Project to test waste vi­a­bil­ity

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Aproject in­volv­ing En­vi­ron­ment Waikato, Hamil­ton City Coun­cil, Mata­mata-Pi­ako District Coun­cil, Land­care Re­search, Lake­land Steel and Ing­hams En­ter­prises is be­ing granted nearly $160,000 over two years to ex­plore turn­ing or­ganic waste into use­ful nu­tri­ents, thereby ben­e­fit­ing the re­gional econ­omy and the en­vi­ron­ment.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Nick Smith has an­nounced the Govern­ment’s Waste Min­imi­sa­tion Fund will grant the money to al­low the coun­cils to ex­plore us­ing a process known as py­rol­y­sis to deal with prob­lem or­ganic waste.

The Hamil­ton City and Mata­mata-Pi­ako coun­cils and Ing­hams En­ter­prises are co­fund­ing the project.

En­vi­ron­ment Waikato is co-or­di­nat­ing and man­ag­ing the project on be­half of the part­ner­ship.

Land­care Re­search is pro­vid­ing ex­pert sci­en­tific ad­vice to the project while Lake­land Steel will sup­ply and op­er­ate the equip­ment.

The project will sup­port ca­pa­bil­ity devel­op­ment by train­ing two en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents co-or­di­nated by the Uni­ver­sity of Waikato and the Waika­toLink HotHouse.

The py­rol­y­sis project of­fers sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial ben­e­fits for the re­gion. The Waikato pro­duces more than 1.16 mil­lion tonnes of or­ganic waste a year with 135,000 tonnes sent to land­fills.

But it is pre­dicted that al­ter­na­tive means of get­ting rid of or­ganic waste in the Waikato will de­crease in fu­ture mean­ing more will go to land­fill if new op­tions are not found.

Be­cause

meth­ane

from

de­com­pos­ing or­ganic waste can con­trib­ute to cli­mate change any ex­tra emis­sions from land­fills un­der such a sce­nario would be taxed by the govern­ment’s Emis­sions Trad­ing Scheme.

But py­rol­y­sis – a well un­der­stood process – in­volves thermo-chem­i­cal de­com­po­si­tion of or­ganic ma­te­ri­als un­der pres­sure at high tem­per­a­tures with­out us­ing oxy­gen. This process can pro­duce car­bon-rich biochar which can po­ten­tially be used for im­prov­ing soil con­di­tion and crop pro­duc­tiv­ity, and also syn­gas which can be used as an en­ergy source.

The project is to pro­vide cen­tral and lo­cal govern­ment, in­dus­try and busi­ness with a case study on us­ing py­rol­y­sis to con­vert waste into use­ful prod­ucts.

The vi­sion of the project is that by 2017 py­rol­y­sis could be a vi­able way to di­vert 32,000 tonnes of com­mer­cial or­ganic waste a year from Waikato land­fills and con­vert it into use­ful prod­ucts.

The small-scale py­rol­y­sis technology that will be used dur­ing the trial is based in Ro­torua. Part of the project will in­volve as­sess­ing the scale of op­er­a­tion that would be needed in the Waikato to achieve the 32,000 tonnes tar­get and what en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts this would have.

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