4 May 2017
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is working with leading 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 in Sydney and the second to be in another Australian state yet to be announced.
PEF is used in cement kilns, reducing the reliance on coal and other fossil fuels. This fuel will initially be used locally, but will also be exported as an alternative to coal and gas for cement kilns in Asia.
CEFC Bioenergy and Energy from Waste Sector lead Henry Anning said PEF demonstrated the incredible 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.
"Through this investment with ResourceCo we are demonstrating the ability to use the latest energy from waste technology to deliver cleaner energy solutions to the Australian economy," Mr Anning said.
"Our research into the bioenergy sector has identified investment opportunities of between $2.2 billion and $3.3 billion to 2020 in the urban waste industry. Commercial viability has been driven by a combination of rising landfill gate fees and falling technology costs."
"Waste levies in states such as NSW, the ACT, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria, are improving the business case for this kind of alternative use of the waste, rather than it going into landfill."
The CEFC finance will enable ResourceCo to accelerate the development of the Wetherill Park plant, and proceed with a similar facility in another Australian state in due course.
ResourceCo Managing Director Simon Brown said: "At ResourceCo we are committed to playing a key role in helping to achieve Federal Government environmental targets, including waste reduction and carbon emission avoidance. With critical finance support from the CEFC, the opening of the NSW alternative fuel plant will work to achieve just that.
"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. 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.
As an indication of the plant's environmental credentials, it has been successful in securing $5 million in grant funding from the NSW Environmental Trust under the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative. The technology is also eligible for Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) due to the diversion of waste from landfill.
Mr Anning said generating heat and electricity from bioenergy and waste resources is cost competitive with other new-built energy generation. However, the technologies are not yet widely deployed in Australia.
"Being a throw-away society is a luxury Australia must reconsider. As a nation, we're producing about 23 million tonnes of landfill each year, causing a growing problem with potential air, water and land quality impacts and generating ongoing monitoring and remediation liabilities," he said.
"Reusing 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.
"This investment is expected to abate over 8 million tonnes of CO₂e over the expected lifetime of the equipment," Mr Anning added.
The CEFC's finance for ResourceCo is another example of the CEFC's focus on delivering clean energy solutions in Australian cities, as part of its Sustainable Cities Investment Program.
ResourceCo is one of Australia's leading
environmental services companies. Commencing in 1992, the business
has grown to over 400 staff operating in 21 locations in Australia
and South-East Asia. ResourceCo has long-term partnerships with
multinational such as SUEZ, Lafarge and locally with Adelaide
Brighton Cement. From its early days as a concrete crushing
business, ResourceCo has expanded as an integrated resource
recovery business and in 1998 developed a dedicated mixed waste
processing operation that resulted in recycling concrete and
asphalt. Working with Adelaide Brighton Ltd, ResourceCo developed
Australia's first PEF manufacturing plant in 2006. The company
recycles more than 95 per cent of incoming materials while
processing over 2 million tonnes of materials annually.