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GWE green energy tech offers solution for meat, agriculture and organic waste processing worldwide

A green energy plant installed by CST Wastewater Solutions at a leading
beef processing unit in Queensland’s Darling Downs is being recommended as a
model for environmental and business efficiency for food producers worldwide.

CST Wastewater Solutions installed Global Water Engineering’s COHRAL
plant at Oakey Beef Exports in Australia as part of a green energy initiative
by its parent company, the leading Japanese meat processor NH Foods.

The GWE COHRAL plant was officially opened this month by Australian
Federal Industry and Science Minister and MP for Groom Hon Ian Macfarlane. The plant
will extract green energy biogas from the meat processor’s wastewater streams to
replace millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas currently consumed at the abattoir
on Queensland’s Darling Downs.

GWE’s COHRAL (covered high rate anaerobic lagoon) will produce 183.3
gigajoules of energy a day when it reaches design capacity through the combustion
of methane produced. The new plant delivers high quality wastewater by
extracting organic waste content, which is converted into methane to replace
fossil fuels. The GWE anaerobic digestion technology can remove more than 70-90
per cent of organic waste content.

Oakey Beef Exports General Manager Mr Pat Gleeson explains that the green
energy produced represents 40 per cent of the facility’s current usage of
natural gas and will produce direct ongoing savings year after year. The cost
of construction is expected to be repaid within five years. The facility also
benefits from reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved quality of wastewater
and greatly reduced odour emissions from the plant.

According to Mr Gleeson, burning the methane will save about 12,000
tonnes of CO2, equivalent to removing 2700 cars from the road.

Federal Minister Mr Macfarlane said the project served as an example to
industry throughout Australia and worldwide. The project was a community asset,
an industry initiative funded on its own merits without government subsidy, and
a scientific, energy and industry advancement that produces green energy as it
reduces emissions.

In addition to reducing the plant’s dependence on increasingly expensive
supplies of natural gas, the Global Water Engineering anaerobic digestion plant
will simultaneously produce wastewater far cleaner than typical waste lagoons.

The installation at the Oakey Beef Exports facility is the first GWE
COHRAL installation in the world, deploying for the first time in a covered
lagoon, the GWE anaerobic technology proven in more than 300 reactor (tank)
installations worldwide.

Applicable to both livestock and cropping operations, COHRAL technology
uses concentrated anaerobic bacteria to digest 70-85 per cent of the organic
matter (COD, or Chemical Oxygen Demand) in Oakey Beef Exports’ wastewater to
produce effluent of far higher quality than typical open lagoons. Closed tank
(reactor) designs, where applicable, can achieve even higher digestion levels
and efficiencies, with more than 90 per cent achieved in service by GWE plants.

Biogas will be stored at the Oakey Beef facility in a 6000m³ capacity
flexible PVC-coated polyester fibre flexible storage balloon engineered to be
permanently gastight with high operational reliability and optimum safety.

CST Wastewater Solutions Managing Director Mr Michael Bambridge explains
that the safe, durable and environmentally harmonious COHRAL technology
deployed at Oakey Beef can be widely applied worldwide to food, beverage and
agricultural and primary processing plants. CST Wastewater Solutions represents
GWE technology in Australia and New Zealand.

Methane biogas produced in covered anaerobic lagoons is not only prevented
from escaping into the atmosphere (where it is many times more damaging than CO2
emissions) but is also harnessed to generate energy. Additionally, the process
also helps curb odours that emanate from open lagoons in processing plants, a
sensitive issue especially in urban areas where agribusiness and expanding
communities are located much closer to each other.

Additionally, unlike some other green energy technologies, anaerobic
digestion is not dependent on the wind or the sun to produce reliable and predicable
base load power.

Continuously supporting innovation such as the new GWE plant since the
initial purchase of Oakey Abattoir in 1987, Nippon Ham has invested more than $A100
million dollars to grow capacity from 300 head a day to the current capability
of 1300 head a day. Their next phase of plant development is in the final
design stage, and focuses on upgrading the existing cold storage and chilling capacity
with a construction cost of $A50 million over the next two years. 

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