A consortium including Veolia and Masdar Tribe are partnering with Opal Australian Paper to develop an energy from waste (EfW) facility adjacent to the existing Maryvale Mill in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.
The Maryvale Mill is Australia’s leading manufacturer of pulp and paper. In addition to its manufacturing activities, Opal also operates two wastepaper recycling plants at the site and is currently the largest user of baseload energy in Victoria.
Energy recovery through the proposed facility is an important source of renewable, sustainable energy and a vital link in the waste management chain.
The Maryvale EfW facility will generate energy from the controlled combustion of non-hazardous residual waste materials – waste that would otherwise go to landfill.
Following combustion, the facility will capture and convert the released heat into steam and electricity, with sophisticated filtering technology ensuring compliance with stringent stack emissions standards.
EfW facilities can provide energy as steam or electricity and can interchange between the two during the plant’s operation, providing improved flexibility and efficiency. Any excess energy would be fed into the Victorian grid.
Community members: Opal has been an integral part of regional Victoria since 1937 and continues to be a proud member of the Gippsland community. Through the engagement and consultation efforts undertaken to date as part of the feasibility study, the community has shown significant interest in the project and what it means for the local area and the local economy.
Community Information Centre
The Creating Energy from Waste Information Centre has relocated to the Hi-Tech Precinct and can be found on the first floor of the Morwell Innovation Centre, 1 Monash Way, Morwell.
The centre is a one-stop-shop to learn about the latest developments on the Maryvale EfW project, how it will reduce landfill and how it aligns to the circular economy principles. The centre provides an opportunity for the community to visit and share feedback.
The displays and fact sheets have been refreshed and now include additional information on an innovative component of the project – bottom ash recycling.
What are the benefits of energy from waste?
Less waste; more energy
The residual waste from local Victorian homes and businesses will be put to good use by converting it to energy to power Victoria’s manufacturing industry.
Fewer fossil fuels; more energy recovery
The facility will assist in the net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through diverting the amount of waste that goes to landfill, while replacing fossil fuels as an energy source. By using EfW as an energy source, the paper mill will be more reliant on renewable energy, rather than using fossil fuel-based electricity and natural gas.
Less waste to landfill; more sustainable
Converting residual waste to energy means less waste will be sent to landfill. Energy recovery is also a preferable method of managing waste than landfill as it is further up the waste hierarchy.
Fewer emissions; more efficient
The facility will reduce the creation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By diverting waste from landfill and using it to create energy, the facility will reduce GHG emissions by 270,000T per annum, which is the equivalent of removing 50,000 cars off the road every year.
Less impact on people and the planet
The facility will utilise advanced filtering technology to ensure compliance with stringent EPA stack emissions standards. It will deliver environmental best practice based on compliance with stringent European Union Industrial Emissions Directive (IED 2010/75/ EU) as adopted by the Victorian EPA.
More local jobs and support for local manufacturing industry
This project will solidify Opal’s presence in the Maryvale region and assist in supporting 850 local jobs at the paper mill. It will also create hundreds of local jobs related to the project’s construction, operations and logistics.
Maryvale frequently asked questions
How does energy recovery work?
Waste collection vehicles discharge their waste into a bunker where the waste is mixed to ensure an even burn in the furnace. Water sprays and induction fans are used in the reception hall to reduce levels of dust and smell.
The waste is loaded by crane into a feed hopper, then travels down the feed chute into the furnace.
Inside the furnace, a series of rollers move the waste through the furnace where it is dried and burned at temperatures of around 1000°C.
Burning waste in the furnace creates hot flue gases which travel through a boiler transferring heat to water that runs through the boiler pipes.
The hot water creates steam. The steam drives a turbine which then generates electricity.
Ash created by burning the waste drops into a quench tank, then along a conveyor. Ferrous and non ferrous metals are separated within the ash treatment plant and the remaining product can be used in the construction industry.
The gases from the burned waste are thoroughly cleaned to neutralise acid gases and remove dioxins and heavy metals. The gases are then passed through a fine fabric filter to capture particles before being released through a chimney, which is continuously monitored.
