City of Albany out to turn trash to treasure

Michael TraillAlbany Advertiser
City of Albany's Hanrahan Road waste facility.
Camera IconCity of Albany's Hanrahan Road waste facility. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

The City of Albany is eyeing off international investment that could see the life of Albany’s tip extended by decades, while providing the market with carbon-neutral biodiesel.

A Spanish-based company, led by its chief executive, met with City staff last Tuesday for an analysis of Albany’s waste disposal requirements.

City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said the visitors were asked to develop a business case for bringing their technology to Albany that would turn the region’s waste into biodiesel and bitumen.

“From our perspective, we’re open to talk to any company that can do a proposal for us that sees the community benefit enormously from recycling, renewables, all those sorts of things,” he said.

“We said OK, we have an enormous amount of interest, you go away and do a business case and try and sell us on the idea.”

Mr Wellington said the City’s tip had an eight-year lifespan left, while this investment could potentially see that expand to another 40 years.

“One of the reasons we’re looking at this is for us to provide a new waste tip for Albany over a 50-year period is $70 million,” he said.

“So why wouldn’t we invest in something preventative. Which is a cost benefit for us, a carbon benefit for us and the people in Albany pay the same but it would have no detriment for the community.”

Albany-based Department of Agriculture and Food staffer Kim Brooksbank, who facilitated the meeting, said the company had devised their own method of converting most household waste and agricultural industry green waste into bitumen and diesel.

“A little bit of heat, a little bit of pressure, a little bit of a catalysis and you can basically turn wood straight into a gas and re-condense that gas into whatever product you’re after,” Dr Brooksbank said

“There are huge markets for (biofuels) globally, that are growing exponentially as we try and move away from fossil fuels and there is a great opportunity in Australia because of all the stuff we grow, to tap into that.”

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