Maddingley Brown Coal (MBC) and IntelliGas are uniting to help tackle a small part of Victoria’s waste crisis and produce clean energy at the same time.
The Maddingley Energy Precinct (MEP) is being delivered in phases on the existing MBC site in Bacchus Marsh.
Phase one of the precinct will recover gas from landfill and use the gas to power generators to produce electricity. Phase two will involve identifying clean waste that can’t be recycled and diverting it from landfill to generate electricity and gas to potentially power the trucks that bring the waste to site.
Phase One: Landfill Gas Recovery
With CFA approval, testing of a gas extraction system commenced in the precinct during April 2018. Results are looking very positive and if the project is feasible then applications for approval are expected to be submitted within months. With a swift approval process, extraction of Landfill Gas (LFG) and its conversion to electricity could commence within six to 12 months.
All landfills create methane and extraction of methane from municipal waste dumps is very common; there are over 60 such processes around Australia. If successful, this project will be an Australian first delivering:
The gas extraction process is quiet and clean, with the only emission being carbon dioxide as a by-product of electricity generation, aside from minimal fugitive emissions. The carbon dioxide produced will have a much smaller impact on the environment that the methane that would have otherwise been emitted from the landfill.
Phase Two: Waste to Energy
Presently, MBC receives inert waste which is sorted for re-use. Much of this cannot be recovered, so has been identified as a clean source of fuel to generate base-load electricity.
The waste to be diverted from landfill includes materials such as wood from shipping pallets, construction material and soft plastics. If left in landfill, this material will degrade producing methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent that carbon dioxide.
The diverted waste will be used to create Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF), which is a defined fuel source of known composition and quantity that can be used to heat a boiler to power a steam turbine and create electricity.
Having a defined SRF enables the project team to accurately determine what technology should be used to process it and the energy it will create.
The SRF will be fed into a European-designed boiler plant to create steam, which will then be used to power steam generators. The generators will produce electricity and excess heat, which can be made available to the local area for beneficial re-use.
During the heating process there will be some emissions, which will be captured and treated. Part of our process involves rapidly cooling emissions to stop pollutants. The next step is to pass the gas through pollution control devices called scrubbers – they do exactly what they sound like, they scrub the gas clean.
The plant will operate 24/7, producing enough electricity to power approximately 1,500 homes, which reduces the need to burn coal to create electricity. At the same time, significant tonnage of waste will be diverted from landfill, saving space and dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Across Europe and in many other countries throughout the world, waste has long been a source of energy. The waste to energy industry in Australia is still embryonic though, and the MEP is a small step to help initiate the industry.
For the plant, we will use best practice European technology which includes stringent emissions controls. The project will require significant local labour throughout the build and operations of the plant, so we will contract local companies and people to support the project wherever possible.