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future focus

As part of Future Focus, Think-Grow-Sustain will present the latest future trends,projects and information for you to browse or download (in PDF).

Think-Grow-Sustain is working with cutting edge businesses world-wide to bring the latest "Cleantech" projects to reality.

We are working with experienced and serious global partners to bring a range of proprietary technologies to the market.

We have exclusive rights to a range of Clean technology and are we are looking for local partners and investors to work with us.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us.

Green Planet

Changing Global Temperatures
Time Lapse: from 1880-2008

Climate Change Reports

Carbon Dioxide emissions
Interactive Map: Who emits the most?

Those resources marked with the PDF logo are available to download, FREE of charge. To download, just right click on the link and click on SAVE LINK AS. Whilst the others are just link throughs to reports and resources.

Future of travel

Interested in having a look at the future of travel. Click here to reveal a photo gallery.

Future of Travel


Garnaut Climate Change Report    
Shell Energy Scenarios- 2050 (1.8M)
Kyoto Protocol Report (75Kb)

What is Kyoto Protocol?

Lithium Metal Batteries
CSIRO Lithium metal battery research

Peeling Back Pavement to Expose Watery Havens

Renewable Energy Commercialisation in Australia

July 16, 2009

SEOUL, South Korea — For half a century, a dark tunnel of crumbling concrete encased more than three miles of a placid stream bisecting this bustling city.

The Cheonggyecheon recovery project, which removed three miles of elevated highway, has helped reduce car pollution.

The waterway had been a centerpiece of Seoul since a king of the Choson Dynasty selected the new capital 600 years ago, enticed by the graceful meandering of the stream and its 23 tributaries. But in the industrial era after the Korean War, the stream, by then a rank open sewer, was entombed by pavement and forgotten beneath a lacework of elevated expressways as the city’s population swelled toward 10 million.

Today, after a $384 million recovery project, the stream, called Cheonggyecheon, is liberated from its dank sheath and burbles between reedy banks. Picnickers cool their bare feet in its filtered water, and carp swim in its tranquil pools.

read more..


Biomass Projects

  1. Auspine Renewable Energy Commercialisation Project
  2. Renewable ethanol fuel production project
  3. A new source of energy emerges from a prickly problem
  4. Mimosa Pigra - Turning a weed into electricity
  5. The Renewable Energy-Organic Conversion Centre
  6. Bioenergy - Integrated mallee processing
  7. Food biomass to green energy
  8. Bulk bagasse dewatering station at Racecourse Mill
  9. Innovation in harvesting, processing and transporting camphor laurel
  10. Reorganic Energy Swanbank- solution to waste management
  11. Factory-based 'Cane Trash' Separation System
  12. Rocky Point Sugar Mill - Renewable energy project
  13. MacKay Region Sugar Mills - Increased renewable energy production through improved boiler efficiency
  14. Solid waste energy recycling facility
  15. Green Gasifer Generator - A micro gasifier turbine developer

    Source: Australian Greenhouse Office

Generating Energy From the Deep

April 29, 2009

LOCKHEED MARTIN is best known for building stealth fighters, satellites and other military equipment. But since late 2006 the company has taken on a different kind of enterprise — generating renewable power from the ocean.

The technology is still being developed in the laboratory, but if it succeeds on a large scale, it could eventually become an important tool in the nation's battle against global warming and dependency on foreign oil.

Lockheed and a few other companies are pursuing ocean thermal energy conversion, which uses the difference in temperature between the ocean's warm surface and its chilly depths to generate electricity.

read more..

Invention: Biofuel from the oceans

January 21, 2009

by Justin Mullins

Almost all commercially produced liquid biofuels come from either sugary crops like sugar beet or cane, or starchy ones like potatoes or corn. But every acre used to cultivate those crops uses one that could grow food - potentially causing food shortages and pushing up prices.

Using woody material instead of crops could sidestep this to some extent by using biomass from more unproductive land. And producing biofuels from freshwater algae cultivated in outdoor ponds or tanks could also use land unsuitable for agriculture. But neither approach has been made commercially available.

Now a group at the Korea Institute of Technology in South Korea has developed a way to use marine algae, or seaweed, to produce bioethanol and avoid taking up land altogether.

read more..

Fill her up please, and make it myco-diesel

November 5, 2008
Source: AFP

Will the Ferrari of tomorrow be fungus-powered? A reddish microbe found on the inside of a tree at a secret location in the rainforests of northern Patagonia could unlock the biofuel of the future, say scientists.

Its potential is so startling that the discoverers have coined the term "myco-diesel" -- a derivation of the word for fungus -- to describe the bouquet of hydrocarbons that it breathes.

“This is the only organism that has ever been shown to produce such an important combination of fuel substances," said Gary Strobel, a professor of biology at Montana State University.

"The fungus can even make these diesel compounds from cellulose, which would make it a better source of biofuel that anything we use at the moment."


Technology+market=problem solved; or does it?

August 28, 2008
by Peter Ellyard

THE year is 2038, and after 25 years of atmospheric carbon reduction the world is facing a problem inconceivable 20 years ago — a shortage of atmospheric carbon dioxide. So much so that there is genuine concern that photosynthesis is now being inhibited.

In 2012, a global carbon reduction regime was finally negotiated. There has been a price on carbon that has varied between $20 and $60 a tonne for the past 15 years. This created a new carbon market and an incentive to mine the sky for carbon.



