Australian firm Blue Lake Milling will offset almost all its monthly energy costs by converting oat husks into bioenergy.
The company completed construction of its $8.1 million (€5.1 million) biogas plant last week, the Border Chronicle reported. The facility will generate enough bioenergy to power both the plant and nearby homes.
The mill processes more than 24,000 tonnes of oat husks annually as a by-product. Originally, the husks were sold as stock feed, used as a packing material, or discarded. Through anaerobic digestion, the new plant converts the husks into bioenergy.
“Two-thirds of it will go to the mill and the remaining third will be put back into the grid,” said Blue Lake Milling’s commercial projects manager, Jeremy Neale. “It’ll go a fair way to eliminating our electricity bill.”
Neale said issues with power reliability resulted in the need for an alternate source. The biogas plant will allow manufacturing to continue in the event of a power outage.
Blue Lake Milling received a $25,000 (€16,000) grant to undertake an energy efficiency study in 2017, and a year later, received $20,000 (€12.8 million) from the State Government to fund a full feasibility study for the project. Following its success, the mill secured a further $2.5 million (€1.6 million) in State Government funding through the Energy Productivity Implementation Grant Program, before starting construction in 2019.
Biogass Renewables was contracted for the design and will operate and maintain the facility.