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Waste to energy facility

In an Australian first of its kind, Yarra Valley Water, has constructed a waste to energy facility linked to a sewage treatment plant.

The purpose built facility provides an environmentally friendly disposal solution for commercial organic waste. The facility will divert 33,000 tonnes of commercial food waste from landfill each year.

The waste is delivered by trucks from commercial waste producers, such as markets and food manufacturing. As well as helping to keep organics out of landfill it is also helping to make recycling commercial organic waste easier and more affordable for businesses.

The waste to energy facility sits next to an existing sewage treatment plant in Aurora and generates enough biogas to run both sites with the surplus energy to be exported to the electricity grid.

The site has the capacity to process up to 33,000 tonnes of organic waste each year.

The organic waste is fed into an anaerobic digester (sealed vessel) where it is converted into methane or “biogas” in the absence of oxygen. The process captures the methane before it hits the environment and turns it into renewable energy. Renewable energy produced at the facility ensures that Yarra Valley Water’s and Victoria’s reliance on coal fired electricity is reduced.

Similar facilities have been successfully used throughout the world, including Europe and the United States. As part of Yarra Valley Water’s commitment to contribute to the health and wellbeing of current and future generations, the waste to energy facility diverts organic waste from landfill. The site has the capacity to process up to 33,000 tonnes of organic waste each year, or approximately 100 tonnes per day, offering an affordable alternative to organic waste disposal at landfill.

Construction commenced in October of 2015 and commissioning began in September 2016, with full operation commencing in May 2017. The construction phase has created jobs for 18 people, and four new staff ongoing are operating the plant.

Benefits of reusing waste

Anaerobic digestion is a common process used in the treatment of organic waste and sewage around the world, particularly in Europe and the United States. By capturing the biogas we produce, and using it to create energy, Yarra Valley Water is reducing its reliance on traditional greenhouse-gas intensive power sources. Greenhouse gas emissions from the biogas process are significantly lower than the equivalent power production from typical fossil fuel sources.

By utilising organic wastes otherwise destined for landfill, we are also reducing the burden on local landfills, where organic wastes can be some of the most difficult to manage. The waste to energy facility is designed to divert 33,000 tonnes of waste per year from traditional landfill.

Partnering with experts

Aquatec-Maxcon, an Australian company specialising in industrial wastewater treatment, is our partner in developing the waste to energy facility.

Yarra Valley Water opted to use anaerobic digestion technology based on a business feasibility decision-making framework, which included a detailed site selection process to determine the most appropriate site for the first facility. The feasibility study also identified numerous opportunities for recovery and re-use of organic waste.

Yarra Valley Water has worked with Whittlesea City Council and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to ensure that all planning and environmental requirements have been met.

ReWaste

The facility operates under a new business name, ReWaste. You can find out more about ReWaste at their new website, www.rewaste.com.au.

If you have any enquiries regarding ReWaste, or becoming a waste supplier to the facility, please contact Damien Bassett, Manager Waste to Energy Services, on (03) 9872 1870 or email [email protected].