Alternative fuel plant under construction

Clean Energy Finance Corporation

By Sustainability Matters Staff
Monday, 15 May, 2017


Resourceco processed engineered fuel sample

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is working with resource recovery company ResourceCo to deliver an innovative alternative fuel plant in NSW.

The CEFC is lending $30 million to ResourceCo to build two new plants that will transform selected non-recyclable waste streams into solid fuel, known as processed engineered fuel (PEF). The first plant is to be built at Wetherill Park, Sydney, while the second will be in an Australian state yet to be announced.

PEF is used in cement kilns, reducing the reliance on coal and other fossil fuels. The fuel will initially be used locally, but will also be exported as an alternative to coal and gas for cement kilns in Asia.

As noted by CEFC Bioenergy and Energy from Waste Sector lead Henry Anning, the fuel demonstrates the potential to transform waste that would otherwise go into landfill into a baseload energy source as part of Australia’s future clean energy mix, while also lowering emissions.

“This investment is expected to abate over 8 million tonnes of CO2e over the expected lifetime of the equipment,” he said.

The CEFC finance will help accelerate the development of the Wetherill Park plant and proceed with the second facility. The company’s managing director, Simon Brown, said the plants will help ResourceCo in its mission to help achieve federal environmental targets, including waste reduction and carbon emission avoidance.

“Our vast knowledge of both the waste and alternative fuel industries means we are well positioned to help lead the way in reducing society’s reliance on both landfill disposal practices and fossil fuels,” Brown said. “By achieving this we help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, avoid soil and water contamination, and conserve resources.

“Our business operates across both Australia and South East Asia, which places us in a prime position to drive this new initiative forward and make a real difference in the way in which these communities view and deal with waste.”

When operational, the Wetherill Park plant will process around 150,000 tonnes of waste a year to produce PEF and recover other commodities such as metal, clean timber and inert materials. It has already secured $5 million in grant funding from the NSW Environmental Trust under the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, and is also eligible for Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) due to the diversion of waste from landfill.

Anning noted that generating heat and electricity from bioenergy and waste resources is cost-competitive with other new-built energy generation, though sadly the technologies are not yet widely deployed in Australia.

“Re-using waste not only makes economic sense, it makes good environmental sense, through the reduction of landfill and landfill gases and, in the case of fuel production, the ability to replace fossil fuels,” he said.

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