New gas project to power Wetalla
THE treatment of Toowoomba’s wastewater could soon be powered almost entirely from renewable energy, after plans were lodged for an innovative facility that converts gas captured from landfills into electricity.
In a significant step for a long-awaited project by the Toowoomba Regional Council, plans were lodged last week by Brisbane company LGI Limited to build the power plant on land next door to the Wetalla sewage treatment plant at Cranley.
The company will capture gas created as a by-product of waste at the Bedford Street landfill and use it to power two 1.1-megawatt engines.
“Landfills emit biogas to the air, with the methane component in biogas over 20 times more significant as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide,” the planning report said.
“Toowoomba Regional Council intend to mitigate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions from the waste management centre by capturing biogas and using this as a beneficial resource to power the Wetalla sewage treatment plant.
“This will reduce council’s reliance on fossil fuels to power the sewage treatment plant, which has significant energy demands to enable its ongoing operation.
“Gas extraction occurs via a series of extraction wells, manifold station control points and gathering pipework.
“Under a vacuum, biogas from the landfill travels by underground pipework under the rail line and enters the plant as ‘wet gas’ and passes through a remote condensate knockout vessel.”
While LGI has predicted the plant could provide 60 per cent of the power needed at Wetalla, Councillor Nancy Sommerfield said pilot tests showed it could power the entire treatment plant.
“We believe so (that it could provide 100 per cent of energy requirements), we’re pretty sure that’s going to be the case — we’ve done pilot testing and it’s performed to our expectations,” she said.
“This has been a long time coming, but it’s such a win for our residents and the environment.”
The council received $3m from the Federal Government to create an easement for the power line under the nearby train tracks.
The project has been discussed within council since 2015.