Auspine Renewable Energy Commercialisation Project

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Auspine is preparing to build a 60MW biomass power station. In order to maximise the biomass yields to supply the power station, it will develop a plantation biomass resource management and procurement system.
Publicly listed forestry group Auspine Ltd has received a $195,000 grant under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program to assist with the commercialisation of plantation biomass resource management and procurement systems.

Auspine is currently funding a study into a proposal to build Australia's largest biomass-fuelled power station at Tarpeena near Mount Gambier in the south-east of South Australia. The project is expected to produce 60MW of electricity per annum principally from about 600,000 tonnes of softwood plantation wastes.

The ability to source a regular and uniform supply of biomass fuel is integral to the success of the project. To this end, Auspine will identify the harvest and haulage technology required to efficiently collect and deliver biomass fuel to the Auspine plant. It will also identify thinning and harvest regimes that will improve the productivity of existing high-value plantation products, as well as facilitate the procurement of biomass products.

Auspine aims to enhance existing plantation yield management systems to predict and manage biomass yields and associated green energy equivalents. Auspine plans to develop audit trail systems that will enable tracking of biomass source material, its calorific values and green energy equivalents. It will also develop handling practices that optimise moisture content management and calorific value of biomass source materials.

Biomass fuel will be sourced from pine sawmilling waste and directly from plantations within the green triangle region of South Australia. Plantation biomass fuel will be generated from multi-thinned sawlog regimes. The ability to harvest biomass from early thinnings in particular offers an exciting opportunity to review conventional thinning regimes with the goal of enhancing the rotation production of high-value radiata pine sawlogs.

Phil Lloyd
Penola Road
Tarpeena SA 5277
Tel (08) 8721 5555
Fax (08) 8721 5551








Renewable ethanol fuel production project

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In addition to supplying high-quality industrial alcohols to the food, industrial and pharmaceutical industries since 1992, Manildra has pioneered the introduction of renewable fuel ethanol into the Australian transport fuel market.

In 1999-2000, the Manildra Group was successful in securing a grant of $1 million under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program for the commercial demonstration of two production technologies that offered the capacity to deliver major reductions in energy use and production cost efficiencies.

The two technologies were:

  • continuous (as opposed to batch) fermentation, and

  • the adaptation of molecular sieve dehydration technology to secure the removal of the 5 per cent residual water in hydrated ethanol to produce anhydrous ethanol (100 per cent) suitable for use as a transport fuel.

Manildra is the largest industrial user and processor of Australian wheat for industrial and food purposes. As part of its management of the high volumes of effluent starch waste streams associated with the production of starch, sugars and protein products, Manildra has successfully designed, developed and commissioned the most advanced starch-based ethanol distillery in the world. Manildra's distillery is located at Bomaderry (near Nowra) in New South Wales.

The employment, adaptation and development of new production technologies have been a feature of Manildra's efforts to increase the cost competitiveness of its fuel ethanol distillery operations. The accumulated energy savings delivered by the successful commercial integration of the continuous fermentation and molecular sieve dehydration technologies into Manildra's advanced technology fuel ethanol plant exceed 50 per cent. These technologies, together with other efficiencies, have helped Manildra reduce the cost of producing a litre of ethanol by approximately 26 per cent.

Gilbert Bratby
Manildra Group
PO Box 123
Nowra NSW 2541
Tel (02) 9649 1444
Fax (02) 9646 4619















A new source of energy emerges from a prickly problem

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A feasibility study has identified potential for a sustainable supply of renewable energy for remote areas of northern Australia by converting chipped mimosa weed using an advanced hot briquetting technique.
Biomass Energy Services and Technology Pty Ltd (BEST) and the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries received a $200,000 grant under the Renewable Energy Industry Program to evaluate the economic and technical feasibility of converting the environmentally damaging Mimosa pigra (prickly mimosa) into renewable energy.

The consortium set out to establish whether the mimosa could be used to simultaneously provide cheaper electricity in remote areas (replacing reliance on diesel fuel), provide weed control and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. The consortium also saw the prospect for the development of a significant export industry for the technologies.
Significant areas of northern Australian grazing country are now at peril from the spread of imported noxious weeds. The Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales governments currently spend $5 million per annum on weed control.

In the Northern Territory prickly mimosa is a serious problem forming dense, inaccessible and unproductive shrubland that has a serious impact on river systems and grassland flood plains. Substantial resources are required to prevent it from spreading onto surrounding wetlands, including the world heritage listed Kakadu National Park.

Control of the mimosa has involved spraying to defoliate it and then 'rolling over' by pulling it with a chain between several bulldozers. The resultant material is then dried and set on fire, which produces carbon dioxide.

The two-year feasibility study investigated both a sustainable location and development of a commercially viable technology. The dense infestation of the Northern Territory's Adelaide River region indicates that there is a sufficient mass of mimosa in that area to fuel a biomass electricity generation plant.

For the stage of the study following the bulldozing of the mimosa, a local landholder collected and chipped a tonne of the material, which was then sent to BEST's facility near Gosford in New South Wales. There it was hammer milled, partially pyrolysed and formed into briquettes using an advanced hot briquetting technique.

The BEST research focused on the hot briquetting technology to create durable briquettes that could be used in a suitable biomass gasifier to generate good-quality producer gas. BEST carried out trials using its downdraft gasifier to prove that the briquettes would make a convenient fuel source for gasification and the gas generated would be suitable for power generation.

