Waste to renewable fuel facility opens in NSW

An alternative fuel plant transforming commercial and industrial waste into a renewable fuel source has opened today in Sydney.

The plant, co-owned by waste sector leaders Cleanaway and ResourceCo, will divert up to 50,000 truckloads of waste from landfill each year and create 50 jobs.

Located in Wetherill Park, the resource recovery facility will transform non-recyclable waste into solid fuel, known as Processed Engineering Fuel (PEF), which can be used in high-combustion facilities such as cement kilns.

The Federal Government, through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), lent $30 million to ResourceCo to help fund the Wetherill Park facility as well as a second in a location to be announced.

“Conversion of non-recyclable waste into PEF is a win for the environment as it has the potential to reduce Australia’s need for new landfill,” Federal Minister for Energy Josh Frydenberg said.

“The Wetherill Park facility is the largest of its kind in Australia – it is licensed to process around 250,000 tonnes of waste per year to produce PEF and also will recover other commodities such as metal, clean timber and inert metal.

“The project is part of our plan for a stronger economy, backing businesses to invest and create jobs.”

Over the lifetime of the equipment, the plant is expected to abate more than four million tonnes of carbon emissions.

PEF produced at the Wetherill plant is already supplying Boral’s Berrima Cement Works in NSW, with ResourceCo also targeting export markets in Asia.

“The priority in managing our waste must be to reduce the amount of waste we produce in the first place,” CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said.

“With what remains, we need to invest in proven technologies to repurpose it, including as alternative fuels.

“By turning waste into PEF, this facility is showing how industrial processes can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

“We can also reduce the amount of waste materials going into landfill, an important factor in cutting our national greenhouse gas emissions.”

CEFC Bioenergy and Energy from Waste Sector lead Henry Anning said the CEFC was working with the waste management sector to increase energy efficiency and energy generation, as well as reduce carbon emissions.

“With Australia’s waste sector facing considerable disruption, now is the time to adopt new ways of doing business,” Mr Anning said.

“With the right investment in proven technologies, companies can turn our urban and industrial waste into new energy sources, creating an important revenue stream while also reducing landfill gas emissions.

“There is strong potential for sustainable energy and resource recovery to play an increasing role among waste management options.”

The facility received $5 million from the NSW Government’s Environmental Trust as part of the NSW EPA’s ‘waste less, recycle more’ initiative.

“This partnership between industry and government is particularly powerful because now, more than ever, we need facilities like this with pioneering solutions to reuse waste and stop it going to landfill,” NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said.

“This project delivers jobs, a solution to a waste problem and a source of alternative fuel – a three-way win for the community, the environment and the economy. It doesn’t get much better than that.”