Energy from Waste

Background

For over a decade, the City has delivered all the waste collected from general waste bins to the South Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC). The SMRC processes this material at their Waste Composting Facility to produce a low grade compost suitable for agricultural application that has no commercial value. This activity diverts the organic component (about half) of the waste from landfill and prevents 32,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

The cost of processing this general waste, our recyclables and bulk garden organics collected from the verge at SMRC has increased significantly during that time. Similarly, the costs associated with the maintenance of equipment and the contributions to the SMRC operation became untenable. In May 2016, the Council resolved to provide the SMRC with 12 months’ notice of its intention to withdraw from the SMRC Participant’s Agreement.

To ensure that the other member Councils (Melville, Fremantle and East Fremantle) were not adversely impacted, the City signed a 3-year Waste Supply Agreement to deliver our general waste bin contents to the SMRC. This contact will conclude on June 2020.

In March 2018, a tender was accepted from HZI Australia Pty Ltd for the City to deliver the contents of our general waste bins to their proposed Energy from Waste (EfW) plant. Negotiations to finalise a Waste Supply Agreement with HZI Australia were concluded in November 2018. The waste contract has a 20 year term and is similar to the 20 year contract that HZI has with the East Metropolitan Regional Council (Cities of Swan, Kalamunda, Belmont, Shire of Mundaring). 

It is proposed that the plant will be completed by February 2022. In the period between the completion of the SMRC Waste Supply Agreement in June 2020 and the construction of the HZI plant in early 2022, the City’s waste will be landfilled at Henderson Waste Recovery Park. It is hoped however, that the City’s 21,000 tonnes of general waste will be required and supplied early to the EfW facility for commissioning.

If you have any further queries, contact the City's Waste Education Officer on 9411 3444. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What did the Council actually approve in the Waste Supply Agreement Tender?

The Council resolved to accept a 20 year contract price to deliver the contents of our general waste bins to an EfW facility that will be built by HZI Australia.

What is EfW?

Energy from waste is a process through which the energy within materials is extracted through combustion and converted to electricity. Waste is deposited at an EfW plant, where it is fed through a furnace. The heat captured feeds a high pressure boiler system which produces electricity via a steam-turbine generator unit. This electricity is then fed into the grid.

Energy from waste process diagram


Energy from waste diagram: Showing the 12 step process. 1 - non-recyclable waste is collected, 2 - waste is delivered to a storage area, 3 - waste os loaded into combustion unit, 4 - waste is burned in high temperature incinerator, 5 - water boils to produce steam, 6 - steam turbine generator produces energy, 7 - energy is then fed into grid as electricity, 8 - air quality control system removes pollutants, 9 - fly ash is captured, 10 - steam and cleaned flue gases released, 11 - bottom ash is captured, 12 - bottom and fly ask sent for recycling and disposal.

Why are we taking our waste to EfW?

The City is withdrawing from the SMRC due to the escalating costs. Our current Waste Supply Agreement with the SMRC will finish in 2020. The EfW plant will be completed in February 2022 and the gate rate at this facility is reduced significantly from that at the SMRC.

What waste is going to EfW?

Initially the City will deliver the waste from our general waste bins but later, may also include non-recyclable, combustible waste from Henderson Waste Recovery Park. Our recyclables will continue to be processed by Suez and our garden organics at Henderson Waste Recovery Park.

What are the environmental and health implications of an EfW plant?

Modern EfW facilities have rigorous environmental emission conditions placed upon them.  Any form of combustion, be it petrol in your car or a wood heater, causes chemical reactions within the materials being burnt. These generate compounds, such as dioxins and particles, which if released into the atmosphere can be harmful to human health and the environment if they are not properly controlled. Energy created within these plants is used to operate the air quality control system. This helps to reduce the level of gases and particles that are created in the first place by controlling the gases within the facility's furnace. Then it captures, filters and cleans the gases through a sophisticated flue gas treatment process.What remains are tiny quantities of compounds that are well within the limits set by the Australian Government and do not impact on health or the environment when released into the atmosphere. Emissions from the waste to energy facility are monitored by continuous emissions monitoring systems or CEMS.  This ensures the plant always operates within its licence parameters. 


The HZI East Rockingham Project has undergone an independent Human Health Risk Assessment by the WA EPA. The positive results of the assessment were considered by the EPA when they recommended the project for environmental approval.