The Northern Territory Power and Water Corporation (PAWC) could use the combustible gas produced from the mimosa in a gas engine or gas turbine to generate electricity. Suitable biomass sources like mimosa, as a form of stored solar energy, can provide an acceptable energy source for utilities.

The successful completion of this project has been instrumental in PAWC's plans to construct a 350kW prototype biomass energy generation system. On average the prototype unit would produce around 10MWh per day. In CO2 terms this would amount to a daily expenditure saving of around six tonnes in addition to eliminating the greenhouse emissions that are currently produced from burning the mimosa.

In addition to the prospects for sustainable energy generation, the feasibility study also offers potential breakthrough technology for dealing with other serious noxious weed infestations that are generating major problems for large areas of the pastoral industry in western Queensland and northern New South Wales. The same approach offers the prospect for exporting the technology to parts of Asia that are also experiencing significant problems with prickly mimosa.

Dr Stephen Joseph
Biomass Energy Services and Technology Pty Ltd
56 Gindurra Road
Somersby NSW 2250
Tel (02) 4340 4911
Fax (02) 4340 4878


Mimosa Pigra - Turning a weed into electricity

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Converting mimosa pigra weed into electricity will contribute to greenhouse gas abatement and provide distributed generation support to the electricity network.

In 1999 the Northern Territory Power and Water Corporation (PAWC) and Biomass Energy Services and Technology (BEST) conducted research under a project supported by the Renewable Energy Industry Program into the possible use of Mimosa pigra (mimosa) as an energy source. The Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries assisted the research into the extent of the resource and some of the harvesting issues (with strong emphasis on not spreading the seeds).

The current project, assisted by a grant of $1 million under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program, aims to optimise the mimosa harvesting, briquetting and gasification processes and the integrating of the gas engine technology. The planned output of the pilot scheme is 350kW. This would be enough to light about 200 homes in Darwin and would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 2,400 tonnes of CO2annually.

The Adelaide River floodplain location has been selected as a demonstration site because it is close to a large, accessible infestation of mimosa. In addition, it is on the Arnhem Highway which will expose thousands of Kakadu National Park visitors every year to the technology, thereby helping to promote sustainable energy principles to the wider community.

The conversion process involves harvesting the mimosa and compressing the mimosa chips into briquettes on site to store for the wet season and to prevent spreading of the seeds. Then the mimosa briquettes are gasified to produce fuel gas, which is burnt in an optimised spark ignition gas engine to produce electricity and ash.

The gas that results from gasifying the mimosa is very high in hydrogen. This makes it unsuitable for gas turbines and difficult for the majority of spark ignition reciprocating gas engines. However, it could be very suitable for fuel cells when they become commercially available.

In the 1999 research, BEST used a Holden motor to run on the gas and to produce 30kW. PAWC has been conducting market research on available and suitable engines in the 500kW range.

PAWC modelling suggests that although the pilot scheme may have costs in the range of 25 to 35 cents per kWh, upscaling the project to 3MW in future may produce costs competitive with grid power.
PAWC coordinated research on harvesting in conjunction with the Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy in 2000. Harvesters that have been developed for the oil mallee projects in Western Australia may be suitable. Other harvesters in Scandinavia for clearing up forest residue may also be adaptable. For the pilot scheme it is envisaged that the landholder will bulldoze (or chain) the mimosa and feed it into a chipper. The harvesting would need to be done in about four months during the dry season and produce enough fuel for a full year's operation of the power station.

The mimosa resource has 'renewable status' as the mimosa regenerates and is back to its original density after 3 to 5 years. The pilot scheme will require only a few hectares to be cleared each year. PAWC does not expect to make much impact on mimosa initially but, in conjunction with other biological control and eradication methods, it will serve as a fuel resource for a 7MW plant producing renewable energy for at least 20 years.

Trevor Horman
Power and Water Corporation
18-20 Cavenagh Street
Darwin NT 0812
Tel (08) 8924 7093
Fax (08) 8924 7222


The Renewable Energy-Organic Conversion Centre

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Re-OCC will process urban green waste into renewable electricity, commercial-quality charcoal and clean-burning briquettes.

Around the world, communities are looking to maximise the recovery of useful material from urban waste and minimise the environmental damage caused by the use of landfills. With the support of an $850,000 grant under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program, the Renewable Energy-Organic Conversion Centre (Re-OCC) is to be constructed in Canberra by Biomass Energy Services Technology (BEST). It will showcase world-leading technologies that process urban green waste into renewable electricity, commercial-quality charcoal, and clean-burning briquettes as a firewood substitute. The plant will operate as a commercial demonstration facility until a permanent operation can be established in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Organic matter, when exposed to heat and pressure in the absence of oxygen under the earth, breaks down to form natural gas over a period of millions of years. At Re-OCC Canberra, advanced thermal gasification technology will mimic this process producing a 'synthesis' gas from green organic waste in a matter of minutes. The synthesis gas will then be used to fuel a reciprocating engine generator, delivering renewable electricity to the ACT grid. The facility will have a capacity of around 600kW, enough power for over 500 average homes.

The Re-OCC facility will process urban softwood and hardwood waste derived from the ACT Government's maintenance of street trees. A significant part of this waste that cannot be composted is buried in landfills. The Re-OCC facility will make valuable and sustainable products from this largely wasted resource and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the ACT.

