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Case builds for Energy from Waste facilities in Australia

REMONDIS Australia // 15 August 2021


Heat generated from the combustion process is used to generate a cleaner form of electricity and significantly diverts landfill


REMONDIS has 30 years’ experience building Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities


EfW facilities feature in the most densely populated cities in the world including London, Paris, Zurich, Vienna and Singapore


Energy from Waste facilities aren’t cheap to build, but overseas experience shows the upfront investments result in major long-term environmental, social and economic returns.

For those unfamiliar with waste sector lingo, an Energy from Waste facility is a reinforced structure in which mostly non-recyclable waste is combusted.

They result in staggering amounts of waste being diverted from landfill, which is a big plus, given that landfill presents multiple environmental problems including land disturbance, odour, methane and leachate.

The secondary bonus is that heat generated from the combustion process is used to generate a cleaner form of electricity.

As such, Energy from Waste facilities are recognised internationally as a key to enhancing what people in the waste sector call the ‘circular economy’ – putting all waste to good use, including non-recyclable waste.

REMONDIS' planned EfW facility

REMONDIS currently has an application before the Queensland Government to build a $400 million Energy from Waste facility at Swanbank near Ipswich, which would be the centrepiece of a $700 million Clean Energy and Resource Recovery Precinct.

If approved, 70 new full-time operational jobs and 200 full-time construction jobs would be created.

“We’re talking about a privately funded project that would be an historic leap to solving so many age-old waste dilemmas in Australia,” Project Manager Sarah Collins said, one of several key managers appointed to oversee delivery of the precinct.

“The precinct would enable us to take recycling to a new level and better still do something useful with non-recyclable waste – burn it to make cleaner electricity for 50,000 homes each year.

“A lot of people forget that waste has to end up somewhere. You rarely hear people arguing that waste should keep going in the ground.

“Australia has more recently had a go at exporting such waste to Asian countries where it’s been buried or stockpiled, but those countries are more frequently saying ‘no thank you’, creating even more pressures back here.   

“In the case of Ipswich we’d be diverting some 500,000 tonnes of waste from landfill every year. Less than five percent would be left over after the combustion process and go to landfill, most of that being ash.

“As a global leader in waste management, REMONDIS can offer the Energy from Waste solution in Ipswich and other parts of Australia, which would bring us in line with modern waste management practices overseas.

“It’s a case of moving away from the dark ages, almost putting an end to ripping up the ground and dumping waste in there en masse.”

What’s next for REMONDIS’ planned facility?

Swanbank near Ipswich is an ideal location for an Energy from Waste plant, given that there’s an existing waste management operation and assured waste supply. Further, there’s water supply (needed for the heat generation process) and electricity infrastructure, meaning new electricity can be fed directly into the grid.

The proposal fits with the Queensland Government’s Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy, which is focussed on reducing waste and landfill and boosting recycling. This is a vital strategy, because many of the state’s landfill sites will be exhausted in less than twenty years.

“There’s an onus on waste industry leaders such as REMONDIS to make the case for Energy from Waste technology in Australia,” Collins added.

“We’re ramping up community engagement in and around Ipswich to be sure people understand what’s on offer.

“The most revealing thing is many locals just don’t know how safe and successful the facilities are overseas. The more we talk with people, the more they get the benefits.

“It’s not every day a project of this magnitude comes to a regional city such as Ipswich, so the economic and job creation side of things is also being well received by many.”

REMONDIS is awaiting Terms of Reference from the Queensland Coordinator General, which will guide and inform specifics of the proposal.

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