Are you going to Ballarat?

Ahead of the Australian Waste to Energy Forum, Barry Sullivan, Committee Chair, discusses the developing national sector.

A waste-to-energy (WtE) facility in Creswick, Victoria is exploring how to inject clear, filtered green gas into the state’s gas network. Diverting 2000 tonnes of organic waste via bio-digestion each year, the facility will serve as a case study, with replication potential highlighted by the state government.

With news of green gas and a number of high-profile WtE projects, public WtE perceptions appear to be shifting. Images of smoke and burning plastics have been replaced by productive conversations about landfill diversion and the future of renewable energy.

It’s welcome news for the team at the Australian Waste to Energy Forum, which returns to the Mercure in Ballarat this year from 18-20 February.

In its fifth consecutive year, the forum aims to provide a platform for all interested parties to discuss developments in Australia’s growing WtE sector. This year’s theme, “On the road to recovery”, has been selected to address two key areas: the application of waste hierarchy fundamentals, and changing perceptions about WtE facilities and their role within an integrated waste management strategy.

According to Barry Sullivan, Forum Chair, one of the biggest WtE challenges is lack of access to information necessary to make informed and considered investment decisions.

“We are finding there is a lot of misinformation in the public arena that inhibits project development,” Barry says.

“The issue with going to a technology vendor without basic knowledge is they will often say, don’t worry, we can make this work. In other words, when you sell hammers, everything looks like a nail.”

He adds that before looking to technologies, people need to understand their waste stream, moisture levels, quantity and calorific value, as well as the type of offtakes they hope to produce.

“The committee, and conference host, the Australian Industrial Ecology Network, intend to foster that understanding with our event,” Barry explains.

The two-and-a-half-day conference will feature a range of informative thought leader driven discussions.

“It has always been a priority of the committee to seek out presentations that will address key themes through the program, instead of just grouping abstracts into sessions,” Barry says.

“The committee has closely monitored WtE projects and changing technology over the past seven years, and we want to highlight those developments to our audience.”

Nurturing community engagement and education is also the driver behind the committee’s decision to run with a single stream.

“As WtE is still in early phases, many don’t know if they need thermal or non-thermal solutions for example, so we decided to cover all WtE elements in the one stream,” he says.

“You don’t know what you don’t know, so it makes sense for all delegates to attend each presentation.”

The program features a range of range of speakers including Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley, Blue Environment Director Bill Grant and a keynote from Veolia Kwinana Project Director Toby Terlet.

Toby’s presentation, Energy Recovery Facilities: What’s not written on the tin, will detail challenges faced by a WtE facility in Tyseley, UK, including major upgrade works at the same time as industrial action, heavy snow and a declining national public sector budget. This presentation will discuss how Veolia worked proactively through the challenges with City of Birmingham to further cement the successful long-standing partnership and resulting in a five-year contract extension.

To develop a thriving national industry, Barry says it’s important to not only showcase success, but share challenges openly.

“Last year we had a technology company present on their biggest failure, which provided a valuable lesson for everyone in the room,”
he says.

Other discussion topics include WtE in a circular economy, anaerobic digestion, licence to operate, current project updates, project development considerations and future opportunities and developments.

“We are hosting a session where local governments can talk about future plans. It won’t feature cities with official requests for a proposal in place, but rather those that want the WtE community to know they are thinking about it,” Barry says.

Another will be how to develop technologies that provide return on investment, in spite of small tonnages.

“While WtE in Australia is certainly advancing, progress has been slow, as government agencies tend to rely on standards from Europe and North America,” Barry says.

“But Australia is a different animal with different requirements. We simply don’t have the tonnages other countries do and it’s important to develop technology around that.”

According to Barry, hosting the forum in Ballarat creates a sense of occasion.

“Not only is Ballarat accessible, with trains running every hour from Melbourne, but having a group of likeminded individuals converge on one place creates a real sense of community, and with everyone in town, the evenings are known for networking,” he says.

“We’ve now gained quite a reputation – people aren’t asking ‘are you going to the WtE forum?’ They’re asking, ‘are you going to Ballarat?’

Related stories: 

VIC EPA approves Laverton WtE plant

The Victorian EPA has granted a works approval for a waste-to-energy (WtE) plant in Laverton North.

The facility, to be developed by Recovered Energy Australia, will process 200,000 tonnes of source-separated residual municipal solid waste each year.

According to an EPA statement, Recovered Energy Australia propose to deliver approximately 15 mega watts of electricity to the grid annually.

“EPA assessed the proposal against all relevant environmental policies and guidelines and looked at any potential environmental and human health impacts that could result from the facility,” the statement reads.

