A TAMWORTH abattoir is turning a by-product of its waste water treatment into an energy source, as it moves towards more environmentally-friendly practices.
Last week the Teys Australia facility received a $329,000 grant from the Federal government’s Clean Energy Future package to go towards the cost of a $1 million
system that will allow methane, a biogas, to be used alongside natural gas to power a boiler.
The abattoir expects the system will cut natural gas use by 25 per cent, reduce carbon emissions by more than 5 per cent, and save $327,000 a year in energy costs.
“Bacteria in a covered anaerobic lagoon digest material contained in process water as food and produce methane as a byproduct,” engineering manager Ross Sharrock said.
“Methane is the main component in natural gas, so biogas is readily used as a boiler or engine fuel.”
It follows a $5.4 million upgrade to the process water treatment system last year, which allows biogas to be captured and combusted, and the further treatment of water before it is discharged to the water treatment works at Westdale.
Mr Sharrock said the next logical step was to use this biogas in a boiler system, which was in line with the company’s aim to continue increasing energy efficiency and minimising carbon intensity.
The project was driven by the Tamworth plant, with the support of Teys’ environmental and engineering teams and Federal government body AusIndustry.
“The primary drivers for the project were to reduce energy intensity and carbon intensity of processing operations, and to reduce costs associated with utilities purchase,” Mr Sharrock said.
The Tamworth facility has already undergone upgrades to electrical control equipment for the better operation of refrigeration plant, installed heat recovery equipment on steam systems, and undertaken water saving initiatives.