Veolia speeds up the waste to energy transition.

Veolia is positioned to assume a pivotal role in Australia’s energy from waste (EfW) endeavors, as three facilities are scheduled to commence operations in 2024.

According to Craig Barker, the Chief Operating Officer Resource Recovery, Veolia is leading the way in energy from waste in Australia due to its extensive global experience in the field.

The company’s successful operation of 65 EfW facilities worldwide provides it with significant advantages in terms of personnel, skills, experience, and expertise. These skills are deemed more crucial than ever as Australia strives to meet the climate and circular economy targets established by federal and state governments.

“EfW facilities will be vital to achieve those goals,” Craig says.

Veolia has three EfW projects slated for launch this year, including the operation of new plants in Kwinana and East Rockingham, Western Australia, as well as the reopening of an upgraded anaerobic digester and energy recovery facility, EarthPower, in Sydney’s West at Camellia.

Additionally, the company is moving to expand its presence further in the EfW landscape over the coming years, as part of a consortium to develop an EfW plant in Maryvale, Victoria. Simultaneously, it is progressing through planning and consultation stages for the construction and operation of an Advanced Energy Recovery Centre (ARC) at its Woodlawn facility in New South Wales.

The commercial EfW plant, EarthPower, represents the initial step in this direction. This facility utilizes a digester to convert solid and liquid food waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer and biogas, which generates enough electricity to power 4300 homes.

EarthPower adds to Veolia’s existing bioreactor capacity in New South Wales, joining the Woodlawn Bioreactor Facility, which manages about 20% of Sydney’s waste, capturing methane to generate clean energy for up to 30,000 homes.

Craig says,“ This is likely to be just the beginning for bioreactor facilities across Australia with modelling commissioned by Veolia showing that at least 17 organics processing plants with a capacity of 250,000 tons will be required to meet the national waste plan target of an 80 per cent average recovery rate from all waste streams by 2030. This is expected to generate 3947 jobs”.

The reopening of EarthPower is expected to result in cost savings for its New South Wales customers, as it offers lower gate fees than landfill for solid or liquid food waste, accepting loads with less than 5% contamination. These customers are expected to include commercial kitchens, food manufacturers and processors, local councils, waste management services, and more.

The upgraded facility also provides an environmentally sustainable method of disposing of food waste in terms of its processes and end products, leading to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions compared to other disposal techniques.

This is increasingly important to business and government in the face of growing regulatory pressure, including the recently proposed federal legislation for climate-related financial disclosures.

Craig mentions that comparable legislative pressures at the state level are also the driving force behind the planned $600 million construction of the New South Wales Woodlawn Advanced Energy Recovery Centre (ARC) in the Southern Goulburn Mulwaree Precinct. This precinct is one of the four designated regions in the state intended for EfW infrastructure.

Once completed, the ARC is expected to generate up to 30 megawatts of electrical energy—enough to power 40,000 homes annually—from about 380,000 tonnes of residual waste feedstock. It will also recycle about 25% of the waste into aggregates and metals rather than sending it to landfill.

“The ARC will be a crucial piece of infrastructure for New South Wales, which has set very ambitious goals in its effort to attain a circular economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Craig says.

“The reality is that the only way to achieve the state’s 10-year goal of an 80 per cent average recovery rate from all waste streams by 2030 is with EfW facilities. Without this critical infrastructure being supported by regulatory authorities and government, we will continue to see large amounts of New South Wales’ non-recyclable waste go to landfill and our ambitious targets will fall by the wayside.”

As the first project of its kind in New South Wales, the ARC faces regulatory hurdles, including extended submission windows from the NSW Department of Planning and the NSW EPA setting emissions limits that have not been achieved elsewhere in the world, including emissions limits across the European Union, which are considered world best practice.

“The issue we are facing with restrictions and other hurdles in New South Wales, and some other states, is that government departments and agencies in Australia have little experience with EfW facilities that have been running for decades around the world,”  Craig says.

“We are very hopeful that this will change as the Western Australian EfW facilities come online in 2024. When these go live, decision makers in departments and agencies in other states can visit the facilities to see them in action and get first-hand experience of how they work and a real-world understanding of their benefit.” 

Veolia’s ARC proposal is currently at the response to submissions stage, with a decision expected from the Department of Planning in 2025.

Source :Veolia

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.