You may not like what they do, particularly if you’re a vegetarian, but at least one of them is now doing it sustainably. That’s the case for an abattoir at Goulburn south west of Sydney that is now powering its operation from biogas sourced from its effluent. 

The $5.75 million project was developed by Queensland based ReNu Energy at Southern Meats and partly funded by a $2.1 million investment by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The project uses an anaerobic digestion system to process abattoir waste in a covered lagoon that acts like a giant bladder and biologically breaks down the effluent to produce biogas, reducing methane emissions.

The biogas then powers two 800 kilowatt dual fuel generators to produce about 3800 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, with shortfalls supplemented by natural gas during peak demand.

ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said bioenergy was a significant opportunity for the livestock processing sector to switch to renewable generation and reduce exposure to energy prices. 

“Bioenergy also has environmental benefits for being able to re-use the effluent rather than disposing of the waste,” he said.  

ReNu Energy chief executive Craig Ricato said: “ReNu Energy sees great potential in the Australian bioenergy market, in both the agribusiness, food processing and municipal waste sectors.” 

ARENA played “an extremely important role” in helping companies to commercialise technologies such as anaerobic digestion, he said. 

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