Australian WWTP successfully converts human waste into energy

Logan City Council in Australia has successfully converted human waste into energy at Loganholme Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Working with gasification systems provider Pyrocal and Downer Group, the council has been trialling a process that sees sewage sludge (biosolids) baked in extreme temperatures to produce biogas. The biogas then used to heat the remaining biosolids, turning it into biochar, which can be used for agricultural purposes.

Logan’s Mayor Darren Power said the trial was a “huge win” for ratepayers and the environment. “Every day the plant sends three truckloads of treated waste to the Darling Downs to be used as a soil conditioner,” said Power.

“The gasification process perfected at Loganholme will reduce the volume of biosolids by 90% and help our farmers.

“This will save ratepayers around $500,000 (€302,000) annually while significantly reducing our carbon footprint. The council’s water business Logan Water and development partners Pyrocal and Downer deserve great credit for coming up with such an innovative solution.”

The Federal Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) contributed $6 million (€3.6 million) towards the $17 million (€10.2 million) project.

“Using synthetic gas in this way in something that hasn’t been tried before so everyone has been watching to see how it would pan out,” said Infrastructure Committee chair, Councillor Teresa Lane.

“To be able to say that this technique was perfected in Logan is something we can all be proud of. This is a game-changer for the industry and it was developed and trialled right here in Logan.”

The process will reduce carbon dioxide output by 4,800 tonnes annually and prevent organic pollutants from entering the soil. Logan Council is now exploring opportunities to market the biochar.

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