Innovative Australian food waste AD plant recognised in awards

An Australian water company has received one of the highest innovation accolades in the country’s water sector for its waste-to-energy plant ‘ReWaste’.

Yarra Valley Water received the award at the Australian Water Association National Awards for its food waste anaerobic digestion facility, which was the first of its kind in Victoria when it opened in 2017.

Since opening, the plant has converted 82,000 tonnes of food waste into clean renewable energy, capable of powering 1,500 homes. It also supplies 25% of Yarra Valley Water’s entire energy needs.

The firm has partnered with over 20 businesses that provide spoiled food waste to power the facility, ranging from fruit and vegetables, food manufacturing waste, grease trap waste and food waste from shopping centres and restaurants.

The plant powers itself and the sewage and neighbouring recycled water treatment with enough excess energy – around 70% - to export to the electricity grid.

The company’s managing director, Pat McCafferty, said the award was “great recognition” for the firm’s efforts to improve environmental outcomes in a commercially responsible way. “It’s an absolute honour to receive this award and to be recognised by our peers across the Australian water sector,” said McCafferty, “particularly given the non-traditional aspect of our project.

“We set out to create something that would help to minimise our carbon footprint, help reduce landfill and pass on cost savings to our customers and I’m happy to say that we’re achieving all of those things.”

Over the past three years, the ReWaste facility has enabled Yarra Valley Water to save money on its energy costs and generate more than $6 million (€3.6 million) in benefits, allowing the firm to maintain affordable bills for its customers.

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