A $12 million organic waste-to-energy plant proposed for the old Heinz factory in Girgarre, which is expected to treat more than 30,000 tonnes of liquid waste each year, will go before Campaspe Shire Council this week.
The site, operated by Resource Recovery, will accept organic waste from a 160-kilometre radius and convert it into a predicted 1.7 million cubic metres of biogas each year.
The 2.4 megawatts of power will be used to power an aerated lagoon wastewater treatment system on an adjacent property and the surplus energy will be exported to the grid. Other byproduct will be used for animal feed.
It is also awaiting approval from the Environment Protection Authority.
Modelling by Resource Recovery found it would accept 23,382 tonnes of dairy waste per year from the nearby dairy industry. It will also accept 3475 tonnes of food products, 2421 tonnes of fruit and vegetables and 722 tonnes of supermarket and grocery waste.
The collection radius takes in Bendigo, Shepparton, Echuca and areas in New South Wales.
Resource Recovery managing director and local farmer Ian Bertram said the “vast majority” of the 30,000 tonnes of waste would be bound for landfill without the waste-to-energy system.
“Some will come to the site in bulk in tankers, others will come in retail packs,” he said.
“The waste will be converted into heat, power or gas to support the ACM development (wastewater system).”
The Girgarre plant will be operated using anaerobic digestion, a process which involves breaking down the material through a series of processes to create biogas, which can be used as fuel.
Campaspe Shire Council officers recommended the approval of the plan subject to amended plans. Councillors will vote on Tuesday.
It will be the second waste-to-energy plant in Victoria, with Yarra Water operating a similar facility at the Aurora sewage treatment plant. Resource Recovery also operates a waste-to-energy system in Perth.
The Girgarre site already receives packaged food and beverages. The packaging is recycled, and the food and beverage is converted into stockfeed.
The organic waste-to-energy upgrade is expected to be complete by late-2019.
Resource Recovery purchased the Girgarre facility in 2013, one year after the closure of Heinz.
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