10 years AWRE has built a reputation for attracting some of the finest speakers from Australia and overseas to its two-day event, featuring leading minds from not only the waste and recycling industry, but all levels of Australian government and Top 200 ASX listed companies.

It appears 2019 will be no different, with speakers from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW, Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, Australian Battery Recycling Initiative and Veolia Australia & NZ.

Headlining the Industry Forum, presented in partnership with the Department of Industry, Planning and Environment, will be a panel discussion on ‘The Future is Recycling,’ which will deep dive into the core issues, insights and opportunities currently facing the waste and recycling sector.

Panellists include Veolia Australia & NZ General Manager Resource Recovery NSW Christine Hodgkiss, Renew Chief Operating Officer of IQ Renew Graham Knowles, SUEZ Australia & NZ State General Manager NSW Tony Grebenshikoff and Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association NSW Executive Director Tony Khoury.

According to an AWRE statement, the event will also shine a spotlight on the national issue of food waste, with the addition of the new Food Waste Stage.

“From sustainable package solutions, updates on the national food waste strategy to presentations from true food waste warriors, AWRE is driving the conversation on food sustainability,” the statement reads.

“Key speakers taking to the Food Waste Stage include industry experts from Coles, Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre, Australian Institute of Packaging, Yume Food Australia and many more.”

AWRE 2019 will take place on the 30th and 31st October at the ICC Sydney in Darling Harbour.

Register for free online here.

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SUEZ renews Sydney Trains’ contract

SUEZ has renewed its contract as Sydney Trains’ waste management provider, continuing a seven-year partnership with the rail operator.

SUEZ will continue to service Sydney Trains’ network of infrastructure throughout the greater Sydney area and across New South Wales, including train stations and maintenance facilities operations centres.

SUEZ NSW State General Manager Tony Grebenshikoff said the renewal follows a competitive tender process, and reflects SUEZ’s record of successful service expansion across the Sydney Trains network.

“A new feature of the contract includes the introduction of advanced technologies, such as weight-based billing and enhanced reporting capabilities, as well as additional training modules that can be easily accessed by all employees through a range of devices,” Mr Grebenshikoff said.

“These and other initiatives will enable SUEZ to work closely with Sydney Trains to provide a seamless and streamlined experience under the renewed, up to 5 year, contract.”

Mr Grebenshikoff said SUEZ had worked closely with Sydney Trains on the rollout of multiple initiatives to achieve waste reduction targets.

“We are proud to have maintained an average on time service success rate of 98 per cent,” Mr Grebenshikoff said.

“SUEZ looks forward to continuing to work with Sydney Trains to provide safe, reliable and efficient collection services across all sites, and supporting this essential public transport network in Australia’s largest city.”

Sydney Trains Chief Executive Howard Collins said the contract renewal enables SUEZ to continue an already well established partnership between the two parties.

“We have been satisfied with the service provided by SUEZ over the past seven years, and we look forward to seeing what new initiatives SUEZ has that will provide further efficiencies in waste management.”

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Commingled trust: Wastech Engineering

Wastech National Projects Product Manager Mike McConnell takes Waste Management Review through the company’s materials recovery facility concept design process. 

When China placed contamination restrictions on imported waste in 2017, Australian material recovery facilities (MRF) had to face up to the realisation that their technology wouldn’t meet the 0.5 per cent rate.

According to a 2018 federal analysis of Australia’s municipal recycling infrastructure, a major issue for MRFs is the lack of technical capacity to sort commingled, highly contaminated municipal waste materials to a standard that meets stringent export specifications.

In the wake of China, prices for plastic, cardboard and paper have dropped. Demand for higher quality material however had risen, which offers significant market opportunities for processors willing to invest in technical capacity and optical sorting upgrades.

Wastech National Projects Product Manager Mike McConnell says the complexity of current challenges makes turnkey solutions more attractive than ever.

“The industry is presently facing a unique set of challenges, and many recycling companies don’t have the time to sit down and analyse how to best upgrade their facilities,” Mike says.

“Through evaluating the industry via reports on waste volumes, equipment needs, collection methods and operational requirements, Wastech is able to provide clients with fully realised MRF concepts and design.”

According to Mike, the key to good business practice when developing a MRF is building trust with the client.

“Effectively turning a client’s initial request into a well-functioning MRF requires trust between both parties. We need to understand their volumes, waste composition and material process flows,” Mike says.

“At a minimum you will be working with the client for six months, and in some cases, it might take two years. It’s really important both organisations understand each other and the process.”

