Unitywater is developing a waste-to-energy feasibility study that will assess if waste could be turned into renewable energy, with funding support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

The study will investigate if waste streams can be used to create renewable energy, including captured and treated sewage and other wastes such as fats, oils and greases from industry and businesses such as restaurants and cafes.

ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht, said the project was part of ARENA’s efforts to investigate the role bioenergy might play in accelerating Australia’s shift to renewable energy.

“We think there is huge potential to tap into different waste sources to produce clean sustainable, energy,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia produces around 40 million tonnes of waste annually and more than half of this is organic. The majority is unexploited, ending up in the sewer or sent to landfill.

“This study will uncover options for sewage treatment plants around Australia, particularly in regional areas, to turn this unused waste into electricity.”

Unitywater CEO, George Theo, said, “I believe we are at a crucial time in the evolution of Unitywater where we are seeking to embrace smarter and more sustainable power generation options into the future.

“This is a priority for Unitywater because energy is one of our biggest costs and at the same time we want to reduce the impact we have on the environment. As our region grows, the demands on our network will increase, so if we are to make a difference in reducing carbon emissions, we need to change how we operate.

“The exciting thing about this feasibility study is its potential to deliver practical benefits and learning, not only for Unitywater but the water industry as a whole.”

ARENA is providing $296,000 funding for Unitywater to assess the commercial viability of converting its Kawana sewage treatment facility on the Sunshine Coast to produce biogas and electricity from various waste sources. Unitywater is also contributing towards the $697,000 study.

The study is scheduled for completion by mid-2017.

Lauren brings a fresh approach to content. While she’s previously written for publications as diverse as Australian Geographic, The Border Watch and Girlfriend, she’s found her true passion in her current role as an editor in the world of energy and infrastructure trade magazines.

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