Waste not, want not

By Country News

A Goulburn abattoir has teamed up with a Queensland energy provider to turn its waste into energy, thanks to funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

On behalf of the Federal Government, ARENA last year provided $2.1million to ReNu Energy to design, construct, own and operate a biogas facility at Southern Meats’ existing abattoir facility.

The Goulburn abattoir processes sheep and lambs, using about 20000kWh of electricity every day.

The $5.75million project consists of an anaerobic digestion process where the abattoir waste is treated in a covered lagoon to biologically break down the effluent to produce biogas.

The lagoon acts like a giant bladder that can expand to hold biogas when energy demand is low, saving it to generate power when demand hits a peak. Simultaneously, this system disposes of waste from the abattoir and reduces methane emissions.

Biogas is treated and transferred to two 800kW dual-fuel generators to produce about 3800MWh of electricity per year for use during the manufacturing process to reduce peak electricity consumption.

The generators are able to supplement biogas with natural gas, allowing the plant to minimise use of electricity from the grid during peak usage and peak charge periods.

ARENA chief executive officer Ivor Frischknecht said bioenergy represented a significant opportunity for the livestock processing sector to switch to renewable generation and reducing exposure to energy prices.

‘‘Bioenergy also has environmental benefits for being able to re-use the effluent rather than disposing of the waste,’’ he said.