ENVIRONMENT | Wetherill Park facility replaces coal

ResourceCo’s head of sustainable energy, Ben Sawley said the new resource-recovery facility at Wetherill Park will turn a quarter-million tonnes of garbage into fuel every year.

This will replace 100,000 tonnes of coal power and take the equivalent of 20,000 cars off the road.

The multi-million-dollar resource-recovery and process-engineered fuel plant, co-owned by waste companies Cleanaway and ResourceCo, will turn non-recyclable waste into fuel.

The plant will create the fuel from about 50,000 truckloads of garbage annually.

It works by taking dry waste such as plastic, dirty paper and cardboard and non-recyclable wood and turning it into small solid material – known as processed engineered fuel – that can be burnt for power.

The fuel will be used for cement manufacturing, predominately by Boral in its cement kiln at Berrima, with the rest exported to Asia.

“The plant will transform waste from selected non-recyclable waste streams that would otherwise go into landfill into a baseload energy source, known as PEF,” Mr Sawley said. “We’re committed to playing a key role in Australia’s future sustainable-energy mix, by reducing waste and lowering carbon emissions through production of a commercially-viable sustainable energy product.”

The new plant will provide 50 jobs and is supported by $30 million in funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, with part of this also going to a second factory at a location to be decided.

“Conversion of non-recyclable waste into PEF has the potential to reduce Australia’s need for new landfill,” Federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said.

“This facility is the largest of its kind in Australia. It can process about 250,000 tonnes of waste power a year to produce PEF."

The NSW government provided $5 million in funding from the Berejiklian Government’s Environmental Trust.