Food waste to energy
Climate change and Melbourne’s growing population are placing greater strains on water and energy resources. We're planning and adapting to this changing environment with innovative approaches to the way we work.
We're building food waste to energy facilities to process commercial food waste into clean, renewable energy. Turning food waste into energy helps reduce landfill and cut greenhouse gas emissions – and reducing our energy costs helps to keep pressure off customers' water bills.
As part of ensuring we make the most of our natural resources, Yarra Valley Water has built a food waste to energy facility that processes commercial food waste into clean, renewable energy.
Our first food waste to energy facility in Wollert, to the north of Melbourne, has been operating since May 2017.
Waste producers, such as markets or food manufacturers, deliver the equivalent of 33,000 tonnes of commercial food waste to the Wollert facility each year.
The facility sits next to Yarra Valley Water’s Aurora sewage treatment plant, and generates enough energy to power the facility and the sewage treatment plant. Excess energy is exported to the electricity grid.
Turning food waste into energy benefits Victoria by helping to reduce landfill, and cuts greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing our energy costs, these facilities will also help to keep water bills lower.
The facility, known as ReWaste, is located at 525 Craigieburn Road East, Wollert. Waste deliveries are accepted from approved suppliers between 6.00am and 4.00pm, Monday to Friday.
To register to be a business partner and start supplying waste to the food waste to energy facility in Wollert, visit the ReWaste website.
How does it work?
The process of turning food waste into energy occurs in three stages:
Stage 1 – receiving the waste
Commercial food waste is transported to the site in trucks, and then fed into a sealed tank called a ‘digester’.
Stage 2 – processing the waste to make biogas
Bacteria in the digester causes the waste to break down. As the waste breaks down, it generates biogas. Biogas is a mixture of gases, but is mostly methane (the same gas used in the natural gas network). The biogas is cleaned to remove odours and impurities.
Stage 3 – burning the biogas to make energy
We burn the biogas in an engine or turbine to generate electricity. The electricity can be used to power infrastructure, or can be exported to the power grid.
What waste is accepted?
Our facilities can accept commercial food waste from many sources, which may include:
- Fats, oil and grease
- Fruit and vegetable wastes
- Waste from animal processing facilities
- Restaurant and catering food wastes
- Brewery and dairy wastes.
Facilities can only process food wastes. We cannot accept other organic wastes (such as garden waste or wood) or inorganic wastes (such as plastics or metals), because they can’t be easily broken down by our digester.
To reduce the likelihood of receiving contaminated waste, we will only accept deliveries of food wastes through commercial organisations that we have an agreement with.
Tour the facility
Take a virtual tour of the Wollert facility.
As the facility is an operating business, it is not open to the public for tours.
Check out our handbook to learn more about our Wollert Facility and the role it plays in the circular economy.