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Canola plant embraces bioenergy

Manildra
MSM Milling Manildra canola processing plants

Wood waste leftover from the local timber industry will soon power MSM Milling’s canola processing facility in Manildra, NSW.

The makers of premium canola oil and stock feed hope to annually save 2,500kL of LPG by converting their plant to run on to biomass, allowing them to take control of rising energy costs and reduce their emissions.

The project is one of the first demonstrations of a large-scale food manufacturing company using biomass for thermal energy to reduce their costs and environmental impact, receiving $2 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Less than one per cent of Australia’s electricity needs are met by bioenergy, but the CSIRO have found that organic sources could provide as much as 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity supply in the short-term.

Queensland’s sugar industry currently accounts for around two-thirds of Australia’s bioenergy production, using biomass in the form of leftover cane mulch to power boilers and create electricity.

ARENA is funding projects to capture energy from a range of waste materials, including sewage, meat processing leftovers, landfill and organic litter.

Manildra
MSM Milling Manildra canola processing plants


How will it work?

MSM Milling have set out to use wood products leftover from the nearby Cyprus Pine industry to fuel their boilers to create heat, which will be used throughout the canola processing facility.

The timber industry has established markets for high-quality wood, but branches, offcuts, forest thinnings and sawdust go to waste.

To minimise costs the oilseed crushing and processing plant will run on woodchips and other raw residues, avoiding the added costs associated with pelletising waste timber.

The refit is the first example of a major food processor converting from gas to bioenergy, which MSM Millings director Bob Mac Smith says will lead the way for other Australian manufacturers to adopt renewable energy.

“Biomass isn’t new in itself, but biomass on an industrial scale and in a food processing facility is novel in Australia,” Mr Mac Smith said.

“There will be an 80,000 tonne reduction in CO2 emissions over a 20 year time span, and that’s a conservative estimate.”

Bob Mac Smith says MSM Milling face geographic challenges, currently trucking LPG to their Manildra plant which isn’t connected to the gas grid.

“These things have to be highly efficient to work, you need to have the fuel supply closeby, you need to have fuel handling automated… there’s a whole lot of technology that needs to be put together to make this work. A lot of R and D has gone into this because there aren’t turn-key, off the shelf solutions available.

Bob Mac Smith says the forestry waste and sawmill by products will be sourced from within 120kms of their Manildra canola processing facility.

“Being a regional area there are sources of fuel available. In this case it’s thinnings from forest management, there’s also waste or residue from sawmills,” he said.

MSM Milling has received ARENA support to demonstrate that that bioenergy works in large-scale food production applications and overcome ‘early adopter’ costs.

Manildra
MSM Milling Manildra canola processing plants


Demand building to save money with waste to energy

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the $2 million grant will help to grow the underdeveloped biomass industry in Australia.

“Bioenergy currently makes up only around 0.9 per cent of Australia’s energy mix, however the use of wood residues to displace gas is becoming attractive as buyers and consumers are increasingly demanding better environmental performance across product supply chains.

“We hope MSM Milling’s innovation will lead to more industries turning to biomass in a move which could increase renewable energy generation in NSW and Australia and create alternative value streams for materials once considered surplus to requirements,” he said.

MSM Milling Biomass Fuel Switch Project

Canola oil processing to be powered with bioenergy

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced funding to transform an Australian oilseed crushing, refining and packaging company to switch to bioenergy.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA is providing $2 million in funding to MSM Milling Pty Ltd to help switch its LPG gas fired boilers to a biomass fuelled boiler.

The project, totalling $5.38 million, involves installing a 4.88MW biomass-fired boiler at the facility based in Manildra in regional  NSW which will be fuelled by locally sourced renewable wood chips, such as forestry thinnings, offcuts and sawmill by products, to generate steam necessary for the canola processing operation.

The project is one of Australia’s first demonstrations of a large-scale food manufacturing company seeking to reduce energy costs and environmental impact by using biomass for thermal energy.

MSM Milling’s change to bioenergy not only replaces the use of gas in the oilseed business, but involves using sustainably sourced wood chips in a move that increases economic return to the forestry industry.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the funding helps to grow the currently underdeveloped biomass industry in Australia.

“Bioenergy currently makes up only around 0.9 per cent of Australia’s energy mix, however the use of wood chips to displace gas is becoming attractive as consumers are increasingly demanding better environmental performance across product supply chains.

“We hope MSM Milling’s innovation will lead to more industries turning to biomass in a move which could increase renewable energy generation in NSW and Australia and create alternative value streams for wood materials currently considered as waste,” he said.

“By integrating renewable energy options into MSM Milling’s production process, the company is showing its commitment to sustainability and renewable energy, and will also receive lower and more predictable energy costs. This project will go a long way to encouraging other companies to incorporate bioenergy into their energy makeup,” he said.

