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Oakey Beef Exports opens green energy plant

Oakey Beef Exports has installed a giant Biogas dome and the first COHRAL lagoon in the world.

The Global Water Engineering 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 its waste water streams to replace millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas currently consumed at the abattoir on Queensland’s Darling Downs.

The plant – the first GWE Covered High Rate Anaerobic Lagoon in the world – 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 waste water by extracting organic content, which it converts into methane to replace fossil fuels. The GWE anaerobic digestion technology involved can remove more than 70-90 per cent of organic waste content.

“The green energy produced represents 40 per cent of our current usage of natural gas and will produce direct ongoing savings year after year. The cost of construction is expected to be repaid inside five years,” said Oakey Beef Exports general manager, Pat Gleeson.

Additional benefits include reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved quality of wastewater and greatly reduced odour emissions from the plant.

“The effect of burning the methane will save the equivalent of 12,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to removing 2700 cars from the road,” Gleeson said.

Federal Minister Macfarlane said the project was a poster child that served as an example to industry throughout Australia and worldwide.

“This is a good project whichever way you look at it,” he said. “This is one of the most modern – if not the most modern – meat works in Australia.”

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

Image: Federal Minister, Ian Macfarlane (second from left), MD of NH foods Australia, Takeo Kudo and (right) the GM, Overseas Operations Department, Fresh Meat Business Division, NH Foods Norio Itazaki and (left) the GM of Nippon Meat Packers’ Oakey Beef Exports, Pat Gleeson.

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