“The works approval is subject to conditions. These conditions include the requirement for an EPA-appointed auditor to review detailed design, and for further EPA consideration prior to finalising detailed plans.”

Conditions also require the facility to achieve an environmental performance equivalent to European standards.

Recovered Energy Australia has also secured a planning permit from Wyndham City Council to construct and operate the proposed facility, seperate from the EPA works approval.

“Once constructed, Recovered Energy Australia will not be able to operate the waste to energy plant until it obtains an EPA licence,” the statement reads.

Related stories:

Masdar acquires 40 per cent stake in East Rockingham WtE facility

Global renewable energy company Masdar has made its first Australian investment, after acquiring a 40 per cent stake in Western Australia’s East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility.

Masdar and Abu Dhabi advisory and development firm Tribe Infrastructure Group have invested in the waste-to-energy project via their Abu Dhabi Global Market-based joint venture holding company, Masdar Tribe Energy Holdings Limited.

Masdar Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi said extending Masdar’s reach into Australia is an exciting step forward for the company’s clean energy operations..

“The problem of dealing with everyday waste is a global challenge, with more than two billion tonnes of municipal solid waste generated each year. To this end, we are proud to be helping the state of Western Australia to deliver clean sources of power generation and sustainably manage its municipal solid waste,” Mr Al Ramahi said.

“The Australian waste-to-energy sector provides excellent commercial potential in the long-term.”

Tribe Infrastructure Group Chief Executive Officer Peter McCreanor said he looks forward to delivering clean energy infrastructure to Australia.

“This is just the first of numerous such development projects we’re working on, and our partnership with Masdar is an integral part of our strategy for Australia,” he said.

“We are proud to have played a leading role in the development and financing of the East Rockingham Recourse Recovery Facility, assembling a world-class team to deliver this important project for Western Australia.”

The $551 million facility reached financial close 23 December 2019 with support from a $18 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and $57.5 million in subordinated debt from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The facilities development consortium includes Hitachi Zosen INOVA, John Laing Investments and Acciona Concesiones.

When complete, the facility will process 300,000 tonnes of non-recyclable municipal, commercial and industrial waste and up to 30,000 tonnes of biosolids per year.

Related stories:

UNTHA specialist to present at Waste to Energy Forum

UNTHA’s waste-to-energy (WtE) specialist Gary Moore is heading to Australia to join the team at FOCUS enviro for AIEN’s Australian Waste to Energy Forum.

The forum, held 19-20 February in Ballarat, will focus on waste hierarchy fundamentals and their applications, as well as waste diversion and the energy supply landscape.

Other key topics include the appropriate use of alternative WtE technologies and the definition of residual materials.

According to a FOCUS enviro statement, Mr Moore will discuss the latest equipment solutions from UNTHA, and present on whether RDF and PEF represent Australia’s future resources.

“With almost 30 years’ experience within the waste and recycling sector, Mr Moore will be drawing upon international examples from the ever-changing landscape to explore what role alternative fuels will play in the country’s future resource strategy, using successful, global WtE projects as reference points for delegates,” the statement reads.

FOCUS enviro will also host a Demo Day showcasing UNTHA shredding technology in Melbourne 20 February.

Related stories:

WtE facility to inject green gas into VIC network

In a Victorian first, a waste-to-energy facility in Creswick will explore how to inject clear, filtered green gas into the state’s gas network.

Operating since July, the facility will continue its current testing phase through to early 2020.

According to Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, the $1.65 million Hepburn Shire Waste to Energy System will save $280,000 each year by diverting 2000 tonnes of organic waste from landfill.

“The state government invested $650,000 in the facility from the New Energy Jobs Fund, with Hepburn Shire Council delivering the remaining funding,” she said.

“The project is aiming to scale-up production to reduce waste shire-wide, with potential for the system to then be replicated across other Victorian councils.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said the facility transforms organic waste from a local RACV resort into energy, compost and waste water for street planting and dust mitigation.

“A biodigester that turns organic waste into valuable products in Creswick is helping to remove waste from the environment while creating opportunities for new jobs and businesses,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“Projects like these create opportunities for new products and jobs across regional Victoria and mean less waste ends up in landfill.”

Related stories:

Community conference called on Laverton North WtE plant

The Victorian EPA will host a community conference on Recovered Energy Australia’s proposed waste to energy plant in Laverton North.

In June 2019, Recovered Energy Australia submitted a final works approval application to the EPA, as required under section 19B(c) of the Environment Protection Act 1970.