There is a large winter market for firewood in Canberra, but currently there are doubts raised about the environmental sustainability of its collection, often far from the ACT, and the airborne pollution it causes can be a problem. The high-tech briquettes produced by this facility will provide a convenient and superior-performing alternative to firewood as they will produce more heat and less airborne pollution and are resistant to water and termites. At least 1000 tonnes of briquettes will be produced at the facility during the demonstration phase.

Charcoal is a high-value product used for industrial and domestic purposes in Australia, including the manufacture of silicon for solar power cells. The Canberra Re-OCC facility will demonstrate the capability of converting low-value urban green waste to high-value charcoal products.

Renewable energy is derived from sources that never run out. The organic matter consumed by the facility is replaced as trees and other plants grow, without disruption to the natural carbon cycle. Fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and natural gas, release into the atmosphere vast amounts of additional carbon that would otherwise be stored below the earth, contributing to rising global temperatures through the greenhouse effect.

Stephen Joseph
Biomass Energy Services and Technology Pty Ltd
56 Gindurra Rd
Somersby NSW 2250
Tel (02) 4340 4911
Fax (02) 4340 4878



Bioenergy - Integrated mallee processing

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Western Power's Integrated Wood Processing demonstration plant will process mallee trees to produce renewable electricity, activated carbon and eucalyptus oil.

Western Australia's wheatbelt town of Narrogin is home to an innovative project, the Integrated Wood Processing (IWP) demonstration plant that addresses global warming and farmland salinity, two of Australia's most pressing environmental concerns. Western Power is building the plant with the assistance of a $1 million grant under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program.

Using locally planted mallee trees, the IWP plant will generate enough renewable electricity for 1000 homes, as well as activated carbon and eucalyptus oil. Yielding three products at the one plant will ensure commercially competitive operation.

The electricity produced will displace fossil-fuelled generation and is carbon dioxide neutral. Because trees are planted specifically for the project, carbon dioxide is first fixed from the atmosphere as carbon, before being later released in the generation of electricity as carbon dioxide again. The carbon dioxide is essentially borrowed, not generated. Much of the fixed carbon stays with the activated carbon. In addition, there is a carbon store created when the land use is first changed from monoculture to agroforestry, and a continuing store in the roots, which continue to grow indefinitely.

The project needs local farmers to plant two million mallee trees. Mallees had been the bane of farmers since colonisation because of their stubborn habit of resprouting after attempted removal. Mallees store food and energy in their underground lignotuber, the wellknown mallee root, which allows them to regrow when the aboveground branches are removed, a natural adaptation to frequent fires.

This resprouting ability will be exploited to harvest branches every second year indefinitely without any replanting. This is known as 'coppicing'. Meanwhile, the deep mallee roots soak up the ground water to keep the salt at bay. Mallees are now the farmers' ally in combating salinity that threatens 30 per cent of the wheatbelt in Western Australia.

The IWP plant uses modern fluidised bed technology developed by CSIRO to convert the wood into charcoal and then to 'activate' the charcoal to convert it to activated carbon. Activated carbon is used in air and liquid purification. Oil will be distilled from the leaves, and the spent leaves will be gasified to produce fuel for the boiler. Initially the oil will be used in the pharmaceutical market, currently dominated by imports. It will also be pioneered as a safe, environmentally friendly industrial solvent. Heat from both processes will be used to generate electricity.

Enecon Pty Ltd, which holds the rights to commercialise the CSIRO technology, will be working with Western Power on the design, construction and operation of the plant. The Oil Mallee Company of Australia Pty Ltd will supply mallee biomass and new eucalyptus oil distillation technology.


Biomass feed: 20,000 tonnes/annum
Electricity: 7.5GWh/annum
Activated carbon: 690 tonnes/annum
Eucalyptus oil: 210 tonnes/annum
Plant design:  
Generation plant: 1MW steam turbine
Carbonising plant: Fluidised bed
Distillation plant: Steam distillation
Spent leaf combustor: Thermal gasification
Greenhouse gas abatement  
Renewable energy generation: 7,300 tonnes/annum
Rootmass fixation: 4,300 tonnes/annum
Standing biomass fixation: 54,000 tonnes

Full-scale, fully economic IWP plants will be five times the size of the demonstration plant, each requiring the planting of 20 million trees. There is potential for at least ten plants throughout the wheatbelt of Western Australia, with many more possible in other states and overseas.  

Adrian Chegwidden
Manager, Sustainable Energy Branch
Western Power Corporation
GPO Box L921
Perth WA 6842
Tel (08) 9326 4902
Fax (08) 9326 4600
Email: Internet:


Food biomass to green energy

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EarthPower Technologies' anaerobic digestion facility will convert 82,000 tonnes per year of food wastes into biogas to be used to generate electricity, and also into high-quality fertiliser.

With the support of a $1 million grant under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program, EarthPower Technologies Pty Ltd is designing and constructing in Sydney a state-of-the-art facility that will recycle up to 82,000 tonnes per year of industrial and commercial food and other biomass wastes.

The biomass will be treated using anaerobic digestion, an established technology that converts it to recyclable products by using bacteria in an oxygen-free environment to produce a combustible gas (biogas), which is similar to natural gas, and a liquid effluent stream containing solids (raw fertiliser).

