Australian papermaker Visy seeking federal funding for AU$300M, 75-MW WTE project that would process MSW into pellets to generate electricity; proposed sites include Tumut and Sydney in New South Wales, Brisbane in Queensland

LOS ANGELES , November 30, 2011 () – Melbourne, Australia-based papermaker Visy Industries Ltd. is requesting federal funding for a AU$300-million (US$307.9 million) waste-to-energy (WTE) project it proposes in Australia, reported Waste Management World on Nov. 29.

The project would include a $100-million mechanical biological treatment facility to convert municipal solid waste (MSW) into waste pellets to fuel a $200-million plant that would generate 75 megawatts of electricity, according to The Australian, Waste Management World reported.

The project is a first of its kind and would be “of national importance,” Anthony Pratt, executive chairman of Visy, told The Australian. Australia does not currently have a WTE plant that processes MSW.

On Visy’s website, Pratt is quoted as saying that he sees clean energy as “a whole new business division for Visy.”

Last weekend, a new clean energy plant official opened at Visy in Melbourne, reported ABC Riverina on Nov. 30.

The company recently officially dedicated a new $50-million biomass power plant that converts manufacturing waste into energy used to power papermaking at its Coolaroo, Victoria, pulp and paper mill, reported Waste Management World.

Tumut in New South Wales has been proposed by Visy as a site for a $100-million clean energy plant, which the company announced in June when it officially opened its second pulp and paper mill there, ABC Riverina reported on abc.net.au.

However, Visy is also determining the benefits of siting the plant in Sydney, New South Wales, or in Brisbane, Queensland, according to company spokesperson Tony Gray. A decision is expected by next year.

Gray said that since the project was announced, MSW is being considered to feed the plant in addition to wood waste and recycling scraps, which opened up consideration of locating the operation near city garbage tips, reported ABC Riverina.

However, Tumut is still a viable option because of its major power needs, said Gray, noting that Visy’s expansion at its Tumut site increased its electricity consumption, making a WTE plant there “very economically attractive.”

Tumut Shire Mayor John Larter was confident that Visy would “honor” a commitment it already made when it announced it would build the WTE project in Tumut in collaboration with Premier O’Farrell, reported ABC Riverina.

The primary sources of this article are ABC Riverina, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, on Nov. 30, 2011, and Waste Management World, Essex, England, on Nov. 29, 2011.


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