According to an EPA statement, the application proposed developing a waste-to-energy facility with the capacity to process 200,000 tonnes of source separated residual municipal solid waste each year.

“The proposal utilises a modular system of vertical rotary thermal gasifiers, and is classified under legislation as an A08 (waste to energy) and K01 (power station) scheduled premises,” the statement reads.

“Following a public consultation period, EPA received more than 30 submissions on the plan, which proposes to deliver approximately 15 mega watts of electricity to the grid.”

Submissions range from positive, such as support for gasification and renewable power, and negative, such as concerns over waste to energy’s inability to address waste reduction and littering.

“The purpose and agenda of the conference is to enable the EPA to listen to, and better understand, the views and concerns of the community and stakeholders,” the statement reads.

“The community conference, and the independent chair’s report, will form part of EPA’s assessment of the proposal.”

Related stories:

Registrations launched for Waste Expo Australia

The future of waste management and resource recovery is high on the agenda at all levels of government as Australia’s largest and most comprehensive conference and exhibition, Waste Expo Australia launches registrations.

Hosting more than 120 brands and over 100 speakers across three conference stages, Waste Expo Australia will return to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on October 23 and 24.

Waste Expo Australia will offer free-to-attend conference content across the Waste and Wastewater Summits, attracting the largest gathering of waste management and resource professionals in Australia.

The Waste Summit Conference brought to you by Oceania Clean Energy Solutions will cover six targeted streams from resource recovery, waste-to-energy, collections, landfill and transfer stations, construction and demolition waste as well as commercial and industrial waste.

Key speakers will include Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, Victorian EPA CEO Cathy Wilkinson and Acting Executive Director for Waste Strategy and Policy at the NSW EPA Kar Mel Tang.

Other national and state-based bodies will be represented, along with case study presentations from local governments including Campaspe Shire Council, City of Holdfast Bay, Yarra City Council and Albury City Council.

Leading off day one of the Waste Summit, a panel will discuss the pressing issues surrounding Australia’s waste-to-energy (WtE) sector.

One of the panel members, Director of Enhar Consulting Demian Natakhan, will discuss the status of landfill solar generation and propose that the final resting place for municipal waste may be the beginning of new energy generation.

“Solar farming on former landfill sites offers a way to put otherwise unproductive land to a valuable use,” Mr Natakhan suggested.

“Where landfill gas is already collected in sufficient quantities to firepower generation, solar can be added onto existing grid infrastructure. In sites with lower landfill gas volumes, new solar generation with grid upgrades can unlock significant solar generation, avoiding the competition between solar farming and productive agricultural or industrial land.”

Confronting the challenges and opportunities in wastewater treatment will also be tackled at the Wastewater Summit brought to you by EnviroConcepts.

Waste Expo Australia Event Director Cory McCarrick said the event continues to grow with more speakers and suppliers on board this year than ever before.

“We have seen an increase in the total number of exhibitors this year to 120 and around 50 of these are exhibiting for the first time at Waste Expo Australia,” Mr McCarrick said.

Key exhibitors this year include Bost Group, Cleanaway, Caterpillar, HSR Southern Cross, Tricon Equipment, Applied Machinery and Hitachi.

“Add to this list our impressive line-up of speakers, there is no other waste event in Australia that gives you access to such thought-provoking content that address the major issues facing the industry coupled with the opportunities to be immersed among the key players and products for free,” Mr McCarrick said.

Waste Expo Australia is co-location with All-Energy Australia, Energy Efficiency Expo and ISSA Cleaning and Hygiene Expo — forming a significant showcase for the waste, recycling, wastewater, renewable energy, energy efficiency and cleaning industries.

Across the two days attendees will have access to industry speakers and suppliers across waste management, wastewater treatment, energy generation, energy efficiency and cleaning and hygiene.

Registration gives you access to all four events on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 October 2019.

To register visit www.wasteexpoaustralia.com.au

Related stories:

Feasibility study supports Australian Paper WtE plant

Australian Paper’s $7.5 million waste-to-energy (WtE) feasibility study has confirmed the social, economic, environmental and commercial viability of its proposed WtE facility in Maryvale Mill Victoria.

The study’s summary report highlights the waste management challenges facing south east Melbourne and concludes that Australian Paper’s WtE facility could provide a unique opportunity to address pending landfill closures.

According to the report, the facility could annually prevent 550,000 tonnes of waste from being trucked across Melbourne from municipalities in the south east to landfill sites located in the city’s west.

Australian Paper Chief Operating Officer Peter Williams said the project would result in an investment of over $600 million in the Latrobe Valley, creating 1046 jobs per annum for the three years of construction.