Mike says concept design begins with a study of the client’s needs, starting on the base level of whether they require a retrofit for an existing MRF or to develop an entirely new facility.

From there, Wastech looks at the client’s required volumes, tonnes per year and what waste streams the proposed plant will be dealing with.

Mike places high importance on this initial stage, noting the significant variability of waste streams and therefore the customer’s equipment needs.

“Understanding the composition of the waste stream is key as it informs all equipment purchasing decisions,” Mike says.

“For example, what kind of screening is needed? Does the client require optical sorting? Are they dealing with coloured or uncoloured containers? Are they dealing with both?”

Following this, Wastech examines what outputs the client is looking for in relation to desired end markets and purity.   

“Looking at material process flow involves working out how the MRF will achieve the client’s specified requirements, most significantly the levels of purity needed to achieve the finished product,” Mike says.

“We formulate a material process flow and mass balance analysis, which then helps us determine what equipment is needed, and then we review that in detail with the client.”   

Through a partnership with CP Group, an American separation and material recovery equipment manufacturer, Wastech is able to support MRFs for commingled recyclables, municipal solid waste, construction and demolition material, commercial and industrial waste, waste-to-energy operations and e-waste.

Wastech offers a range of screening equipment, notably the OCC Screen which automatically separates cardboard from other fibres and containers.

The company also provides optical sorting sensors, collection hoods to transport handpicked film, eddy currents for nonferrous material, metering drums, air drum separators, silo blowers, trommel screens, balers and conveyor belts.

“Following the initial design presentation, we can adjust and modify equipment choices,” Mike says.

“Once the client is happy and following multiple reviews of the initial concept and design, we conduct a number of site visits where we measure the existing or proposed facility to figure out how the equipment will best fit into the space.”

Following this, Mike says Wastech develops a 3D model for the client, which allows them to fully visualise the proposal.

“We find 3D visualisations to be a much more effective communication tool than simple facts and figures or drawings,” Mike says.

The next stage is the tender process, where Wastech provides a quote for the facility’s realisation.

“When we’re working with clients on the design and concept over a period time, be it local government or private companies, a real trusting relationship is established. They know what we are offering is value for money,” Mike says.   

“In addition to relationship building, we have a long history of delivering MRFs, so clients know if they request a certain level of purity that’s what Wastech will supply.”

Mike says the SUEZ MRF in Bibra Lake, Perth, is a recent example of Wastech’s turnkey process.

Wastech was commissioned to upgrade an already existing SUEZ MRF through the introduction of optical sorting equipment, which, according to Mike, led to a significant increase in efficiency and subsequent output.

A spokesperson for SUEZ said in May that the company is committed to taking action to expand recycling and sorting processes.

“SUEZ’s investment in a state-of-the-art optical sorting system, in partnership with Wastech, is one of the ways we have enhanced our infrastructure to increase our recovery, and therefore recycling rates at our MRF in Bibra Lake,” the spokesperson said.

“This investment, alongside working with our customers, has allowed us to ensure contamination is kept to a minimum and helped to keep the kerbside recycling system sustainable.”

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Australian Paper and SUEZ appoint financial advisor

Australian Paper and SUEZ have appointed Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) financial advisor for their $600 million waste to energy facility in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

Australian Paper General Manager Corporate Development David Jettner said SMBC would contribute additional commercial expertise to the project during the critical development phase.

“As financial advisor, SMBC will provide specialised support for project development and establish debt financing facilities, as we seek to build a missing link in Victoria’s waste management infrastructure,” Mr Jettner said.

“We are now moving forward to secure waste through the Metropolitan and Gippsland Waste and Resource Recovery Groups tendering processes, establish contractual engineering, procurement and construction arrangements and arrange funding for our project.”

Mr Jettner said SMBC would play a vital role in helping Australian Paper navigate those processes.

“They will also provide sectorial experience to the project as the mandated lead arranger, with 15 successful energy from waste projects internationally including the Kwinana project in WA,” Mr Jettner said.

“Our facility remains the first energy from waste project in Victoria to achieve an EPA Works Approval, and along with SUEZ and SMBC, we are excited to move a step closer to making our vision for Latrobe Valley energy production from residual household waste a reality.”

According to SUEZ Victoria General Manager Nat Bryant, less than one per cent of Australia’s residual waste is used for energy recovery.

Additionally, Mr Bryant said landfill is the only option for household waste from South East Melbourne and Gippsland.

“With the closure of the Hampton Park landfill by 2025, our project will provide a vital solution to south east Melbourne’s impending waste management crisis,” Mr Bryant said.

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