Biomass and bioenergy

Businesses using biomass in Western Australia

There are a number of businesses producing bioenergy in WA (as at November 2015):

  • Richgro garden products in Jandakot, just south of Perth, have installed an anaerobic digester that converts 100 tonnes of food waste per day into biogas. They use this biogas to supply all of their electricity and heating needs and also use the carbon dioxide generated to increase production in their greenhouses.
  • At the smaller end of the scale, Fairbrossen Winery in the Perth foothills crushes 50 tonnes of grapes per year and has started using the leftover skins and seeds (grape marc) to feed a small anaerobic digestion unit. Fairbrossen uses the biogas for cooking in their restaurant and to augment the electricity generated from their solar panels.
  • Morton Seed and Grain in Wagin process oats for the local and international breakfast cereal markets. They have replaced their gas and electricity power supplies with a bioenergy unit that produces all the heat and power they need using the oat husks as a fuel source. The biomass boiler is now being used to generate the steam required for the grain processing and the electricity generation turbine is installed and operational. Electricity export  to the grid began in October 2015.
  • Macco Feeds in Williams have replaced their gas-fired boiler with a wood-fired boiler to supply the heat and steam they need to make their products. They use up to 4000 tonnes of mallee and plantation grown woodchips per year and generate up to 1.7 megawatts of energy. The switch has resulted in an energy cost saving of 80%, and uses a local, reliable and sustainable source of fuel.
  • Plantation Energy Australia (PEA) will soon start re-manufacturing and exporting densified wood pellets from the Albany port to Asian markets where they will be used for generating heat and electricity. The pellets are made from plantation timber and PEA expect to ship up to 250 000 tonnes of pellets per year.

Picture of the pelletiser plant near Albany Western australia run by Plantation Energy Australia
Pelletiser plant in Albany, WA
  • Ansac (a Western Australian engineering company) in partnership with the East Metropolitan Regional Councils (EMRC) have recently announced their intention to build a 3 megawatt electricity generation facility in Hazelmere fuelled by waste wood. EMRC will provide wood such as old pallets that have been diverted from landfill as feedstock and this will be chipped and fed into a pyrolysis chamber that will convert the wood into syngas. This gas will be cleaned and used to power a bank of generators that will produce the electricity. The final cost of the electricity produced will be 10-14 cents per kilowatt hour. The facility will create up to 20 new jobs in the construction phase and then require 2-3 full time employees once in production. To begin with it will operate for 10 hours a day and consume 33 tonnes of wood waste a day. This kind of facility is now economically viable anywhere there is a reliable supply of woody biomass and an electricity user.

    Construction is underway and Ansac expect to begin commissioning in July 2016.

Artists representation of the Hazelmere bioenergy plant proposal
Ansac's waste to energy technology: Proposed Hazelmere electricity generation plant. Image supplied by Ansac Pty Ltd.

Contact information

Kim Brooksbank
+61 (0)8 9892 8486
Page last updated: Thursday, 9 February 2017 - 9:45am