MSM Milling Director Bob Mac Smith said the ARENA funding, combined with a significant company investment in the project, not only cements MSM Milling’s future as a regionally-based global food industry leader, it also helps to secure the jobs of 70 employees and allows the company to pioneer the way for other Australian manufacturers to adopt renewable energy technology.

“MSM Milling has spent a number of years researching to identify the optimal thermal energy solution for the plant to further secure our future and allow us to continue to provide sought-after trusted oil and value added oilseed products to local and international markets.  The project will significantly reduce greenhouses emissions, fossil fuel energy use and depletion, while increasing renewable energy generation in NSW – all in line with our company’s commitment to operate with the lowest carbon footprint, the highest energy and water efficiency and the least overall environmental impact,” he said

“We’ve partnered with experienced technology providers Justsen, Uniquip Engineering and carbon energy expert Ndevr Environmental for this project and will document and share the process of technology adoption to encourage further uptake within the Australian manufacturing sector,” Mr Mac Smith said.

ARENA media contact:

0407 125 909 | media@arena.gov.au

Download this media release (PDF 120KB)

Goulburn abattoir powering itself using bioenergy

A Goulburn abattoir has teamed up with a Queensland energy provider to turn its waste into energy, thanks to funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA last year provided $2.1 million in funding to ReNu Energy to design, construct, own and operate a biogas facility at Southern Meats’ existing abattoir facility.

The Goulburn abattoir processes sheep and lambs, using around 20,000 KWh of electricity every day.

The $5.75 million project consists of an anaerobic digestion process where the abattoir waste is treated in a covered lagoon to biologically break down the effluent to produce biogas.

The lagoon acts like a giant bladder that can expand to hold biogas when energy demand is low, saving it to generate power when demand hits a peak. Simultaneously, this system disposes of waste from the abattoir and reduces methane emissions.

Biogas is treated and transferred to two 800 kW dual fuel generators to produce approximately 3800 MWh of electricity per year for use during the manufacturing process to reduce peak electricity consumption.

The generators are able to supplement biogas with natural gas, allowing the plant to minimise use of electricity from the grid during peak usage and peak charge periods.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said bioenergy represents a significant opportunity for the livestock processing sector to switch to renewable generation and reducing exposure to energy prices.

“Bioenergy also has environmental benefits for being able to re-use the effluent rather than disposing of the waste,” he said.

ReNu Energy CEO Craig Ricato said: “This project is a fantastic example of waste to energy generation, and we are very pleased to have the opportunity to work with an excellent counterparty such as Southern Meats. We also thank ARENA for its contribution to the project. ARENA plays an extremely important role in assisting companies to demonstrate and commercialise renewable technologies such as anaerobic digestion.
“ReNu Energy sees great potential in the Australian bioenergy market, in both the agribusiness, food processing and municipal waste sectors. We look forward to continuing to apply the knowledge and IP that we have in the construction and operation of anaerobic digestion projects, as we grow our portfolio over the coming years,” he said.

ARENA media contact:

0410 724 227 | media@arena.gov.au

Download this media release (PDF 121KB)

Southern Meats

 

Energy recovery feasibility study at Mt Piper power station

Feasibility study for Integrated Community Waste to Energy Project for Mt Alexander Shire

Biocatalyst Optimisation & Deployment Project for efficient production of biofuels

Goulburn Bioenergy Project

Hunter Valley biofuel facility to advance ethanol production

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced $11.9 million in funding for Australian biofuel company Ethanol Technologies Limited (‘Ethtec’) to complete the development and demonstration of its groundbreaking advanced biofuel technology.

As part of a $48 million project, Ethtec aims to construct a $30 million purpose built pilot-scale facility based in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA’s funding will go towards the completion of the pilot demonstration plant which will produce ethanol from a range of non-food waste plant matter left over from crop harvesting and forestry.

Ethtec has developed an innovative and cost-effective approach to production of bioethanol from a range of waste or low-value products including sugarcane bagasse, forestry residues and cotton gin trash known as lignocellulosic biomass.

All of Australia’s ethanol is currently first generation, sourced from wheat and sugarcane, while second generation ethanol is derived from inedible plant waste.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the next phases of the project were important in making advanced biofuels a viable option to support emission reduction for the transport sector.

“Advanced biofuels provides an exciting opportunity for Australia to open up export avenues and also help reduce emissions from the transport sector.

“Ethtec’s facility in the Hunter Valley will demonstrate a new and innovative process for the production of bioethanol, gaining pivotal research and development experience that will lead to the commercialisation of the process and position Australia as a leader in advanced biofuels,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“The global demand for biofuels is expected to triple by 2050, with most of the growth to be met by ethanol so technological breakthroughs that make producing ethanol from waste more efficient is game changing,” he said.

Ethtec’s Chief Scientist Dr Russell Reeves said ARENA’s support was pivotal to the project, which has also secured $11.9 million in matching funding from leading industry partner Jiangsu Jintongling Fluid Machinery Technology Company Limited.