The compounds that are trapped by the Air Pollution Control (APC) System create a residue known as fly ash. Fly ash is classed as hazardous waste due to the high alkaline content of lime that is used as part of the cleaning process. The APC residues must be disposed of in a suitably licensed hazardous waste treatment facility. There may be a suitable site at the East Metropolitan Regional Council or a new Hazardous Waste Facility planned in the Goldfields depending on the chemical composition of the fly ash.
 
For more information, please visit for HZI’s website.

Will this cost me more in my rates?

The City has chosen EfW to reduce the costs of processing the contents of our general waste bins. This is a strategic initiative to ensure efficiency in waste management and to minimise processing costs. As a customer of HZI, the City has an agreed disposal price for 20 years (subject to CPI variations only) which means costs are fixed in the long term and economic risks are low. Unlike the City’s previous arrangement with the SMRC, the EfW consortium is solely responsible for maintenance and ongoing operational costs of their facility.

What are the by-products of EfW and are they hazardous?

The by-products are bottom ash from the EfW process which has been recycled in other countries as roadbase or similar products. The fly ash from the emission equipment may require a “hazardous waste” location for disposal until approval is given to use this product for construction aggregate for infrastructure projects or other similar purposes.

Where is the EfW plant?

The HZI Australia consortium have a site in Office Road East Rockingham which is 3 kilometres north-east of Rockingham in the Rockingham Industrial Zone.

HZI plant layout

Final Plant layout. Showing in the layout are the weigh bridges, flue gas treatment, the turbine hall and ACC. There is a Waste reception area, the combustion line and boiler, the area for bottom ash treatment process and storage/maturation and the administration and visitor centre.

Will this mean will we need to produce more waste to feed the plant?

The arrangement the City has with HZI Australia is only to deliver processible waste and the City is not bound to the quality or quantity of the waste stream delivered. It is the City’s intention to only deliver general waste to EfW which cannot be efficiently and effectively recycled or otherwise recovered. It is essential that residents effectively separate their waste in the home, to ensure that recyclable materials are not placed in the general waste bin.  

Why do we prefer EfW to landfill?

The City’s Sustainable Waste Management Hierarchy, consistent with national and state level hierarchies, determines that landfilling waste is the least favourable method of disposal, as any value from the materials is permanently unrecoverable. EfW allows the energy within materials to be captured and converted to electricity. Bottom ash produced during this process may also be recycled.

Sustainable Waste Management Hierarchy Diagram


The City’s Sustainable Waste Management Hierarchy diagram: top to bottom: Prevent - avoidance of waste generation (Resource conservation), Reduce- Maximuse conversation of resources (Resource conservation), Recover + Reuse - Recover + Reusing Materials (resource recovery), Recycle - Recycling and reprocessing materials (resource recovery), Energy From waste - Biomass + incineration(resource loss), Landfill (resource loss)
 

Will this cost me more in my rates?

The City has chosen EfW to reduce the costs of processing the contents of our general waste bins. This is a strategic initiative to ensure efficiency in waste management and to minimise processing costs. As a customer of HZI, the City has an agreed disposal price for 20 years (subject to CPI variations only) which means costs are fixed in the long term and economic risks are low. Unlike the City’s previous arrangement with the SMRC, the EfW consortium is solely responsible for maintenance and ongoing operational costs of their facility.

How will recyclables be recovered prior to deliver to the EfW plant?

The entire contents of the general waste bin will be delivered directly to EfW. This is why it’s important that residents ensure that any recyclable materials are separated into their dedicated bin. The City is undertaking a major waste education program to help residents use their bins correctly to minimise any recoverable materials from being sent to EfW. Bottom ash, steel and sand will be recovered through the EfW process.

What are the benefits to the City?

There are significant economic benefits to the City from reduced processing costs. Material disposed of at landfill attracts an ever-increasing landfill levy rate, which is not applicable to EfW. The State Government has determined that no further landfills will be approved on the Swan Coastal Plain. When existing landfills are at capacity, the City would have to transport their general waste to regional or inland rural areas, which will be costly and increase the City’s transport carbon emissions. The EfW process is also environmentally favourable to landfill in that valuable materials are recovered for energy production. There is also potential for the City to purchase the electricity produced by processing the City’s waste.

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Address

9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

Po Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

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