The breakdown of organic materials involves a number of biological steps. At each step, a well defined class of bacteria absorbs energy for survival from the gradually decomposing biomass, which is finally converted to water, carbon dioxide and methane. The bodies of exhausted bacteria, mixed with compounds difficult to digest, constitute the residual digested fertiliser sludge.

The EarthPower facility will enable waste producers to respond to the increasing regulatory and public pressure on them to find waste disposal methods other than landfills, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emission and the escape of leachates that cause soil and ground-water pollution. The facility will also enable producers of food biomass wastes to save on disposal costs which are escalating at landfills. The biomass will initially be sourced from the industrial and commercial sectors-food processing, hospitality, markets and supermarkets-from where most waste currently goes to landfill.

The biogas, similar in nature to natural gas, will be used in gas engines to generate electricity for sale either into the grid or direct to the host site. Enough biogas will be produced to enable the facility to achieve 3MW of electricity generating capacity.

The raw sludge produced by the anaerobic digestion process is not suitable for direct use as a fertiliser because its high moisture content causes handling and transport difficulties. However, there is a market as a raw material supplying nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) to other processors. A marketable granulated or pelletised product has been developed by drying or blending the raw fertiliser sludge with other organic and inorganic materials to produce soil conditioners. The fertiliser produced in this process has no odour. Trials indicate performance superior to existing inorganic and organic products in vegetable production applications.

EarthPower's anaerobic digestion facility displaces fossil fuels to produce green energy and captures the nutrient value of food waste in producing high-quality fertilisers. With its dual output of energy and valuable fertiliser, the facility makes the processing of food wastes commercially attractive both in Australia and overseas. 

Peter Trotter
EarthPower Technologies Sydney Pty Ltd
35 Grand Avenue Camellia NSW 2142
Tel (02) 9684 5832
Fax (03) 9654 7356


Bulk bagasse dewatering station at Racecourse Mill

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Mackay Sugar is installing a dewatering station that will increase the efficiency of the conversion of bagasse to renewable electricity.
Under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program, Mackay Sugar Cooperative has received a $1 million grant towards the installation of a bagasse 'dewatering' station that will reduce the moisture content of bagasse fuel.

All Australian sugar mills produce vast quantities of bagasse, the fibrous residue remaining after cane is crushed and the juice processed to form sugar. Bagasse contains more than 50 per cent water and is an excellent but moist renewable fuel for firing in sugar factory boilers.

High-pressure steam raised in the boilers is used to generate electricity (for factory motors) and drive machinery in the crushing train, while the turbine exhaust steam is used for juice heating and sugar processing. Typically, some surplus electricity is dispatched to the local electricity grid, but this has been limited by the low energy efficiency of the plant installed in most sugar factories.

As a result of this project, Mackay Sugar will be a partner in the installation of a de-watering station at Harwood Mill in Northern NSW. By reducing the moisture content of bagasse, boiler efficiency at Harwood will be greatly improved, resulting in excess bagasse being available for storage for off-season energy needs. At other factories, this technology will result in enhanced levels of electricity exported to the grid.

The technology for efficient sugar mill cogeneration is well established; however, the handling and storage of large quantities of bagasse year-round is unproven in Australia. Studies have shown that due to the relatively high price received for energy in the off-season, the economics of cogeneration are considerably improved if fuel can be saved and stored for year-round electricity generation.

It is intended that the development of technologies in this dewatering station program will result in the more efficient utilisation of bagasse being stored uncovered at mills each year and exposed to tropical downpours. The station at Harwood Mill will reduce the bagasse moisture to below 50 per cent, thus improving boiler and sugar recovery efficiencies and enhancing returns to the mill. The efficiency gains in bagasse utilisation may also result in the generation of surplus bagasse for use in the off-season.

In the subsequent cogeneration project planned for Mackay Sugar based on this technology, electricity despatched to the grid will be about 30MW during the crushing season and 13MW during the off-season. The 160GWh per year of renewable electricity generation will save approximately 152,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, and a further 122,000 tonnes of CO2 will be saved due to coal displacement on site.

The dewatering station technology could be applied to any Australian sugar factory. The sugar industry is well placed to supply to the renewable electricity market, recently promoted by the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act. To fully capitalise on this opportunity, the industry needs to address the problem of fuel supply and storage. If successful, this trial of dewatering technology will provide a solution.

John Hodgson
Senior Project Engineer
Mackay Sugar Cooperative Association Ltd
Racecourse Mill
Mackay QLD 4741
Tel (07) 4953 8280
Fax (07) 4953 8342


Innovation in harvesting, processing and transporting camphor laurel

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Camphor laurel trees that have taken over thousands of hectares of farmland will be harvested to produce year-round energy for sugar mill power stations.

Camphor laurel is an invasive woody weed, which has spread rapidly over formerly cleared land used principally for dairying. With the decline of the dairy industry in northern New South Wales, heavily seeding camphor trees have taken over so many thousands of hectares that farmers cannot afford to remove them.

With the assistance of a $500,000 grant under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program, camphor laurel will be harvested to supply efficient year-round energy production for the power station at Condong sugar mill. The project stems from an innovative idea put forward by State Forests of NSW and is co-funded by the NSW Wales Sugar Milling Co-operative and Delta Electricity.

