Australia – organic waste finds use as local power source

Oganic waste from some of Perth’s most affluent suburbs could be broken down and turned into electricity in a world-class facility by the end of 2004. WA-based company Organic Resource Technology has been collaborating with Murdoch University’s Environmental Biotechnology Co-operative Research Centre to develop a closed waste treatment system to be built in Shenton Park. Completion of stage one is expected by the end of this year.

The West Australian newspaper reports that It will treat waste from Subiaco, Cottesloe, Peppermint Grove, Mosman Park and Claremont. The patented system, known as DiCOM, turns organic waste into agricultural grade compost [NB some people would argue with classifying the product of MBT processes as compost – KS], with electricity generated from the biogases. DiCOM was invented by ORT director Thomas Rudas. His father and ORT managing director Richard Rudas said the award-winning DiCOM system was unique because it was completely closed, causing no emissions. “Within a few years, the term municipal wastes could well be replaced with ‘municipal fuel resources’,” Mr Rudas said.

ORT was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in November to raise funds for the project. Mr Rudas said the $15 million facility would be built in two stages and on completion was expected to be able to process 50,000 tonnes of organic waste a year and generate enough electricity to power about 500 houses. The company has consulted local action groups about the project and will not be accepting waste from other suburbs.

The change in waste processing will not affect householders, who will still use their normal council-supplied bins. The DiCOM facility will be built near the Subiaco Waste Water Treatment plant on Brockway Road. Final approval for construction will be decided by the Western Metropolitan Regional Council in March. ORT has already gained all the necessary environmental and planning approvals for the plant. Ralf Cord-Ruwisch, a DiCOM researcher at Murdoch University and who has been involved in ORT’s project, said DiCOM was a worldwide first which shattered the scientific assumption that both aerobic and anaerobic micro-organisms could not exist in the same space. “We are leading the world with this,” Mr Cord-Ruwisch said. Mr Rudas said getting the DiCOM plant operating would be a big boon for WA if it proved successful. “The beauty of the technology is that it can have decentralised plants rather than large centralised plants,” he said. “We would like to go beyond Perth and have received expressions of interest from other councils.” A prototype of the facility has been functioning at Jandakot since 2001. “If this proves successful, we will have a functioning example to demonstrate to other cities how effective it can be,” he said

Ano da Publicação: 2004
Fonte: WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #03-2004: February 07, 2004
Autor: Kit Strange
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