The world-leading facility will partner with researchers from the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources at the University of Newcastle and is also receiving support from Muswellbrook Shire Council.

“An ethanol fuel industry based on lignocellulosic biomass can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport and industrial sectors, create opportunities for regional and rural communities, make crop and forest production more economical and assist in land rehabilitation,” Dr Reeves said.

“With the support of the Australian Government, we are hoping to engineer a more cost-competitive process for producing ethanol that will make use of existing biomass materials and create a world-leading facility for advanced biofuels,” he said.

ARENA media contact:

0410 724 227 | media@arena.gov.au

Download this media release (PDF 126KB)

Our biggest ever commitment to creating sustainable biofuel for the future

When you go to the petrol station do you choose the petrol that’s blended with ethanol?

It’s a greener solution, right? And you’re helping to do the best thing by the planet. Aren’t you?

It’s not always that simple.

Currently, ethanol used as liquid fuel  is derived almost completely from sugar or corn. And in both cases those crops are mostly grown specifically for the purpose of making fuel.

It’s a process that requires arable land, fertiliser and plenty of water. And while it’s generally less resource intensive than producing 100 per cent petroleum, it remains a process that could be made far more sustainable.

But a project underway in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, and to which ARENA is contributing $11.9 million, is planning to change all that by making ethanol from plant-based waste.

ARENA’s commitment to Australian company Ethanol Technologies (Ethtec) will be the agency’s largest ever funding for a biofuels project and reflects the excitement building around the company’s work.

The project, which has a total cost of $48 million (including work already completed) is aiming to use organic waste, rather than specially-farmed crops, to produce ethanol.

It will mean that fuel can be derived from waste products in the sugar growing and refining process, such as ‘sugarcane trash’ or bagasse, or from other waste products such as those that arise in the cotton or forestry industries.

A sugary liquid is produced so that it can be fermented and then converted to ethanol. IMAGE: Ethtec.

 

Ethanol sourced from waste products, typically referred to as an advanced biofuel, has been a goal hotly pursued by scientists in recent years but progress towards commercialisation has been slow.

Ethtec’s Australian-generated innovation is poised to make the company a world-leader in the race to take advanced biofuels to the market.

And what a market it will be. Demand for ethanol in Australian alone is expected to increase to approximately 500 million litres each year by 2030.

Internationally, the global demand for ethanol is predicted to increase from 98 to 145 billion litres by 2022. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast biofuel demand will triple from 2010 to 2050, with 70 per cent of that growth met by ethanol.

A CHANGE THAT’S BADLY NEEDED

Australia is a big country, and we really like to drive around in it. The Australian domestic transport sector represented 16 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2012.

As a nation among developed countries, according to the IEA our per capita transport emissions are lower only than the United States and Canada.

And transport emissions increased by 50 per cent between 1990 and 2012, the fastest growing sector over that period, as growth in the amount of travel outpaced improvements in fuel and transport efficiency.

READ MORE: THIS TINY ORGANISM COULD CHANGE HOW YOU POWER YOUR CAR

Australia has pledged to cut overall emissions by at least 26 per cent (of 2005 levels) by 2030. But, according to the Climate Change Authority, overall transport emissions are projected to increase during that period unless significant efficiency gains are made from the use of mass transport, more efficient vehicles and lower carbon intensity fuels.

Globally, it’s a similar story. The IEA projects that global travel demand will double between 2010 and 2050 and the world’s transport emissions are expected to grow by 70 per cent by 2050 even with continuous efficiency improvements.

And all of that makes for a massive opportunity.

“Advanced biofuels provides an exciting opportunity for Australia to open up exporting avenues and also help in the transition of reducing emissions from the transport sector,”  ARENA Chief Executive Ivor Frischknecht says.

HOW IT WORKS

Earlier stages of the Ethtec project have already established a process for converting the waste products into a sugary liquid that is an important precursor.

The new funding will enable a multi-year demonstration project that will take the research to the next stage: turning that liquid into ethanol.

Chemistry-wise it’s not too different to brewing beer. A strain of yeast is added to the sugary solution to produce alcohol.

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ARENA’s funding will help to bankroll a demonstration facility at Muswellbrook that is intended to support an eventual commercial deployment.

The project has also secured $11.9 million in matching funding from Chinese company
Jiangsu Jintongling Fluid Machinery Technology.

The world-leading facility will partner with researchers from the Newcastle Institute for
Energy and Resources at the University of Newcastle.

The plant is expected to generate 270,000 litres of advanced biofuel each year and will allow for Ethtec’s proprietary system to be developed and tested using a number of different waste products (known as feedstocks).

“Ethtec’s facility in the Hunter Valley will provide a demonstration of a new and innovative process for the production of bioethanol, gaining pivotal research and development which will lead to the commercialisation and positioning of Australia as a leader in the production of advanced biofuels,” Mr Frischknecht said.

 

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