Global Water & Energy | A Member of the Global Water Engineering Group of Companies

GWE’s ​biogas in a ​balloon ​continuous to ​boost both ​environmental ​and business ​performance at ​NH Foods ​Australia ​facility ​


A far-sighted ​green energy ​initiative made ​by the leading ​meat processor ​NH Foods ​Australia at ​their Oakey ​Beef Exports ​facility, is ​paying handsome ​dividends in ​terms of ​cleaner ​wastewater ​effluent, as ​well as a ​reduced carbon ​footprint and ​lower energy ​costs.

The Global ​Water & Energy (​GWE) COHRAL™​ (Covered High-​Rate Anaerobic ​Lagoon) system ​was installed ​at Oakey by ​Australian ​environmental ​engineering and ​green energy ​authority CST ​Wastewater ​Solutions, ​which recently ​inspected the ​plant, as it ​approaches ​its landmark ​fifth year of ​service in ​southern ​Queensland.

CST found ​that the clean, ​compact, and ​robust plant is ​in outstanding ​condition, ​having required ​only routine ​maintenance ​over that time, ​as it ​continuously ​produces 3000-​4000 m3 of ​biogas a day, ​depending on ​plant ​throughput. ​

NH Foods ​– proof ​that profitability ​and sustainable ​development go ​hand in hand

The GWE ​anaerobic ​digestion plant ​produces green ​energy in the ​form of biogas ​from Oakey Beef ​Export’s ​wastewater ​streams, ​replacing ​millions of ​dollars’ ​worth of ​natural gas ​over its ​operating life, ​in Queensland’​s Darling Downs ​region. ​

The generated ​biogas is ​directly used ​in the ​plant’s ​existing boiler.​ This leads to ​a reduction in ​fossil fuel use ​and sharpened ​cost-efficiencies ​at a time they ​are most needed,​ due to the ​current ​Australia-wide ​drought. ​

Instead of ​effluent being ​managed in the ​energy-​intensive and ​space-consuming ​aerated lagoons ​used by many ​foods and ​beverage ​businesses ​– with ​all of their ​associated ​environmental, ​OH&S hazards, ​water and odor ​issues – ​waste at Oakey ​is converted to ​biogas by a ​clean, green ​and reliable ​anaerobic ​digestion ​process. ​

With a wide ​range of ​various ​anaerobic ​technologies in ​the portfolio, ​GWE is capable ​of providing ​custom biogas-​generating ​plant to many ​food an ​beverage ​processing ​plants ​generating ​waste streams ​high in organic ​content. ​

Benefits of ​COHRAL™ ​application ​

The GWE ​COHRAL™ ​plant involved, ​occupies just ​half the ​footprint of ​comparable ​covered ​anaerobic ​lagoons and ​much smaller ​space than that ​required by ​typical energy-​hungry and ​often-odorous, ​open aerated ​lagoons that ​are in service ​in similar ​applications ​globally. ​

The necessary ​pretreatment ​before the ​COHRAL™  system ​also leads to ​superior ​recoveries of ​valuable ​protein and ​fats which ​would typically ​end up in the ​wastewater. ​

This could be ​classified as ​an indirect ​benefit to the ​bottom line, as ​well as ​increasing ​treatment ​system ​reliability by ​isolating such ​problematic ​waste from the ​high-performance ​wastewater ​treatment plant ​(WWTP).   ​

By transforming ​a wastewater ​treatment and ​disposal ​problem into an ​ongoing ​productive ​asset, the ​plant has ​achieved a rare ​business and ​environmental ​ideal of ​overall cleaner,​ greener ​factory ​performance, ​via stable, ​predictable ​waste treatment ​and profitable ​supplies of ​biogas. ​

“The ​wind doesn’​t need to blow, ​and the sun ​doesn’t ​need to shine, ​to produce this ​green energy ​– which ​gives it both ​advantages over,​ as well as ​complementing ​the many ​excellent solar ​and wind energy ​systems suited ​to other ​projects. ​Ultimately, the ​plant pays for ​itself with ​biogas then go ​on to produce ​virtually free ​energy for many ​years after ​that,” ​said Mr. ​Bambridge. ​

“Right ​now, the Oakey ​plant is ​delivering cost-​efficiency ​benefits at a ​time when they ​are most needed,​ when the plant ​has to operate ​efficiently ​while coping ​with herd ​reductions ​resulting from ​the drought. ​Its success is ​clearly ​demonstrating ​the value in ​service of ​anaerobic ​technologies ​that are widely ​applicable to ​the food, ​beverage and ​primary ​processing ​industry.”​

The NP Foods ​plant in Oakey ​is designed to ​produce biogas (​primarily ​methane) which ​is stored for ​use in a ​6000m3 ​capacity, ​flexible, PVC-​coated ​polyester ​storage balloon ​from which it ​is drawn to ​fuel the boiler,​ as needed.​  ​

The WWTP ​plant ​simultaneously ​delivers high ​quality treated ​wastewater by ​biologically ​removing ​organic content,​ ensuring ​minimal impact ​on nearby ​waters and the ​environment ​generally. ​

The GWE ​technology ​involved ​removes 80-90 ​percent of the ​organic ​contaminations, ​minimizing the ​need for final ​polishing. Gas-tight ​construction of ​the treatment ​plant maximizes ​biogas capture, ​ensuring no ​methane escapes ​into the ​atmosphere, ​also contributing ​to the ​reduction of ​odors from the ​overall WWTP. ​

The clean ​operating ​environment of ​the COHRALTM ​plant and its ​near garden-​like area show ​NH Group ​dedication for ​safety and ​hygiene at ​every stage of ​their ​production, ​even disposal ​of post-production ​sewage. ​  

“Oakey ​Beef Exports is ​one of the most ​modern meat ​works in ​Australia and ​one of the ​country’s ​largest beef ​export plants. ​Operating in a ​global market, ​as a premium ​exporter to 34 ​countries, ​means its ​manufacturing ​processes need ​to be ​respectful, ​sustainable and ​efficient,​” says Mr.​ Bambridge. ​

The GWE ​COHRAL™ ​technology at ​Oakey is ​another ​excellent ​example of the ​widely-proven ​GWE anaerobic ​technologies ​used in more ​than 400 plants ​worldwide in a ​wide variety of ​industries. ​

Contact GWE today to know ​more how you ​can benefit ​from the ​application of ​anaerobic ​industrial ​wastewater ​treatment ​technologies. ​

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