Logan City Council worked with partners to trial a process that involves baking sewage sludge to produce biogas, which is then used to heat the remaining biosolids and turn them into biochar.
Logan City Council has created what it claims is an Australian-first by turning human waste into energy at its Loganholme Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The council worked on the project with engineering company Pyrocal and integrated services provider Downer. It involved trialling a process to bake sewage sludge (biosolids) in extreme temperatures to produce biogas.
The biogas is then used to heat the remaining biosolids, turning them into ‘biochar’, suitable for agricultural purposes. The council is exploring opportunities to market the biochar.
Logan City’s largest waste water treatment plant (WWTP) produces 34,000 tonnes of biosolids per year with current disposal costs about $1.8m per year. This represents 30 per cent of the WWTP’s operating costs. Logan mayor Darren Power has described the successful trial as a “huge win” for ratepayers and the environment.
“Every day the plant sends three truckloads of treated waste to the Darling Downs to be used as a soil conditioner,” said councillor Power.
“The gasification process perfected at Loganholme will reduce the volume of biosolids by 90 per cent and help our farmers.
“This will save ratepayers around $500,000 annually while significantly reducing our carbon footprint.
“Council’s water business Logan Water and development partners Pyrocal and Downer deserve great credit for coming up with such an innovative solution.”
The federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) contributed $6m towards the $17m project.
“This will save ratepayers around $500,000 annually while significantly reducing our carbon footprint”
Infrastructure committee chair, councillor Teresa Lane, said the project has attracted global interest from renewable energy companies and municipal councils.
“Using synthetic gas in this way in something that hasn’t been tried before so everyone has been watching to see how it would pan out,” said councillor Lane.
“To be able to say that this technique was perfected in Logan is something we can all be proud of.”
The process will reduce CO2 output by 4800 tonnes annually and prevent organic pollutants from entering the soil.
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