Innovations include the injection of low-toxicity herbicide into standing stems to kill the tree roots (otherwise camphor re-shoots vigorously from the stump) and at the same time commence the wood drying process to improve the fuel value. Trees will be mechanically felled and carried to a landing for chipping.

Delivery cost will be reduced by modifying mechanised logging equipment. Idle cane harvesting equipment will also be modified so that the product can be harvested and delivered to Condong mill as a supplement to bagasse and cane trash.

Outside the cane-crushing season, there is considerable excess capacity of both cane buggies and cane trucks. Making use of this available equipment, mobile chippers will deliver chips into cane buggies that have been modified so chips don't bounce out during loading. The buggies will then take the camphor chips to cane bins, which cane trucks will carry to the sugar mills, delivering the camphor chips either direct into the boiler infeed or onto stockpiles. The density and low moisture content of the camphor chip (compared with cane-based fuel) help to reduce the delivered costs per unit of energy generated.

Any sawlog or veneer log will be recovered (camphor laurel is a very distinctive timber but the bent nature of the stem limits its use for milling). State Forests and industry partners have worked on the development of plywood from camphor and have shown how to efficiently recover sawn timber from small or misshapen logs.
It is proposed to harvest and deliver at least the equivalent of 40,000 green tonnes of camphor laurel over a two-year trial period. If successful, the system will be expanded in an endeavour to control the several million tonnes of camphor laurel estimated to be standing on the north coast of New South Wales.

Native species will be re-established on the land harvested. This will include eucalypt plantations, which State Forests will manage for sawlog production. Sawmill residues and thinnings from these plantations are a long-term potential source of bioenergy, which can potentially replace or supplement the supply of camphor for fuel. Other sites may be established for environmental plantings of, for example, rainforest species along creek lines. These will be managed in perpetuity for biodiversity values.

Robin Heathcote
State Forests of NSW
149 Prince Street
Grafton NSW 2460
Tel (02) 6641 6034
Fax (02) 6641 6001








Reorganic Energy Swanbank- solution to waste management

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ReOrganic Energy Swanbank is a landfill waste-to-energy project with the capacity to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 364,000 tonnes a year at a single site.

Thiess Services Pty Ltd, Landfill Management Services Pty Ltd, New Hope Energy Pty Ltd and CS Energy Ltd are rethinking the process of waste management to create a valuable resource for Australia and the world. The ReOrganic Energy Swanbank project is a holistic solution, which brings together the combined resources of these four organisations to create economically viable volumes of gas from landfill sites as sources for fuel for green energy.

As pressure on our planet grows, we need to find new ways to manage our resources. The ReOrganic Energy Swanbank project, which is supported by a $1 million grant under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program, has the capacity to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 364,000 tonnes a year at a single site. It is one of the largest waste-to-energy projects from a single landfill in Australia.

Landfill Management Services and Thiess Services have created a process that maximises the volume and extraction efficiency of landfill gas to enable its use for electricity generation. By combining a biocell and a biolandfill with proprietary technology, ReOrganic Energy Swanbank is a valuable supplement to coal as a feedstock for CS Energy's Swanbank power station in south-east Queensland.

Using traditional landfill management practices, full decomposition can take over fifty years. By using the biolandfill technology, ReOrganic Energy Swanbank can halve this time frame and significantly increase gas volumes. The biocell is a large-scale anaerobic digester in a specifically designed void that receives organic waste and biosolids. Natural biodegradation processes are applied in a special configuration to stimulate and accelerate the production of biogas.

Rather than locking away materials indefinitely, as is the practice in other landfills, the biocell is designed to allow the recovery of this material for further use. When biogas generation in the biocell declines, the residual organic material can be excavated and used as a soil conditioner or feedstock for composting.

This biocell technology can also be applied to the remainder of the landfill, significantly accelerating the production of landfill gas from the entire site. Conversion of some plant equipment at Swanbank power station has allowed the injection of landfill gas into the boilers which completes the cycle of energy generation from waste.

In addition to displacing coal-fired generation, this process will also reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx). At predicted peak rates of landfill gas generation, ReOrganic Energy Swanbank is expected to reduce total Swanbank site emissions of NOx by over 3 per cent.

Rethinking the process of waste management is not only a bright idea, but will create a valuable resource for Australia. Landfill sites that produce economically viable volumes of gas for electricity generation can now contribute to a greener future.

Peter Myrlea
Thiess Services Pty Ltd
PO Box 1127
Archerfield QLD 4108
Tel (07) 3715 1538
Fax (07) 3715 1545


Factory-based 'Cane Trash' Separation System

For more information please contact:

NSW Sugar Milling has devised a way of collecting and processing sugar cane waste for use as fuel.

Those who have travelled through the sugar cane growing areas of New South Wales or Queensland may have noticed the occasional cane fire at harvest time. The leaf matter is burnt off every year to facilitate harvesting the sugar cane and transporting it to the raw sugar mill.

The New South Wales Sugar Milling Cooperative Limited holds that this leaf matter or 'cane trash', which has been going up in smoke, is a valuable renewable energy source. With the assistance of a $500,000 grant under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program, it is building a plant to separate the trash from the cane at the Condong sugar mill. The trash will bypass the cane crushing process and go directly to the power station as fuel.

Design changes to the harvester have overcome most of the problems associated with harvesting the whole crop 'green' (unburnt). In addition, transport equipment for both in-field and onroad use is being built to handle this bulkier, lower-density material.

