The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is supporting Unitywater to develop a waste-to-energy feasibility study that could revolutionise the way we think about, and use, sewage. The unique study will investigate whether waste streams can be used to create renewable energy, including captured and treated sewage and other wastes such as fats, oils and greases from industry and businesses like restaurants and cafes.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the project was part of ARENA’s efforts to investigate the role bioenergy might play in accelerating Australia’s shift to renewable energy. “We think there is huge potential to tap into different waste sources to produce clean sustainable, energy,” Mr Frischknecht said. “According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia produces around 40 million tonnes of waste annually and more than half of this is organic. The majority is unexploited, ending up in the sewer or sent to landfill.
“This study will uncover options for sewage treatment plants around Australia, particularly in regional areas, to turn this unused waste into electricity.” ARENA is providing $296,000 funding for Unitywater to assess the commercial viability of converting its Kawana sewage treatment facility on the Sunshine Coast to produce biogas and electricity from various waste sources. Unitywater is also contributing towards the $697,000 study. The study is scheduled for completion by mid-2017.