A wastewater treatment plant. The idea of reusing organic matter or waste in industrial processes and other initiatives is not new, and in recent years several interesting projects have been brewing.
Tomas Imo | Photo Library | fake images
An Australian plant that converts human waste into fertilizer and energy has opened, and those involved in the project hope it will reduce carbon emissions and save money.
Located at the Loganholme Wastewater Treatment Plant in Logan City, Queensland, the biosolids gasification facility was developed by Logan Water, the water business of Logan City Council.
According to the council, the A$28 million (about $20 million) facility “explodes wastewater with extremely high heat.” The Australian Renewable Energy Agency provided $6 million in funding for the project.
The end product of the process is an odorless biochar that can be used as a fertilizer in agriculture, among other things. In a statement on Tuesday, the council described the facility as “the first of its kind in Australia”.
Logan Water collaborated with a variety of partners to deliver the project’s gasifier. A key component of the project was the installation of two industrial strength dryers built in Germany by ELIQUO, a Dutch company. Each of the dryers weighs 34 metric tons and is 18 meters long.
“The gasification process involves biosolids (sewage sludge) that are dewatered, dried and treated at high temperatures,” the council said. “The heat created from the process is captured and used in the drying phase.”
Before the opening of the facility, trucks had taken the sewage sludge to another site where it was reused as low-quality fertilizer.
“Operating cost savings and carbon credits will return nearly $1 million annually to the City of Logan, while creating a new source of revenue from biochar sales,” according to the council. Carbon emissions would be reduced by about 6,000 metric tons per year, he added.