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.”

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Veolia sets WtE benchmark

Veolia Australia and New Zealand is drawing on local and international experts in the lead up to its 25-year operations and maintenance contract on Australia’s first thermal waste-to-energy facility. 

Waste-to-energy (WtE) in Australia has historically been slow to progress, but Veolia recently set a new precedent for the sector.

Earlier this year, construction began on Australia’s first thermal WtE facility. Based in Kwinana, WA, the site will be operated and maintained (O&M) by Veolia Australia and New Zealand post-construction for 25 years.

Leveraging its experience in operating more than 65 WtE plants across the globe, Veolia stands ready to spearhead efficient, effective and economically viable renewable energy solutions.

Avertas Energy was named the supplier and will process 400,000 tonnes of waste, equivalent to a quarter of Perth’s post-recycling residuals. In addition, Avertas Energy will generate and export 36 megawatts of green electricity to the local grid per year, enough to power more than 50,000 households.

As the preferred supplier of baseload renewable energy, Avertas Energy will also support the green energy needs of the Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA) and its members.

Macquarie Capital and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund (DIF) are co-developing the Kwinana plant, now known as Avertas Energy. Infrastructure company Acciona was appointed to design and construct the facility.

Veolia’s global experience will see it leverage the expertise of international engineers, project and site managers.

Veolia’s Toby Terlet in front of a 25 megawatt generator at its WtE plant in Birmingham, UK.

As the company operates 10 facilities in the UK, these sites served as the perfect methodology to replicate to local conditions.

One of Veolia’s oldest WtE facilities is its Birmingham plant in the UK and it was there that Veolia’s Project Director for Kwinana, Toby Terlet, gained significant experience.

Drawing on previous experience in Australia with Veolia, Toby moved to the UK in 2014.

Toby tells Waste Management Review that around five years ago, thermal treatment was still being discussed in Australia as an emerging technology.

“At the time, I didn’t know much about converting municipal waste into electricity, although I did have some experience with manufacturing waste-derived fuels for cement kilns and clinical incineration,” Toby explains.

Toby saw the UK experience as an eye-opener, with Britain up to 25 years ahead of Australia in WtE.

After Veolia won the O&M contract on the Kwinana project, Toby returned to Australia to a project director role based in the site’s heartland in Perth.

In the lead up to 2021 and over the life of the contract, Veolia’s network of on-call local and international expertise will help anticipate and prevent issues ahead of time.

Toby says that having a general understanding of how WtE facilities operate and the effort needed to maintain a facility will help achieve more than 90 per cent availability.

“The technology works well. However, it’s just as important to have skilled and experienced operations and maintenance teams to run the facilities,” Toby says.

“Education about the treatment of waste can always be improved.  Birmingham is a positive example of how recycling, reuse and WtE can coexist. We need to better educate people on where WtE fits and how it provides an alternative to landfill.”

While WtE will continue to be a better option to utilise stored energy than landfilling, Toby says this needs to be complemented with a strong education program.

“I believe the process will slowly shift towards waste being converted to electricity through WtE rather than sitting in a landfill for the next 100 years,” Toby says.

“Segregating waste at the front end will always be the best option, complemented with the most economically viable technology to pull out things which may have been missed. This is the ongoing challenge for Australia.”

His passion for WtE as a viable solution within a waste hierarchy inspires him to break the stigma surrounding it.

“One of the biggest misconceptions around WtE is that it will burn anything. This is what I thought prior to leaving Australia. It didn’t take long to understand that waste is a fuel and needs to be blended to provide the right consistency based on the calorific value (CV).”

Toby says that obtaining the optimum CV will also be an ongoing challenge to work through. Wastes such as MRF residue have a high CV and this can create spikes in the heat transfer lowering throughput, so it’s about finding the right balance.

To make the project economically viable and provide financial close, supply agreements will start at the minimum amount of waste needed.

“The majority of volumes are contracted for a long period of time and some projects opt for smaller agreements to cover any shortage. I think based on a large number of states currently having issues with a reliable source of electricity, green energy production will be high on the agenda.”

While it’s still early days for the project’s construction and planning, piling recently finished with the civil works with concreting now well under way.

Looking to the future, Toby says stakeholders will identify all design improvements throughout the next 12 months to ensure the Kwinana project is the most efficient not only in Australia, but around the globe when handed over in late 2021.

“I’ll be proud to recruit the best O&M team for the project who will have the utmost dedication to safety and a passion to make a difference and spread the positive energy needed to make more of these facilities possible,” Toby says.

“This is just the start of Veolia’s determination to drive the circular economy approach and resource the world by identifying and developing complementary projects to better utilise resources which are currently going to landfill.”

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Finlay: woodchips to energy

Veolia’s recent moves in the waste-to-energy market has seen them team up with specialist equipment supplier Finlay.

