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CEFC to finance ResourceCo Waste-to-Fuel projects in Australia

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is working with leading Australian resource recovery company ResourceCo Pty Ltd to deliver an innovative alternative fuel plant in New South Wales (NSW). The CEFC is lending AU$30 million 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 in another yet unannounced Australian state.

Processed Engineered Fuel (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. Our research into the bioenergy sector has identified investment opportunities of between AU$2.2 billion and AU$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, said Anning.

The CEFC finance will enable ResourceCo to accelerate the development of the Wetherill Park plant, and proceed with a similar facility in another undisclosed Australian state in due course.

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 financial 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, said Simon Brown, Managing Director, ResourceCo.

Process 150 000 tonnes per annum

When operational, the Wetherill Park plant outside Sydney 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 AU$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. According to Anning 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. 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, said Anning.

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