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Australia’s Largest Waste to Fuel Plant Opens in Sydney

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Australia's largest resource recovery and Processed Engineered Fuel (PEF) plant is now ready for business.  

Located in Sydney's Wetherill Park, the multi-million dollar facility opened on July 31. The plant will turn construction waste into PEF to replace fossil fuels in the manufacture of cement, which is used as a substitute for fossil fuels in both domestic and offshore markets. This way, PEF plant will divert up to 50,000 truckloads of waste from landfill, while at the same time, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, such as coal and gas.

Owned in a joint venture between resource recovery company ResourceCo and Cleanaway, the plant is licensed to receive up to 250,000 tonnes a year of dry commercial and industrial as well as mixed construction and demolition waste, to recover commodities including metal, clean timber and inert materials, with the balance converted into PEF.

“It will replace over 100,000 tonnes of coal usage per year alone and will take the equivalent of 20,000 cars annually off the road in terms of greenhouse emissions."

“It will replace over 100,000 tonnes of coal usage per year alone and will take the equivalent of 20,000 cars annually off the road in terms of greenhouse emissions,” said Ben Sawley, Chief Executive Officer Sustainable Energy at ResourceCo. “The plant will transform waste from selected non-recyclable waste streams that would otherwise go into a landfill into a baseload energy source, known as PEF.

“We’re committed to playing a key role in Australia’s future sustainable energy mix, by reducing waste and lowering carbon emissions through the production of a commercially viable, sustainable energy product,” continued Sawley.  

Cleanaway’s current customer base and waste supply in NSW will drive volume to the new facility, recovering even more waste from landfill. Cleanaway is Australia’s leading total waste management, industrial and environmental services company. Listed as one of the top 100 companies on the ASX, (ASX: CWY), its team of more than 5,500 employees is supported by a fleet of almost 4,000 specialist vehicles, working from a network of more than 250 locations around Australia.

Commercial and industrial waste collected by the recycling plant is sorted, with anything recyclable removed. All the remaining commercial and building waste is then turned into PEF, and bundled and sold to cement manufacturers in Australia and overseas.

What is more, the plant creates no emissions and was partly funded by the NSW State government and the federal government.

“We only use about 4 per cent of our waste, as a country, and turn it into energy,” said Federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg. “Other countries do a lot more.”

The new Wetherill Park plant has created employment for 50 people, and its primary customer will be Boral. Australia’s largest construction material company will use the PEF for its Berrima cement kiln. The remaining PEF will be exported to ResourceCo’s Asian business.

ResourceCo is one of Australia’s leading environmental services companies. It has grown from a one-person operation in 1992 to over 700 staff operating in 22 locations in Australia and South-East Asia. ResourceCo has long-term partnerships with multi-national groups such as SUEZ, Lafarge, and, in Australia, with Adelaide Brighton Cement. 

The new plant joins 22 other leading high tech facilities by ResourceCo across Australia and South East Asia. The company is confirming to Jobsite there is already a new plant being discussed for the future; however, it would not be drawn on timings or location.

As Sawley admits, “The opportunity to tap further into this market is huge and makes good sense, both economically and environmentally.”

The project was supported by loan funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. It also gained grant funding from the NSW Environment Trust, as part of the NSW EPA’s waste less, recycle more initiative, funded from the waste levy. 

The technology is also eligible for Australian Carbon Credit United (ACCUs) due to its diversion of biomass waste from landfill. 

Cleanaway’s CEO Vik Bansal explained that the PEF facility is an important new resource recovery solution in NSW, as it creates a landfill diversion option for commercial and industrial, residual recycling, and construction and demolition waste.

“Investment in resource recovery and innovative waste to energy solutions is essential to making a sustainable future possible, and one of the ways we’re delivering on our Footprint 2025 strategy,” Mr Bansal said.

 

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