“With Melbourne’s looming landfill challenge Australian Paper’s WtE project is the missing link in waste management infrastructure for the south east – creating efficient energy from residual household and commercial waste and achieving a more sustainable outcome than disposal to landfills,” Mr Williams said.

“By diverting 650,000 tonnes per annum of residential and commercial waste from Victorian landfill, the facility could provide Melbourne with essential waste management and resource recovery infrastructure.”

According to Mr Williams, the facility will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 540,000 tonnes per year.

“By replacing natural gas at the Maryvale site, Australian Paper will return enough gas to the market to meet the annual needs of up to 70,000 Victorian households annually,” Mr Williams said.

“WtE technology is a proven and reliable low emissions technology, meeting the strictest European emissions standards and has been used extensively in Europe, Japan and North America for decades.”

Mr Williams said Australian Paper would now focus on the development stage, working with partner SUEZ  to finalise approvals and seek to secure long term waste supply contracts.

Related stories:

NSW councils commit to funding waste-to-energy research

10 NSW councils, with support from the NSW Country Mayors Association, have committed to funding research into the viability of council level waste-to-energy solutions.

Led by Tenterfield Council in regional NSW, the proposed project will ensure a fully independent, scientific and rigours study is undertaken.

Tenterfield Chief Executive Terry Dodds said waste-to-energy initiatives would reduce the amount of material sent to landfill and produce low carbon energy that could be used locally or fed into the grid.

“Some people would ask why the hold up, as waste-to-energy plants are used all over the world already? Regional NSW has less scale and population density than most city areas where waste to energy plants are already proven solutions,” Mr Dodds said.

“We need to determine what the smallest scale solution would be that still proved to be economically and environmentally sound regionally.”

Mr Dodds said $160,000 of the $540,000 needed to conduct the study has been committed so far.

“The time to hide our waste problem in ever increasing landfill sites is drawing to a close. Local government needs to seize the lead on addressing these issues given the failures at a state and federal level.”

Tenterfield Shire Council Mayor Peter Petty said as the market for recyclable exports decreases and existing land fill sites reach capacity, a waste-to-energy facility could address the growing waste problem for many regional councils.

NSW Country Mayors Association Chair Katrina Humphries has invited all councils in NSW to contribute to the study.

“We are looking at contributions of $15,000 per council, which compared to the costs of dealing with waste is chicken-feed,” Ms Humphries said.

Tenterfield Shire Council have met with the NSW Office of Regional Economic Development to seek financial assistance.

Related stories:

Australian Paper and SUEZ partner on WtE project

Australian Paper has partnered with SUEZ to develop the $600 million Maryvale Mill waste to energy (WtE) project following the successful completion of its feasibility study.

The $7.5 million study was co-funded with the Federal and Victorian Governments.

Australian Paper will now partner with SUEZ  to secure the long-term access to waste required to power the facility.

Australian Paper’s study examined the technical, social, environmental, and commercial feasibility of establishing an WtE facility at Maryvale.

The 18 month study found the facility would operate at a high efficiency of 58 per cent due to the mill’s need for baseload steam and electricity all year round. It would also divert approximately 650,000 tonnes of residual waste from Melbourne and Gippsland landfill, saving 543,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum. The new facility would allow the return of up to four Petajoules of natural gas per annum and 30 megawatt-hour per hour of electricity to Victoria’s retail energy market.

Australian Paper Chief Operating Officer Peter Williams said the company is committed to its mission of sustainable growth for the next generation.

“As the largest industrial user of natural gas in Victoria and a significant energy consumer, we must develop alternative baseload energy sources to maintain our future competitiveness,” Mr Williams said.

“Creating energy from waste is a perfect fit with our operations, because in addition to electricity we require significant quantities of thermal energy to generate steam. A WtE facility at Maryvale would secure ongoing investment at the site, support employment growth in the Latrobe Valley and also provide the missing link in Victoria’s waste management infrastructure,” Mr Williams said.

A recent economic impact study from Western Research Institute has confirmed that the WtE facility would support an average of 1046 Victorian jobs per annum during the three year construction period and more than 900 when operational.

Australian Paper and SUEZ will seek to finalise waste supply arrangements for the project by 2020. Construction of the WtE facility is planned to begin soon after with completion expected in 2024.

Environment Protection Authority Victoria granted Australian Paper a works approval to develop a large-scale, WtE facility in Victoria at the end of 2018. The facility is proposed to be co-located within the boundaries of the Australian Paper site in Maryvale, Latrobe Valley and process residual municipal solid waste, and industrial and commercial waste.

X