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ARENA backs Unitywater’s waste-to-energy study in Australia

November 15 (SeeNews) - The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will help finance water supply and sewage services firm Unitywater’s waste-to-energy feasibility study in Queensland state.

ARENA is contributing AUD 296,000 (USD 223,640/EUR 207,540) towards the assessment of the commercial viability of converting Unitywater’s Kawana sewage treatment facility on the Sunshine Coast to produce biogas and electricity from various waste sources. The company is contributing funding to the study, too.

Unitywater will be investigating the potential of generating electricity from several waste streams, including captured and treated sewage, fats, oils and greases from industry and businesses like restaurants and cafes. Its ultimate goal is to formulate a scalable concept which could be adopted by other water utilities, according to the press statement.

Australia produces around 40 million tonnes of waste annually, over half of which is organic, ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht, said, citing data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. “This study will uncover options for sewage treatment plants around Australia, particularly in regional areas, to turn this unused waste into electricity,” he added. A promising way for doing that is the process of co-digestion which yields methane-rich biogas from organic waste breakdown to generate power.

The study is due for completion by mid-2017.

(AUD 1.0 = USD 0.756/EUR 0.701)

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