NZ’s first large-scale food waste AD plant progresses

Construction is set to begin on New Zealand’s first large-scale food waste to energy facility in Reporoa.

The new facility on New Zealand’s North Island is expected to remove up to 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), equivalent to planting 218,400 trees every year.

According to a report by NZ Herald, after the blessing of the land by Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa on 4 August, construction on the anaerobic digestion (AD) facility can begin. The plant is owned by EcoGas, a joint venture between Pioneer Energy and Ecostock Supplies, on land owned by T&G Fresh – one of New Zealand’s largest fresh produce businesses.

The project was funded by Ecogas and a 2019 $7 million (€4.25 million) loan from the Provincial Growth Fund. In total, the plant represents an investment of $30 million (€18.2 million) and will generate around 60 jobs during construction.

Ecogas director Andrew Fisher told NZ Herald: “By using world-leading, innovative technology, our AD facility will not only help address New Zealand’s food waste challenge, it’ll help power the local community, local glasshouses, enrich local farmland and create jobs and growth for the region.”

The facility is expected to be operational in 2022 and will transform 75,000 tonnes of organic waste from businesses and kerbside food scrap collections from the North Island into clean energy.

Fisher added: “It will create enough energy to annually power-up the equivalent of around 2,500 households in the region, produce clean bio-fertiliser for approximately 2,000 hectares of local farmland, and provide CO2 and heat to enhance the growth of tomatoes in T&G Fresh’s local glasshouse.

“The outcome is a carbon-neutral, circular economy solution. It’s innovative solutions and real-world science like this, which we believe New Zealand needs to increasingly pilot and adopt, that will help us as a nation meet our zero-carbon targets.”


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