Biomass trial approved

At an extraordinary meeting on Monday night, Cowra Council approved the development application for the Aggregated Biomass Co-digestion (ABC) trial at the Cowra Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). 

Convened by CLEAN Cowra Inc, in conjunction with council’s Infrastructure department, the intention of the ABC trial is to focus on establishing the value and quantity of gas produced by Anaerobic Digestion (AD) to potentially convert green trash such as lawn clippings and vegetable off-cuts and Municipal Green Waste into usable energy.  

CLEAN Cowra Project Facilitator Dylan Gower said the trial will focus on a small amount of different, localised waste products from sources such as commercial and industrial food processing waste streams and how they interact with each other throughout the process. 

​“As the trial explores at the potential benefits of co-digestion, about six to seven feedstocks will be utilised in the trial,” he said. 

“It (the waste) will not be converted as yet into electricity and heat, but has the potential.

“Members of the Industry Reference Panel established by CLEAN Cowra are investigating the interrelationship of the feedstocks and how they are combined through the AD process.” 

Mr Gower said whilst “dry" waste, such as branches and straw, is readily available, it is not suited to this technology process however further research will be conducted.

“CLEAN Cowra will continue discussion with a consultant around their research into the pre-treatment of ligneouscellulosic biomass in making it suitable for AD processes,” he said. 

Mr Gower stressed that the project is only a trial and that the findings would hopefully lead to bigger things in the future. 

“This is a temporary trial as a precursor to a proposed larger demonstration plant designed on the data and recommendations of this ABC trial,” he said. 

Future expansions include using additional feedstocks for different AD technology and modes of waste transportation. 

“On-farm biomass would have to be transported to centralised nodes and necessitates the use of backloads as a system of potential delivery. 

The outcome will form the basis of a Request for Quotation.