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Weltec breaks ground on 1 MW biogas project in Australia

Weltec Biopower GmbH has together with its project partner Aquatec Maxcon begun construction of a first-of-its-kind biogas plant in Australia. The 1 MW plant is being built in Aurora a suburb of Melbourne, New South Wales (NSW) for Yarra Valley Water.

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Germany-based biogas technology specialist, Weltec Biopower GmbH has together with its project partner Aquatec Maxcon announced that it has begun construction of what is described as one of Australia’s most innovative biogas projects and the first to be built by a German biogas technology provider.

The 1 MW plant is being built in Aurora a suburb of Melbourne, New South Wales (NSW) for Yarra Valley Water, one of Australia’s largest water utilities and will be one of the first of its kind in Australia.

The few biogas plants that are currently online in Australia mainly utilize sewage sludge and industrial wastewater.

The purpose built Waste to Energy facility will provide an environmentally sustainable solution for commercial organic wastes, generating enough renewable energy to run the existing sewage and recycled water treatment plants, as well as other Yarra Valley Water facilities. The two 530 kW MAN engines are even producing as much electricity that an unused surplus can be fed into the public grid, said Pat McCafferty, Managing Director of Yarra Valley Water in a statement.

Mixed feedstock

Two 3 573 m³ capacity stainless-steel digesters will be fed with 100 tonnes of organic waste per day over half of which will come from cafeterias and restaurants.

The rest will comprise fats and oils, brewery and dairy leftovers, fruit and vegetable waste, and sludge that will be pumped from the adjacent wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). After the digestion process, the substrate will be sanitized and then buffered in a 4 531 m³ stainless-steel tank.

A custom-tailored input process will be set up to ensure an uninterrupted supply of the biogas plant. At the delivery area, the feedstock will first be loaded into two 35 m³ solid hopper feeders.

Some of the substrates, such as melon peels, will first be shredded and then further chopped up with other raw materials and mixed with recirculation fluid in the MULTIMix system.

After this preliminary treatment, the mixture will be pumped into the largest of the five stainless-steel pre-storage tanks with a total volume of almost 700 m³. The process is fully automated except for the loading of the input systems.

However, the size design of the pre-storage tanks ensures that no loading and thus no manpower will be required at night or on weekends.

Our knowledge and experience in rolling out the technology of such a project was a key factor in our selection as the first German biogas plant manufacturer to build a plant in Australia. We are proud of being represented on five continents with about 300 biogas plants. The efficient operation will help to establish a good reputation of AD waste plants on the fifth continent, summarised Jens Albartus, Director of Weltec Biopower.

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