NO-ONE is more excited about the planned new biogas facility to be built at Bindaree Beef than the company’s man behind the project, Dave Sneddon.
Mr Sneddon, Bindaree Beef’s maintenance and projects engineer, said the genesis of the $47 million project – which will transform organic waste into methane gas and help create electricity – was born in December 2011.
It was something he and colleagues could see would reduce energy consumption, reduce emissions and create long-term, sustainable employment for the meatworks operation.
The new facility will replace the plant’s coal-fired boiler, which uses 7000 tonnes of coal annually.
The NSW minister for planning granted final approval in mid-December for the new, more energy-efficient rendering plant and digester, which will sit next to the old coal-fired boiler.
Work should start on the new facility in February and be completed within 18 months.
“It will generate electricity,” Mr Sneddon said. “We hope between mid-to-end of February we’d like to start turning dirt (to commence building it).”
Mr Sneddon said once it came online, they hoped to generate at least .7 of a megawatt per hour – and up to 2-2.3 megawatts.
“It’s a bit hard until it’s finally up to figure out what it will generate when it’s fully operational,” he said.
He hoped it would generate at least one-third of their energy needs at the plant.
He said it was a long, arduous process to finally get approval
for the project – involving long days, doing applications and working out if the technology would work.
“A pilot plant has been running for almost two years (and) we will still use it to always try and improve the system,” he said.
The old coal-fired boiler would still be there as a back up, if necessary, he said.
The project, announced in July of last year, was 50 per cent funded by Australia’s short-lived carbon price and will allow Bindaree to slash its carbon emissions by as much as 95 per cent.
Mr Sneddon said Jocelyn Ullman of Mitchel Hanlon Consultants in Tamworth had really helped a lot with the applications required to see the project gain state planning approval.
The project overseer is Melbourne abattoir design company Meateng, with Peter Thompson heading the team.
Bindaree has already expanded its workforce by 25 per cent in the past two years and launched a range of new products, with the lucrative Chinese market one of its primary targets.
The Inverell abattoir is the first in Australia to use the technology; the bio-digester will manage all waste streams from the plant, using that material to generate bio-gas, to supplement power use, and solid fertiliser.