ARENA backs study on converting household organics waste to renewable energy

Image credit: City of Logan

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has awarded the Logan City Council a $291,785 grant to investigate the potential of producing renewable energy from food and garden waste. 

The funding will support a $648,411 feasibility study that will look into diverting food and green organics (FOGO) waste from households to produce biomethane, biochar, and fertiliser prill at the Loganholme Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

In 2021, the Logan City Council launched an opt-in green waste collection service for garden waste. The initiative now services over 20,000 households. 

The results of the study could result in the introduction of a broader FOGO waste collection service in the coming years, ARENA said in a news release

The project will be funded under ARENA’s Industrial Energy Transformation Studies program, a $43 million program launched in 2022 to support feasibility and engineering studies, with a particular focus on agriculture, mining, manufacturing, water supply, water services, and data centre sectors. 

The Logan City Council previously secured $6.2 million from ARENA to support a gasification facility at the wastewater treatment plant. The facility has been operational since 2022 and uses biosolids from the plant to produce renewable energy and biochar, which can be used with liquid from FOGO waste to produce fertiliser prill. 

“Household food and organics waste can be a valuable source of bioenergy, too much of which is currently going to waste. Logan City Council’s feasibility study will look at how this can be captured, whilst reducing harmful emissions from household waste,” said ARENA CEO Darren Miller. 

“This is the first of many such studies expected to be funded under IETS. Industry faces a pressing emissions reduction challenge that this program hopes to assist with.”

The feasibility study is expected to be completed in 2024, with the final report to be posted on ARENA’s Knowledge Bank