Thursday, May 30, 2024

Toowoomba gas power plan a step closer

Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) says its ambitious and cost-saving plan to power its wastewater treatment plant with gas captured from the city’s nearby landfill is a step closer to reality.

TRC Water and Waste Committee portfolio leader, Councillor Nancy Sommerfield, this week joined project contractor LGI CEO, Adam Bloomer, to inspect the newly-arrived generator that is being commissioned at the Wetalla Water Reclamation Facility.

Cr Sommerfield said the energy re-use project would allow the gas-fired generator to supply up to 70% of the power to run the Wetalla Water Reclamation Facility, along with ongoing environmental benefits.

“Since we started the test flaring with LGI at the Toowoomba Waste Management Centre site in June 2020, the project has been investigating the flow of gas that could be reliably sourced from the landfill cells to run the generator, which is situated just below the Hermitage Road landfill site at Wetalla,” said Cr Sommerfield.

“This testing was required to determine the appropriate size of the generator.

“Testing has proven the gas field (at the landfill site) can support a 1,000 kilowatt generator. The generator was placed in position by a crane earlier this month at the Wetalla facility with work now proceeding on the final installation, electrical connection and commissioning of the unit.”

She said specialised electrical equipment will be installed that allows the Wetalla plant to be supplied by a combination of the new gas-fired generator and the electricity grid.

“We know landfills are considerable emitters of greenhouse gas and this type of re-use project will help to significantly reduce the emission rate and provide a return that allows Council to reduce operating costs.”

“Council will mitigate the effects of methane gas emissions from the landfill, while reducing the reliance on fossil fuels to power our Wetalla Water Reclamation Facility, which is one of Council’s highest energy users. I’m especially pleased by this win-win result that will be achieved.

“All landfills produce methane due to the breakdown of organic materials in the landfill cells. The methane slowly escapes into the atmosphere if it is not managed correctly.”

wetallalgiweb3“Council is being proactive to ensure the contract with LGI captures the methane gas to generate electricity to offset power to Wetalla, which is a far better use of the gas than simply flaring.”

Cr Sommerfield said the project set the scene for additional energy projects which Council was investigating.

The technology, developed by Queensland-based LGI, allows councils to improve community and environmental outcomes by capturing biogas from landfills, creating opportunities for dispatchable renewable electricity generation and carbon abatement.


LGI founder and CEO, Mr Bloomer said TRC was a shining example of what could be achieved when councils embraced green initiatives and implemented environmentally responsible and sustainable practices.

“We’ve been working with Toowoomba Regional Council for more than two years. In that time, we’ve captured 7.3 million cubic metres of biogas and helped Council reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 69,000 tonnes,” Mr Bloomer said.

“To put that number into context, it’s the equivalent of planting 1.2 million seedlings for the next decade.

“In addition to TRC, we’re also currently helping councils in Gladstone, Bundaberg, Maryborough, Gympie, Moreton Bay and Brisbane capture biogas, decrease emissions and reduce their carbon footprint.

“At seven of our landfill project sites, we’re currently producing more than 87,500MWh annually. That’s enough to power approximately 15,000 homes for a year.”

Funding for the project has been received under the Federal Government Emissions Reduction Fund for the carbon abatement achieved through this contract.

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