Oakey Beef will extract green energy biogas (methane) from its waste water streams to replace natural gas currently consumed at the abattoir.
The 6000m3 capacity storage tank will collect biogas produced by the new Global Water Engineering COHRAL Covered High Rate Anaerobic Lagoon at Oakey Beef Exports on Queensland’s Darling Downs.
The 26m high flexible storage tank – one of the world’s largest of its type – features resilient flexible double membrane storage so that gas produced by the COHRAL plant can be safely stored separately from the gas generator.
Use of the separate flexible tank for gas storage provides security against leakage, with gas securely contained in the tank instead of being more loosely contained under lagoon covers.
The Sattler biogas storage design selected for Oakey Beef has been tested and proven over decades and now is an integral feature in the design of modern waste water treatment plants worldwide. They are engineered to be permanently gas-tight with high operational reliability and optimum safety.
“The safe, durable and environmentally harmonious COHRAL technology deployed at Oakey Beef can be widely applied worldwide to food, beverage and agricultural and primary processing plants,” said CST Wastewater Solutions Managing Director, Michael Bambridge, whose company represents the GWE COHRAL technology in Australia and New Zealand.
“Oakey Beef Processing and its owners Nippon Meat Packers have taken a far-sighted initiative that opens the way to cleaner, greener and more profitable industry performance.”
The COHRAL plant is expected to repay its cost of construction inside five years through gas purchase savings amounting to many millions of dollars – then continue to deliver benefits and profitability virtually in perpetuity, said Oakey Beef Exports Pty Ltd General Manager, Pat Gleeson.
In addition to lowering the plant’s dependence on increasingly expensive supplies of natural gas, the Global Water Engineering anaerobic digestion plant will simultaneously reduce the plant’s carbon footprint and produce waste water far cleaner than typical waste lagoons.
COHRAL technology – which is applicable to both livestock and cropping operations – uses concentrated anaerobic bacteria to digest 70 per cent of the organic matter (COD, or Chemical Oxygen demand) in Oakey Beef Exports’ waste water to produce effluent of far high quality than typical open lagoons.
Bambridge said Oakey’s initiative sets an outstanding precedent for agribusiness in Australia because the cost-effective technology can turn an environmental problem into profit by simultaneously enhancing water quality and lowering fuel bills.
“It also helps companies such as Oakey to guard against future price rises in the cost of energy and possible future imposts such as a carbon tax,” Bambridge said.