Populations are growing and, as a result, so too is waste generation. Conversely, landfill capacity is declining as urban areas become increasingly dense.

While the waste hierarchy privileges avoidance, reuse and recycling, interest in waste-to-energy as a solution for material that falls through the cracks is growing. Capturing this potential was the driving force behind Veolia’s decision to open a new facility in Horsley Park, New South Wales.

According to site manager Stephen Bernhart, the new resource recovery facility handles wood waste material, which it then processes into a wood chip product.

“After running multiple equipment trials in 2018, we have recently kicked into operation,” Stephen says.

He adds that the wood chip product will be provided to a customer where it will be used as a substitute for coal within a cement kiln.

Veolia’s facility processes a significant amount of wood waste, such as pallets, offcuts and plywood which need to be shredded, and has the capacity to receive 430,000 tonnes of general solid non-putrescible waste per year.

“We have detailed specifications we need to meet to supply our waste-to-energy customer, and a big part of that is ensuring we achieved a material size sub 50 millimetres,” he says.

“It’s quite a challenging task because it’s such a small grade, so we decided to invite multiple suppliers out to the site to run tests and demonstrate their equipment.”

Stephen says Finlay Screening, Crushing and Recycling Systems, a supplier of screening and processing equipment for the waste and recycling industry, stood out during the trials.

“Finlay were heads and shoulders above the rest in demonstrating not just what their equipment could achieve, but how it could achieve it consistently,” he explains.   

Finlay initially trialed a medium speed shredder, however, the resulting material didn’t quite meet specifications. Three weeks later they were back, with a Terex Finlay 693+ Super Track Screening Plant that, according to Stephen, worked extremely well.

“During the second trial there was a large lump of steel which had passed through the primary shredder into the secondary shredder,” Stephen says.

“The TDSV20 shredder shut down as intended, and Finlay representatives opened it up to remove the steel. The machine was back up and running in approximately three minutes – I was very impressed with how the equipment handled it.”

According to Stephen, Finlay also demonstrated how the shredding equipment could maintain the required tonnage throughput in spite of the small material specifications.

In addition to the screening plant, Stephen purchased a Terex Finlay TDS 820 Slow Speed Shredder and a Terex Finlay TDS V20 Mid Speed Shredder and Finlay 5032HD wheeled conveyor.

Built to process bulky, solid waste, the TDS 820 has a two-metre shaft manufactured with a fully welded tooth configuration. Stephen explains that the length allows for significant throughput and size reduction of material.

“The machine’s independent gearboxes enable each shaft to be run separately, which reduces material wrappage and facilitates viable shredding,” he adds.

The Terex Mid Speed Shredder has a twin-shaft, allowing it to perform both primary and secondary shredding. The TDS V20 also has the ability to self-protect against uncrushable material like steel, making it well suited to shredding waste wood materials.

“We have had no trouble meeting specifications after procuring the equipment, all three machines have been running very well.”

According to Stephen, there has been very little down time at the Horsley Park facility.

“There were one or two minor teething issues initially, but Finlay were able to handle them quickly and without fuss,” he says.

Finlay representatives also assisted on-site equipment training when the facility was commissioned.

“They are very forthcoming with their information and we were able to get local contractors trained up on how to run and maintain the shredders and screening plant as well,” he says.

“We are at a really exciting stage in our capability with an eye for expansion, so it’s crucial to have equipment that’s both reliable and efficient.”

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WMRR holds EfW conference

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) has held the first Energy from Waste (EfW) Conference in Canberra.

Attendees heard from a host of international and local speakers, who tracked the success of EfW facilities globally and the current gaps, challenges and opportunities to drive the technology in Australia.

According to WMRR CEO Gayle Sloan, there are currently more than 2000 EfW plants operating safely around the world.

“EfW technologies have been proven overseas, and at this conference, attendees heard from our international keynotes about the success of EfW working as part of an integrated waste management and resource recovery system,” Ms Sloan said.

“Industry is not touting EfW as the be all and end all of waste management, rather it is a recovery solution above disposal when we are unable to recycle. EfW assists in driving positive diversion and recovery outcomes.”

Ms Sloan said harmonisation was another topic of conversation at the conference.

“At the Around the States panel, comprising senior government officers from QLD, SA, NSW, ACT, WA, and VIC, industry reiterated the need for all jurisdictions to come together, led by the Federal Government, to develop a nationally consistent policy and regulatory framework,” Ms Sloan said.

“That would go a long way in creating certainty for industry and all other stakeholders.”

Ms Sloan said attendees had numerous opportunities to discuss the various presentations.

“At an interactive session led by Arup, attendees were called upon to share their thoughts on what they believed were the gaps that needed to be closed, the opportunities that could be captured and the barriers that stood in the way of EfW development in Australia,” Ms Sloan said.

