Australian-First Sewage to Energy Project in Queensland

Across Australia, there is increasing pressure to rethink how our Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) can play more of a role in shaping a sustainable future.

Given the rising costs of electricity, increasing populations and tightening government regulations on carbon reduction and soil management, there is an imperative for setting a new benchmark in environmentally sustainable biosolids management.

 

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) recently pledged $6.2 million in funding towards Logan City Council's $17.28 million Biosolids Gasification Project as part of its Advancing Renewables Program. WSP is proud to be part of the Logan Water Infrastructure Alliance (LoganWIA) delivering the facility with the Logan City Council.

 

According to Dean Toomey, WSP’s Director of Water, “This Australian-first innovative process turns sewage sludge (biosolids) into heat energy and biochar, which improves and maintains soil fertility. This pioneering project is challenging the status quo and will deliver excellent benefits to the communities today and our future generations.”

 

img-logan-biosolids-life-cycle-diagram 

 

The city's largest wastewater water treatment plant supports 300,000 people and produces 34,000 tonnes of biosolids each year. Six truckloads of biosolids are typically taken 300km to the Darling Downs for land application each day. This new technology will save council $500,000 in annual operating costs and will initially reduce carbon emissions by 4,800 tonnes each year.

 

Currently in the planning phase, this environmentally sustainable project will involve the construction of a biosolids gasification facility at the Loganholme WWTP where biosolids will be dewatered, dried and then treated at high temperatures. Heat created from the process will be captured and used in the sludge drying phase. With support from an onsite solar power system, the facility will be almost energy neutral.

 

This demonstration project is expected to deliver a commercial business case for the gasification of biosolids for other similarly sized WWTPs across Australia. Initial trialling is scheduled to be complete by February 2020 with the new facility fully operational by July 2021.

 

This project follows LoganWIA’s innovations in wastewater treatment at the Cedar Grove Environmental Centre, which is currently under construction and is on track to become one of Queensland’s most environmentally sustainable wastewater treatment plants.

 

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