BRIGHT SPARK: Dieter Horstmann.
BRIGHT SPARK: Dieter Horstmann.

Entrepreneur has plenty of energy to burn

By Brian Bigg

THE Northern Rivers is about to become the site for Australia's first bio-mass energy plant.

And if Tyagarah entrepreneur Dieter Horstmann's plan is successful, expect to see a lot of marginally profitable food-producing farmers become very profitable energy farmers.

Mr Horstmann is negotiating with a number of companies to raise $2 million needed to build the bio-mass plant on Eagle Farm at Tyagarah. He expects to have the plant up and running in the next two years.

Bio-mass energy plants are becoming increasingly popular in Europe. In the past three years in Germany alone, more than 4000 former food-producing farms have been turned into energy farms.

A bio-mass plant generates electricity from household waste, sometimes green waste and other forms of waste products. Mr Horstmann says the process is popular in crowded Europe because it is anaerobic (no air involved), so there is no bad smell to generate complaints from neighbours.

The energy produced by the plant at Tyagarah will be used to power Eagle Farm, Mr Horstmann's proposed ecological-based village and tourist centre at Tyagarah. The plant is expected to generate 180 kilowatt hours of energy in the first stage, doubling over the course of two years.

"Excess power will be fed back into the grid," he said. "The plant will also recycle waste water which will be used to irrigate crops at Eagle Farm to produce fruit and vegetables."



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