Waste storage at a waste-to-energy plant

The Victorian Government has awarded Yarra Valley Water $1 million through its Waste to Energy – Bioenergy Fund, which is set to fund the creation of a second generator at its food waste to energy facility in Lilydale. 

The facility, which uses a technology called anaerobic digestion, is expected to be operational in 2024–25. 

The Waste to Energy – Bioenergy Fund is providing $10 million in grants to support the development of innovative bioenergy projects and business models to enable the implementation of best-practice infrastructure that builds capability and capacity in Victoria’s bioenergy sector.

Yarra Valley Water Managing Director, Pat McCafferty, said investing in technology is vital to help manage an increase in food waste into landfill as Melbourne’s population grows.

“Investing in food waste to energy production is central to our commitment to support Victoria’s transition to a circular economy, reduce waste and minimise our carbon footprint.” 

The Fund is delivered by Sustainability Victoria under the State Government’s circular economy policy, Recycling Victoria: a new economy. The circular economy policy is part of the Victorian Government’s $515 million investment to deliver the biggest ever transformation of Victoria’s waste and recycling industry.

“Having a second generator will increase the power output of our Lilydale facility, nearly doubling our export to the grid,” Mr McCafferty said. 

“Another benefit is that we can continue to operate uninterrupted if one generator has any issues.” 

To date, 24 projects have been funded under this program, with total funding awarded to date of up to $8 million.

Once operational, the Lilydale facility will generate more than 12,900MWh of electricity per year – that’s around 35 per cent of Yarra Valley Water’s energy needs or enough to power the equivalent of more than 2,200 Victorian households. It will also divert about 55,000t of commercial and industrial food waste from landfill every year.

In addition to the funding for the Lilydale facility, Yarra Valley Water has been granted an additional $175,000 to enhance the electricity generation infrastructure at its bioenergy facility in Wollert (one of Australia’s largest Food Waste to Energy Facilities).

The funding for the Lilydale facility will help Yarra Valley Water achieve its target of generating 100 per cent of its own energy needs through renewable energy in 2025.

“This funding will play a vital role in expanding our capabilities, allowing us to divert even more food waste from landfill and generate clean energy to power homes and facilities. It’s a win-win solution that supports sustainable practices and helps us make a significant impact on waste reduction,” Mr McCafferty said.

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