Application lodged for Ballina's world first biochar plant
BALLINA'S world-first biochar plant is another step closer, with a development application now lodged for the $8.5 million facility.
The facility will use a slow-pyrolysis process to convert organic waste - such as food waste, green waste, timber and biosolids - into biochar and renewable energy.
It has been made possible with a $4.25 million grant from the Federal Government that was awarded after strong lobbying from Ballina Shire mayor David Wright.
He said he was pleased to see the development application for the facility had been submitted.
"It is a great idea and I just want this to succeed," he said.
"The technology is out there, but the results are worth it. At least we are still progressing with this project.
"There's nothing else exactly like this anywhere in the world."
The biochar plant will be built at the Ballina waste management centre. The environmental impact statement for the construction and operation of the facility says it will cover an area of 5800sqm, including stockpile, storage areas and processing facilities.
It will be designed to operate continuously and have a feed rate of about two tonnes an hour.
Each year the biochar plant will be able to divert 16,000 tonnes of organic waste from the region's landfills.
It will produce 7000 tonnes of biochar, generate up to 6000MWh of renewable electricity, and prevent 48,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.
The biochar would be sold as a soil conditioner.
The electricity generated will be used on site, and the excess will be sold to the national electricity grid.
It is planned to develop the biochar facility in two stages.
The first six-month stage will not involve electricity generation.
That is to allow monitoring of the synthetic gas generation rates so that a suitably sized engine generator can be used for the production of the renewable energy.