Great Southern agribusinesses could become WA leaders in harnessing recycled gas and water from organic waste to propel the industry towards a net zero carbon future, says resource recovery expert Dr Fabiana Tessele. Dr Tessele — director of Perth-based water management firm Tessele — was in Albany on Tuesday to pitch her vision for the region to be the home of a new producer-driven initiative to divert organic waste from landfill and produce valuable products including bio-gas, fertiliser and recycled water. Large and small-scale producers, abattoirs, the City of Albany and the Water Corporation took part in the workshop at the Albany Entertainment Centre which mapped a plan to push the Great Southern to the forefront of sustainable waste management in WA. “It is basically creating value from waste,” Dr Tessele said. “The idea is really changing the conversation, and instead of wasting something unwanted, undesirable or ugly, to convert into something valuable that is a resource that can be used to produce energy and a better sustainable future for the region “I would like to see Albany leading the pack on this in WA.” Last year, the State Government announced plans to investigate Albany’s potential to become Australia’s first city to run solely on recycled natural gas. A $70,000 feasibility study was launched to assess how Albany’s liquefied petroleum gas network could switch to natural gas harvested from the North Bannister waste facility south of Perth. Dr Tessele hopes to help the local red-meat industry and agri-food producers work together to develop a facility which could harness the bio-gas generated by their waste products and keep it out of landfill. “At the moment, the businesses in Albany are trucking their waste all the way to Perth,” she said. “The fact that the Great Southern is so remote and so decentralised — going to landfill cannot be an option anymore. “It will be producer-driven as a way to solve their issues with waste and also maximising the production of gas to use here.” The gas could be used to fuel Albany’s public transport fleet, injected back into the gas grid, converted to hydrogen or produce energy to be sold back into the grid, as well as producing fertiliser, Dr Tessele said. “In Europe, for example, these facilities are even a tourist attraction,” she said. “They are a place that people can visit and they can see the waste being converted from undesirable, smelly things into energy and fertilisers and recycled water. “The idea would be to have a facility that is neat, attractive, that can be visited and then at the same time providing that environmental benefit by treating the waste into something better.” Dr Tessele said more research was needed to determine the scale and potential of waste production before searching for private and Australian Government investment.