A bioenergy facility is being developed on a DON Smallgoods meat processing site in Castlemaine, in Central Victoria.
- Waste from a DON KR meat processing site will be converted into biofuel
- The facility will divert waste from landfill and avoid thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions
- The processor anticipates a 40 per cent reduction in its carbon footprint by 2025
As part of Mount Alexander Sustainability Group’s (MASG) target for reaching net zero emissions in the Shire of Mount Alexander, the facility will divert organic waste from landfill, capturing potentially harmful emissions and helping generate clean energy for the meat processor.
Deane Belfield is a member of the group and said it is the first community-led integrated waste to energy project in Victoria.
“For every tonne of waste coming into the bioenergy plant, we avoid two and a half tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalence,” Mr Belfield said.
“If you imagine a 50-metre swimming pool, instead of water, that would be full of gas – that’s one tonne of co2.”
The planned facility will be made up of two types of technology: anaerobic digestion (AD) and biomass thermal technology, that can replace gas, steam and electricity from the grid.
“This will take care of about 20 per cent of DON Smallgoods energy footprint, so it will reduce their emissions in equivalent level,” he said.
“(They) will use some of our energy, while we take in their waste streams.
Like ‘a cow’s stomach’
He said the bioenergy plant will function similar to a cow’s stomach.
“Organic material comes in and gets digested, and then the energy in a cow is used to keep it alive, but methane or biogas is a product, as well as the manure,” he said.
“The other is a biomass heat technology, that takes the energy out of the dry, woody waste, that can’t be digested by bugs… and can be combusted to produce a gas.”
Mr Belfield said 20 per cent of the organic waste will come from its neighbour DON Smallgoods, while the other 80 per cent will come from other sites in Central Victoria.
Reduced carbon footprint
MASG is hoping to convert up to 40,000 tonnes of waste per year.
DON Smallgoods Managing Director Will Ursell said the plant would significantly reduce landfill waste from the Castlemaine facility.
“As part of this initiative together with our solar energy investments and wider Energy Supply Strategy endeavours at Castlemaine, we anticipate a total 40 per cent reduction in DON’s carbon footprint by 2025.”
The $20 million facility has received initial seed funding for the project and MASG is now in its second round of investment sourcing for the construction phase.