9 March 2016
Waste to clean energy in a Southern Hemisphere first
In a first in the Southern Hemisphere, Richgro’s $8 million enclosed Anaerobic Digestion Plant at Jandakot near Perth in Western Australia is turning tonnes of waste that would otherwise go to landfill into clean energy and power that can be exported back to the grid.
Using the latest proven and safe technologies, the plant works like a live stomach – breaking down waste into by-products that can be put to good use.
These include energy to operate the plant itself, nutrient rich digestate for Richgro garden products and excess electricity which can be fed back to the grid.
Richgro Managing Director Geoff Richards said the plant was benchmarked against European waste-to-energy advancements – especially in the United Kingdom where the technology has been mastered for decades.
“Much like how the stomach of a cow works, the organic waste is simply and naturally broken down into biogas (carbon dioxide and methane) and organic fertiliser called digestate,” Mr Richards said.
“We recycle solid and liquid waste from nearby breweries, chicken farms, supermarkets and other food suppliers, right down to the aluminium cans from out-of-date or damaged beverages.
“Everything gets recycled which is a win-win situation for everyone – we use the energy created to fully power the plant and we use the digestate by-product, which is packed with living micro-organisms and nutrients, in our range of Richgro garden products.”
With the capacity to process an average of 137 tonnes of commercial and industrial organic waste per day or 50,000 tonnes per year, the Richgro plant has diverted 9,000 tonnes of waste from landfill to date. It is also producing an average of 60,000 litres of biofertiliser per day.
Mr Richards said excess electricity from the plant was now being fed back into the grid.
“We can generate 28,800 kilowatts per day and over the last ten months we have produced 70 megawatts. With an average house using 16 kilowatts per day, the plant can provide enough clean energy for 1,800 Western Australian households,” he said.
With $500,000 funding from the WA State Government, $1.1 million from the Federal Government and a $2 million loan from Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the plant is part of a national focus on renewable energy, low-emission technology and energy efficiency.
Richgro is an Australian-owned, fourth-generation family business that has been manufacturing premium garden products since 1916.
Biogass Renewables Pty Ltd is an Australian private company specialising in the design, construction, commissioning and long-term support of anaerobic digestion plants and associated energy recovery projects.
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