International recognition for local company

Monday, 04 February, 2008

A Bathurst-based renewable energy research and development company has received international recognition for its investigations into the use of landfill gas as an energy resource.

The managing director of Renewable Australia Pty Limited, Jason Scarborough, has been invited to make a presentation at the 31st Annual Landfill Gas Symposium.

The topic of his presentation is technology developed by his company — the Strategic Well Location Procedure (SWLP). The conference, presented by the Solid Waste Association of North America, is a forum on landfill gas utilisation and technology.

“The current practice of extracting gas from landfills involves the use of a regularly spaced network of wells,” Scarborough said.

“However, the characteristics of the waste around these wells varies significantly, which impacts on the generation and movement of gas within the landfill. The SWLP is an investigation method we have developed that takes the different waste characteristics into account in order to identify the best locations to extract gas from a landfill.”

The final stages of the research is being conducted with the operation of a recently installed gas extraction system at the Bathurst Waste Management Centre. This research project has been carried out with Country Energy, Transpacific Industries and Bathurst Regional Council. The research has also been supported by a grant from the Commonwealth government’s Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI).

“Ultimately, this technology has the potential to significantly reduce costs and risks to the developers of landfill gas energy schemes. This will obviously have benefits for landfill gas schemes at larger landfills, but I would expect this technology will have greater use at ‘smaller’ landfills, such as Bathurst. I can see that this technology has the potential to kick-start numerous landfill gas projects that were previously thought to be uneconomical.

“Generating energy from landfill gas is a win-win. Landfill gas is about 50% methane, which is a very potent greenhouse gas, being 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. When landfill gas is burnt, the methane is destroyed and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. Also, any energy generated as a result can replace energy that would have otherwise been generated from fossil fuels,” Scarborough said.

The conference will be held in Houston, Texas, between 10 and 13 March 2008. Scarborough will be one of 25 speakers at this event, detailing the SWLP and its benefits to approximately 500 landfill gas professionals from across the globe.

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