EarthPower Technologies Sydney, an Australian renewable energy company announced recently that it has begun construction on its state-of-the-art anaerobic digester facility that converts food waste into green energy and organic fertilizer.
The new plant, based in New South Wales, Australia, is expected to be completed in October 2002 and be operating by the end of 2002.
An Australian first, the $30 million (€17.6m) regional project recycles organic waste from the food manufacturing, food retailing and hospitality sectors into about 7 megawatts of green energy in the form of biogas, which will be used as heat and which can be converted into 3.2 megawatts of electricity - enough to power 3,200 homes.
Any power generated qualifies as green energy under the Renewable Energy(Electricity) Act 2000, and is eligible to be sold to the existing NSW powergrid. A quality organic fertiliser is also produced as a by-product which will besold and used in soil enrichment. The company claims that the plant will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 125,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum.
The project has received financial backing from Babcock & Brown andWestpac Banking Corporation, as well as from the CommonwealthGovernment through the Australian Greenhouse Office and from the NSWState Government through the Sustainable Energy Development Authority(SEDA).
"This facility is a positive environmental project addressing pressing waste disposal problems and greenhouse emission issues," said Gary Levin, Managing Director of EarthPower Technologies Sydney.
Supply agreements with a number of waste producers have already beencompleted, and the company anticipates, and hopes, that the 80,000 tonnes of food waste per annum capacity of the plant will be fully committed prior to completion.