The Maryvale Mill currently purchases approximately six million GJ of natural gas (approximately 8% of Victoria’s total industrial consumption) and 30 MWe of electricity from the National Electricity Market (NEM). Despite considerable investment and effort in recent years to improve its energy efficiency, substantial increases in the market price of both natural gas and NEM-supplied electricity have put significant pressure on the Maryvale Mill’s ability to operate competitively.
The site is located with suitable buffers from residential neighbourhoods. The Latrobe Valley also provides access to a high amount of skilled labour with energy generation experience.
Will the facility operate under environmental best practice?
The proposed EfW facility has been designed with modern technology and best practice environmental techniques. These include:
The adoption of environmental and sustainability principles and the use of multicriteria assessments during the optioneering selection phase for key processes.
Conducting a boiler technology study, which concluded that moving grate technology was clearly the most technologically, environmentally and commercially proven technology for treating household and commercial waste and would offer the lowest technical and environmental risk for this project’s circumstances.
Co-location with the existing Maryvale Mill, which has an existing and adequate buffer zone in place, yields superior energy efficiency (approximately 58%) due to the supply of combined heat and power (CHP) over a standalone electricity generator (approximately 27%).
Higher order use of wastes according to the waste hierarchy moving from “Disposal” to “Recovery of energy” and “Recycling” for metals and ash generated from the process.
Compliance with stringent European Union Industrial Emissions Directive (IED 2010/75/ EU) as adopted by the Victorian EPA.
Will the EfW facility adversely impact air quality?
An air quality impact assessment was conducted in accordance with EPA requirements (State Environmental Protection Policy for Air Quality Management – “SEPP AQM”) and European Union Industrial Emissions Directive 2010/75/ EU (“IED”). The computational model used for the assessment was the EPA’s preferred model AERMOD and the methodology was discussed and agreed with the EPA prior to commencement.
The assessment demonstrated that emissions from the EfW facility will meet all SEPP (AQM) and IED stack emission limits. The assessment also demonstrated that emissions of the above substances from the facility will not cause exceedances of SEPP (AQM) ground level concentration (GLC) limits (known as ‘Design Criteria’ in SEPP (AQM)), with the exception of PM2.5.
For PM2.5, the assessment demonstrated that the infrequent cause of GLC exceedances was due to occasional high background levels of PM2.5 and not due to the facility’s emissions.
To further demonstrate that the EfW facility was not the cause of PM2.5 exceedances, modelling was conducted on a range of PM2.5 emission scenarios, including:
- Zero emissions from the facility (i.e. only background air quality) PM2.5 emissions at the maximum stack emissions limit allowed by the IED (30 mg/m3)
- PM2.5 emissions at a representative stack emissions value which is an average of UK EfW Plants (0.02 mg/m3)
Will the EfW facility be noisy?
The applicable EPA guideline is ‘Noise for Industry in Regional Victoria’ (NIRV). A noise assessment was conducted in accordance with the guideline, which included the calculation of noise limits and design targets.
The assessment found that the noise contribution from the proposed EfW facility would meet EPA limits at receptors, particularly the nearest residential receptors to the north, south, east and west of the site.
During the detailed design phase, there will be further opportunities to consider additional mitigation measures to reduce potential noise impacts. This would include dominant noise sources, including:
Noise from the boiler house
Water cooled condensers (WCCs)
Train and truck noise
How will water be managed on site?
The wastewater from the facility would be generally benign, consisting of particles, salt and chlorine. All liquid wastewater would flow to the existing mill wastewater treatment systems. The facility’s contribution to the wastewater treatment system compared to the existing mill’s operations would be so small that the impact would be negligible.
The existing treatment system would cope adequately with the wastewater flows so that there will be no impact on the existing (under EPA licence) discharge to the Latrobe River. The EfW flows and concentrations of wastewater would be less than 1% of the existing mill flows. For example, the chlorine levels in the EfW facility wastewater would be less than an eighth of what is in a normal public swimming pool.
As the facility would not discharge process water or contaminated storm water to any surface waters, it has been determined that the project complies with the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria) 2003 (SEPP (WoV)) requirements for surface water.
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