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Kwinana Waste to Energy

The new energy recovery facility, located in the City of Kwinana, is the first of its kind in Australia. It is a sustainable solution to waste disposal that produces electricity and reduces emissions by diverting waste from landfill. This state-of-the-art facility in Kwinana is leading the charge in Australian waste management and energy production.

Kwinana Energy Recovery

  • Generates more than 38MW of electricity
    (Enough to power 55,000 homes)
  • Diverts up to 460,000 tonnes of waste from landfill
  • Reduces CO2 emissions
    (equivalent to taking 85,000 cars off Perth's roads)

    Benefits for the City

    The Kwinana Energy Recovery facility opening marks a significant advancement in waste management, aligning with our Strategic Community Plan and Sustainability Framework. It promises to transform waste management practices not only in Kwinana but across Australia.

    Key benefits include:

    1. Emissions Reduction: A 75% reduction in waste service emissions, leading to a cleaner environment.
    2. Waste Recovery: Nearly 98% waste recovery rate, minimising landfill waste.
    3. Material Recovery Boost: Together with the upcoming 3-bin Garden Organics waste system being introduced in mid-2025, the City anticipates material recovery to be boosted from 19% to 49%.
    4. Cost Effective: Costs are similar to traditional landfill methods, which ensures it is a cost-effective option for local governments.
    5. Environmental Leadership: Kwinana leads in supporting this pioneering project, demonstrating our environmental leadership.
    6. Industrial Hub: Situated in the Kwinana Industrial Area, enhancing its global reputation as an innovation and sustainability hub.
    7. Job Creation: Generates local job opportunities, contributing to community welfare.

    This initiative marks a significant step towards a more sustainable and resilient future, showcasing our dedication to innovative solutions for community improvement.

    How Energy Recovery Works 

    1. Waste collected
    2. Waste arrives at facility
    3. Waste mixing - Mixed by crane to ensure a homogenous waste supply
    4. Energy recovery - Waste enters a boiler for combustion and resultant energy is recovered to create heat
    5. Electricity production - The heat produces steam which powers a turbine and generates electricity
    6. Reuse and recycle - The remnant ash drops into a treatment process where metals are removed for recycling, the ash is then stored for reuse as construction materials
    7. Air quality controls - Gases are treated to remove pollutants. The treated clean air exits the stack and the removed pollutants are stored for disposal or reuse

    Frequently Asked Questions 

    What is energy recovery?

    Energy recovery is a proven, environmentally friendly way of diverting waste from landfill, creating electricity from the process.

    Waste is thermally treated with resultant energy recovered to create heat. The heat energy is converted to steam energy which powers a turbine and generates electricity.

    Waste to energy is successfully used around the world with more than 520 facilities operating in Europe, including in cities like Copenhagen and Paris.

    What happens to the waste?

    When waste arrives at the facility, it is first inspected for compliance with the environmental permit and suitability for combustion in the plant then mixed by a crane to ensure a homogeneous waste supply. The waste then enters a boiler for combustion and resultant energy is recovered to create heat. The heat energy is converted to steam energy which powers a turbine and generates electricity.

    Remnant ash produced during this process is then treated, with the metals removed for recycling and re-use. Any emissions are also treated to remove pollutants which are stored for disposal or re-use.

    How is waste to energy good for the environment?

    The energy recovery process reduces carbon emissions in three ways:

    1. Reduces landfill: Less landfill means less greenhouse gases, including methane, being released into the atmosphere from decomposing waste.
    2. Generates green energy: Each tonne of waste produces about 700 kilowatts-per-hour of electricity which is exported to the power grid. This means less electricity needs to be produced by fossil fuel sources like coal.
    3. Opportunity to recycle: Metal scrap in the waste is reclaimed and reused in the steel industry, and the ash created as a by-product of the combustion process can be used in construction.
    What emissions are produced in the process?

    More than 99.9 per cent of emissions are components of normal air like steam, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. 

    For the very small remainder of emissions, those compounds go through a sophisticated treatment processes which ensures emissions remain well below all relevant standards.

    What ash is produced during this process and what happens to it?

    There are two types of ash that result from the thermal treatment process:

    1. Bottom ash, which is solid residue that is discharged from the bottom of the furnace, and
    2. APCr (Air Pollution Control residue), which is created when the fly ash particles (from the furnace) are treated with lime and activated carbon and are captured in the purification process.

    Bottom ash produced during the energy recovery process is treated, metals are removed for recycling and the remaining residue is re-used for inert road and construction materials.

    Kwinana Energy Recovery are exploring ways to turn APCr into a product that can be used in cement product which would mean it can be recycled. Bottom ash is commonly used in the UK for road aggregate, and APCr can be used in construction.

    Will you process any recyclable or compostable waste?

    Energy recovery is primarily targeted to process non-recyclable or compostable waste. This includes things like soft plastics, nappies, soiled pizza boxes, and wastepaper like napkins.

    Of course, the Energy Recovery facilities fuel source is dependent on what residents put in their residual waste bins, and we support people taking a reduce-reuse-recycle approach to waste.

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