There will be enough trash and sugar cane bagasse (the fibrous waste from the crushing process) to fuel a 30MW power station for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for most of the year. The company estimates that 130GW hours can be generated by the renewable cane fuels each year at Condong mill alone, which is equivalent to the power that is generated from 57,000 tonnes of coal or to the removal of 25,000 cars from the road.

Bruce Lamb
NSW Sugar Milling Cooperative Ltd
Harwood Island NSW 2465
Tel (02) 6640 0400
Fax (02) 6646 4550






Rocky Point Sugar Mill - Renewable energy project

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A $55 million biomass cogeneration plant has been constructed at the Rocky Point Sugar Mill.

The Rocky Point Sugar Mill project received a $350,000 grant under the Renewable Energy Industry Program and was a stepping stone to the construction of the largest year-round biomass plant within the Australian sugar industry.

The aim of this project was to ascertain whether sugar milling boiler technology could burn biomass sources other than bagasse and whether there was sufficient renewable biomass fuel for yearround operation of the plant. Year round operation would take advantage of plant economies of scale and maximise the use of the considerable capital invested in this operation.
The project included biomass burning trials in the existing sugar mill at Rocky Point and extensive research into the supply of some 180,000 tonnes of biomass fuel, other than bagasse, for the mill's out-of-season operation. The fuel had to be obtained as part of a 'waste to energy' philosophy. The research eventually found that 130,000 tonnes of fuel was available to the project.

The Rocky Point Sugar Mill renewable energy project went on to be awarded a Renewable Energy Showcase grant of $3 million towards the construction of a $55 million biomass cogeneration plant attached to the Rocky Point Sugar Mill. The mill has undergone extensive refurbishment, with electric and hydraulic drives replacing steam engines, doing away completely with the use of high and intermediate steam pressures in its sugar milling process.

Considerable changes aimed at steam savings and energy efficiency are under way in the plant. Furthermore, the year-round energy supply from the cogeneration plant has made it possible for the sugar mill to undertake value-added products, such as distillation of fuel alcohol (ethanol) and organic sugar.

David Heck
Rocky Point Sugar Mill
Mill Road
Woongoolba QLD 4207
Tel (07) 5546 2422
Fax (07) 5546 1233


MacKay Region Sugar Mills - Increased renewable energy production through improved boiler efficiency

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The Sugar Research Institute has made modifications to the bagasse fired boiler at Proserpine Sugar Mill, potentially resulting in significant efficiency gains throughout the industry.

The Sugar Research Institute (SRI) has designed and installed a range of modifications to boilers at sugar mills in the Mackay region and their performance is generating considerable interest in the industry.

The Australian sugar industry has very large potential for cogeneration of electricity from the huge quantity of bagasse by-product. Typically, every crushing season the industry produces over 10 million tonnes of bagasse which is the residue of the sugar cane plant that is left after the sucrose has been extracted. Even though all sugar mills use up the bagasse each year to generate their own heat and electricity to run the factory, there is a large potential for cogeneration. It has been estimated that over 1,000MWe (or 4,000GWh per annum) of electricity could be cogenerated if the sugar factories were modified to become much more energy efficient than they currently are and so better use the bagasse resource.

The capital cost of modifying sugar mills can be prohibitive in terms of the economic viability of bagasse cogeneration. The process area that incurs the largest costs is the steam generation, or boiler plant. One of the ways to attack this restriction is to develop new technologies for boilers that are cheaper to install, give increased output and are cheaper to operate and maintain. The Sugar Research Institute has therefore made boiler efficiency a high priority and the AGO has provided funding for two projects in this area.
With the support of a $200,000 grant under the Renewable Energy Industry Program, SRI conducted the detailed engineering design and financial evaluation of a full swirl burner combustion system (SBCS) retrofit of a full-scale commercial 60,000kg/h steam boiler at Farleigh Mill near Mackay in Queensland. The objective of the project was to confirm the financial viability of the SBCS technology and to improve the capacity and efficiency of existing boilers fired by bagasse.

SRI is also undertaking a bagasse fired boiler project at Proserpine Mill with the assistance of a $1 million grant awarded under round 4 of the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program. The modifications to the boiler at Proserpine involve three innovative technology components:

  • airheater design for increased performance and reduced corrosion
  • advanced secondary air injection system for increased boiler steam output and efficiency, and
  • advanced fuel spreader design for increased boiler efficiency and reduced capital cost.

These two projects will show that it can be commercially feasible to retrofit existing boilers in sugar mills planning to significantly expand their cane processing capacity and cogenerated power output. The projects will help to pave the way for a wider market uptake of this technology both in Australia and overseas, while making a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse emissions.

Dr Terry Dixon
Sugar Research Institute
Box 5611
Mackay Mail Centre 4741
Tel (07) 4952 7600
Fax (07) 4852 7699


Solid waste energy recycling facility (SWERTFM)

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At full capacity, SWERFTM can provide green electricity to 20,000 homes, and at the same time achieve a 90 per cent reduction in waste going to landfill.

In December 1998, Brightstar Environmental, a member of the Energy Developments group of companies, received a $2 million grant under the Renewable Energy Showcase Program. The grant contributed to the design and installation of SWERFTM, the first solid waste and energy recycling facility. SWERFTM was jointly opened in February 2001 by the Hon. Bob Carr, the Premier of NSW, and the Hon. Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary to the Environment and Heritage Minister.