“From the feedback received at this session, Arup will now develop an industry roadmap to develop and establish EfW within a successful waste management and resource recovery system. WMRR will soon release this roadmap.”

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Contract awarded for East Rockingham WtE facility

A construction contract for the East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility’s new waste-to-energy (WtE) plant has been awarded to ACCIONA.

The Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract was awarded by the facility’s development consortium, which consists of the New Energy Corporation, Tribe Infrastructure Group and Hitachi Zosen INOVA.

Under the EPC contract, ACCIONA will deliver the project in partnership with Hitachi Zosen INOVA.

According to a consortium statement, the project encompasses the design, construction, financing and operation of a greenfield WtE facility in the Rockingham Industry Zone south of Perth.

“The new facility will recover resources from approximately 300,000 tonnes of residual waste from municipal, commercial and industrial sources per year, and up to 30,000 tonnes of biosolids,” the statement reads.

“The WtE facility will generate approximately 29 megawatts of reliable renewable energy, enough to power over 36,000 homes.”

ACCIONA Geotech Managing Directer Bede Noonan said the facility was a landmark project for Australia.

“WtE is gaining traction quickly, and it’s great to see New Energy, Tribe and our EPC partners HZI developing the second large-scale plant here,” Mr Noonan said.

“Not only will we be able to build on the capabilities harnessed for our first project in Perth, but also get the opportunity to work with industry leader HZI to bring the best available technology to Australia for the first time.”

New Energy Chairman Enzo Gullotti said awarding the contract was the final piece of the project puzzle, with construction expected to commence in the coming months.

“This project is well aligned with WA’s recently released Waste Strategy, supporting kerbside organics separation and helping make aggressive landfill diversion targets possible for the Perth region,” Mr Gullotti said.

“We also look forward to rewarding the bold leadership of Perth’s Local Government Authorities, namely the EMRC and the City of Cockburn.”

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.

East Rockingham first waste-to-energy project for SUEZ

WA’s East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility has awarded waste management giant SUEZ a 20-year minimum contract as waste management partner.

SUEZ has partnered with a consortium of four companies running the facility – Hitachi Sozen INOVA (HZI), Tribe Infrastructure Group and New Energy Corporation, which won a series of competitive tenders for long-term contracts in the Perth metropolitan area before securing the East Rockingham partnership.

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The facility encompasses the design, construction, financing and operation of a greenfield waste-to-energy facility, 40 kilometres south of the Perth CBD.

The project aims to treat approximately 300,000 tonnes of waste per year from municipal, commercial and industrial sources including up to 30,000 tonnes per year of biosolids.

Energy generation targets are expected to reach 29 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to supply 36,000 homes following the start of construction slated for 2019.

SUEZ will provide 65,000 tonnes per year of commercial and industrial waste, maintenance services, removal of non-processable waste at its Bibra Lake and North Bannister facilities and the purchase of renewable electricity generated for its Perth operations.

This is the second waste-to-energy plant planned for the Rockingham-Kwinana industrial region.

WA EPA recommends approval for East Rockingham WtE

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.

Community consultation open for Canberra WtE

The ACT Government has begun community consultation on waste to energy (WtE) to help develop policy and provide information for stakeholders.

It follows the results of the ACT’s Waste Feasibility Study which found Canberra was unlikely to achieve a recovery rate of more than 80 per cent without some form of WtE leaving 200,000 to be sent to landfill.

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The ACT Government has launched a survey to gather community feedback and provide information on the different types of WtE to clearly outline the territory’s position on energy recovery. It has also launched an information paper to outline the challenges and opportunities for the technology in the ACT’s context.

The consultation will inform the ACT Government’s consideration of WtE in the territory.

Currently the ACT has a target to divert 90 per cent of waste from landfill by 2025 and has implemented a container deposit scheme to also improve the territory’s waste diversion rates.

WtE processing facilities are already in use in the ACT with methane gas captured at the Mugga Lane and West Belconnen landfill facilities used to power around 3000 homes.

The ACT has also set a range of targets to 2020 for secure and affordable energy which involves using clean energy technology.

City Services Minister Chris Steel said in the information paper that a serious conversation about what to do to reach the ACT’s landfill diversion targets is needed and should explore whether WtE is part of the solution.

“WtE technologies sit on a spectrum – not all of these involve burning or heating and some technologies are already in use in the ACT, for example through landfill gas capture at our Mugga Landfill site,” Mr Steel said.

“One of the key recommendations of the Waste Feasibility Study was the development of a WtE policy in the ACT to provide certainty to industry and the community about whether WtE has a role in the nation’s capital.

“As the Minister for City Services I want our community and industry to be partners in co-designing a long-term, informed and evidence-based policy vision for WtE in the ACT.”

The community consultation period will close on 29 November 2018.

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