The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will deliver $3.9 million in funding to Renergi Pty Ltd (Renergi) for the development of the next phase of Renergi’s energy from waste technology in Collie, Western Australia.
The $9.4 million demonstration plant is being developed by Renergi in partnership with the Shire of Collie and with $2 million from the WA Government’s Collie Futures Industry Development Fund.
As part of the Project, Renergi has attracted investment from a consortium of investors closely linked to Sunshot Energy, an emerging energy company co-owned by Professor Ross Garnaut.
This consortium will support the future commercialisation of the Renergi technology at other regional locations around Australia. ARENA has previously funded Renergi to advance and refine their pyrolysis technology from pilot projects that have led to this project that will convert landfill waste and other biomass to energy and biochar.
This patented technology was initially developed at Curtin University’s Fuels and Energy Technology Institute led by the then John Curtin Distinguished Professor Chun-Zhu Li with support from both ARENA and WA Government.
Renergi will design, build and operate a 1.5 tonnes per hour demonstration scale distributed energy from waste plant that will incorporate Renergi’s patented grinding pyrolysis technology. The plant will convert 4,000 tonnes per year of municipal solid waste, which would otherwise go to landfill, and 8,000 tonnes per year of forestry and agricultural wastes to crude pyrolysis oil and biochar. While the crude pyrolysis oil will be sold as a liquid fuel for local industry, the biochar will be sold as a soil conditioner.
According to ARENA CEO Darren Miller, other opportunities could now open up for regional communities to convert their waste into fuel. “Landfill avoidance has become a key issue in Australia due to restrictions on the export of materials to Asia, with approximately 75.8 million tonnes of waste being generated in 2018-19 alone.
“This project aims to solve some of the current waste disposal problems that are affecting our local councils. Renergi’s technology will demonstrate the viability of a scalable distributed energy from waste process, which will use low value waste to displace fossil fuels and thereby helping to reduce emissions.
“While other energy from waste projects are focused on incineration at large centralised plants, Renergi’s technology is a potential waste treatment solution for regional and smaller towns,” Miller said.
“This is a great example of how ARENA’s support can move a technology from early stage research and concept to demonstration, and put it on the pathway to commercialisation. This plant will showcase a 100 per cent Australian technology we are proud to have funded in all key stages of its development,” he added.
ARENA has previously funded energy from waste projects in Kwinana and East Rockingham in WA, as well as Southern Oil’s pilot plant for the production of renewable fuels in Gladstone and MSM Milling’s biomass boiler in central west NSW. The design phase will commence this year, and the plant is expected to be operating within two years.