SWERFTM is located at Brightstar Environmental's site in Whytes Gully near Wollongong, New South Wales. The result of 10 years of research and development, the facility converts household organic matter from municipal waste into synthetic fuel gas and then into green electricity. It integrates waste processing, recycling, thermal gasification and power generation in a unique and innovative design. Brightstar Environmental believes that at full capacity, the SWERFTM plant at Whytes Gully can provide electricity for around 20,000 homes, while achieving a 90 per cent reduction in waste going to landfill.

The SWERFTM process consists of three integrated components:

  1. Pre-processing of waste
    Pre-processing involves receiving the waste, sterilising it with steam in an autoclave (with heat and pressure) and then mechanically separating it. Steel, aluminium and some rigid plastics are recovered for recycling, and a pulp is produced from the remaining organic material. The pulp is then washed to remove sand and glass, and dried in preparation for gasification. The sand and glass are further processed for use in a number of beneficial applications.
  2. Gasification
    The organic pulp is fed into a high-temperature gasifier that converts the elements to a gaseous compound consisting mainly of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. These elements are reformed into a synthesis gas (syngas), which is processed to make a clean, dry fuel gas, suitable for use with a variety of power generation equipment or as a chemical feedstock. This is an environmentally sound and superior alternative to the direct waste combustion used by incinerators.
  3. Electricity generation
    The syngas is used to drive highly efficient internal combustion engines to produce renewable electricity that is supplied to the electricity distribution grid for use in local homes and businesses. The performance of each of these components can be configured to suit the requirements and priorities of local councils and the community.
    Despite efforts to recycle, the quantity of waste requiring disposal remains high, with up to 82 per cent of material still being landfilled in Australia, resulting in significant greenhouse gas emissions and leachate problems. Furthermore, over 90 per cent of our electricity is still being generated by burning coal, and Australian greenhouse gas emissions increased by 17 per cent from 1990 to 1998.
    Australia needs to look seriously at alternative energy options. SWERFTM technology presents a major opportunity for our renewable energy and waste management industries to address this need. The SWERFTM technology also has potential for a large overseas market in waste management, renewable energy and the environment.

Chris Stapleton
Manager, Business Development
Brightstar Environmental
PO Box 535
Richlands QLD 4077
Tel (07) 3275 5600


Green Gasifer Generator - A micro gasifier turbine developer

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The development of the green gasifier generator will enable the efficient conversion of wood and other biomass wastes into electricity.

With the assistance of a $1 million dollar grant under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), JC Smale & Co and Capstone Turbine Corporation have commenced development of a micro gasifier turbine system to generate electricity from fuelwood. The Green Gasifier Generator (GGG) integrates CSIRO's gasifier with the Capstone MicroTurbineTM into systems with electricity outputs of 25 to 200kW according to the size of the MicroTurbineTM.

Since the oil crisis of the 1970s, CSIRO has had a team of scientists and engineers investigating ways to maximise energy extraction from wood using combustion, gasification and carbonisation.

JC Smale & Co is a design, manufacturing, installation and commissioning engineering company. It will manufacture and assemble the GGG systems in Australia.

Capstone Turbine Corporation is the world-leading developer and manufacturer of ultra low-emission, high-reliability MicroTurbineTM systems. It will produce the turbine generators for the GGG.

The GGG converts wood into combustible gases comprising carbon monoxide, hydrogen, methane and other organic compounds. The pressurised gases are cleaned and burnt to run the turbine, which drives an electrical generator with sophisticated electronics to enable connection to the electricity grid for distribution to local users.

The gasifier can use green or dry fuelwood. Emissions from the GGG will not be pollutants as they are the combustion products, water and carbon dioxide. As the carbon dioxide is produced from carbon sequestered from the atmosphere by trees laying down wood, the GGG production of electricity is greenhouse gas neutral, provided that the wood resource is sustainably produced. As a substitute for fossil energy sources to generate electricity, the GGG would have a positive effect on greenhouse gas reduction. As there is no sulphur in the wood fuel, SO2 emission is negligible. In addition, as temperatures are lower than those in traditional combustion, it is expected that NOx emissions would be lower also. If the target of 1,000 GGG units deployed by 2010 is reached, greenhouse gas reductions of almost one million tonnes per annum could be achieved.

By 2010, electricity production from GGG units installed nationally would be about 950GWh, 10 per cent of Australia's 9,500GWh 2010 renewable energy target (or about 2 per cent of Australia's 1997 electricity consumption). Any projection, however, is highly dependent not only on the successful technical and commercial demonstration of the GGG, but also on a multitude of competitive and legislative factors.

The GGG concept is not expected to compete directly against large-scale fossil fuel (coal/gas) power stations close to their generating sites. However, as transmission distances (and losses) increase, so will the attractiveness of the GGG concept.

The GGG system is expected to have very large markets in developing and industrialised countries with access to sustainable forest biomass resources. Note that the GGG concept is not reliant on existing forests. Provided there is land available, it can operate with the establishment of new fuelwood farms created specifically for the GGG. If the full market potential were achieved globally, the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable forest biomass could be considerable, making a significant contribution to global greenhouse gas abatement.

Dr Paul Fung
Project Group Leader, Energy and Recycling
CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products Division
Bayview Avenue
Clayton VIC 3169
Tel (03) 9545 2487
Fax (03) 9545 5448

















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