Wednesday 15 July 2020

Victoria making renewable electricity and heat from high strength organic waste

Image: Barwon Water

In south-west Victoria, Barwon Water is building two Renewable Organics Networks which will use high strength organic trade waste from the Australian Lamb Company (ALC) and Bulla Dairy Foods to make renewable electricity and heat.

The organic waste will be treated by Barwon Water to form biogas which will run turbines that create the electricity and heat for water. The waste at this point is used as a soil improver. 

Yes, burning the biogas has waste CO2 but it is CO2 from a renewable source not from fossil fuels - a complete carbon cycle is created. Otherwise the organic waste goes to landfill where it is covered by soil and in that anaerobic environment most of it decays to waste methane which is a 21 times stronger greenhouse gas than CO2.

The electricity will be used by Barwon Water to take it off-grid with the excess going to the main grid. The renewable hot water will go via a special pipeline to ALC where it will offset ALC's gas consumption by 21.4 terajoules per year.

"The project is expected to achieve a net production of 5.5 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity each year – enough to power around 1,000 homes – around half of which will be used “behind-the-meter” to take the Colac Water Reclamation Plant off the grid." The generation of this dispatchable renewable energy in the form of hot water and electricity will result in a reduction in carbon emissions of around 6,300 tonnes each year.

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