Technology options

Where are we now?

The EMRC will be issuing a request for tender for a Resource Recovery Facility to treat the regions municipal waste. Environmental approval has been received for either gasification technology or anaerobic digestion technology at Red Hill Waste Management Facility. The tender will be based on either a Design Build Operate Maintain (DBOM) contract model, where the EMRC owns the facility, or a Waste Supply Agreement (WSA) where the contractor owns the facility. Under the DBOM contract model, the EMRC contracts out the operation and maintenance of the facility and can only use gasification technology or anaerobic digestion technology.

Under the WSA contract model, the contractor owns and operates the facility. With this model the facility can be located at Red Hill if the contractor is using gasification technology or anaerobic digestion technology or if they obtain environmental approval for another technology to be used. Alternatively, a tenderer under the WSA model could build a waste treatment facility elsewhere using a technology of their choice. Furthermore, under a WSA contract model, the facility could be used to treat waste from other local governments.

This gives the EMRC a broad choice to select the best value outcome for the member Councils and Perth's eastern region.

Environmental Approval

The Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) has been granted environmental approval to implement a Resource Recovery Facility at Red Hill Waste Management Facility using either anaerobic digestion technology or gasification. This follows a formal assessment process which included a Public Environmental Review (PER) document to assess the potential environmental and health impacts of the proposed Resource Recovery Facility and an eight week public comment period from 23 July 2012 to 17 September 2012. Further information, including a downloadable version of the PER, can be found at the Public Environmental Review webpage.

Under the DBOM contract model, a final decision on the chosen technology will be made at the conclusion of the tender process in 2017, but would include only one of the two technology options approved under this review.

Health and safety: the most important priority

The health of the community and the environment are of utmost priority for EMRC and its member councils. The EMRC has undertaken substantial research into the environmental and health implications for operating a resource recovery facility. The facility will operate to strict environmental and health standards.

The Public Environmental Review (PER) for the resource recovery facility at Red Hill assessed air (including dioxins), noise, odour and other emissions to the atmosphere which could potentially impact on the community adjacent to the proposed resource recovery facility at Red Hill. The results from this assessment indicate that with appropriate design and management, the RRF will comply with health and environmental standards.

Background

Please click on any of the links below or scroll down for further information.

Expressions of interest process

In May 2009, the EMRC advertised for Expressions of Interest (EOI) in providing technology options for the Resource Recovery Project. The purpose of this process was to inform EMRC Council about the different technologies to guide their decision making process. It would also enable EMRC to gather important information, including cost and environmental performance, to assist the EMRC to select a preferred site, ownership model and waste collection system for the RRF. This process was used to inform the environmental approval process and gain sufficient information for Council to decide on preferred technology options. In 2013 this EOI process was cancelled due to delays and uncertainty around the local government reform process.

Which technologies were under consideration for the EOI - and why?

Tenderers were invited to submit expressions of interest for one or more of five technology options: mechanical biological treatment - anaerobic digestion, and/or Energy from Waste (EfW) - gasification, pyrolysis, combustion, plasma or combinations thereof (all thermal technologies).

EMRC wanted to gain information about all of these technology options in considering what the preferred technology options were for the proposed facility at Red Hill Waste Management Facility. The initial list of technology options included other options such as aerobic composting which were subsequently excluded.

What are thermal technologies?

Thermal technologies can be defined as processes that use heat to convert municipal waste into energy and ash or, using controlled conditions, into energy rich fuels and ash or char. Combustion is an example of the former and gasification and pyrolysis, also known as thermal conversion technologies, are examples of the latter.

The energy rich fuels made during gasification and pyrolysis are intermediate products which offer the potential to make a range of chemicals and vehicle fuels or they can be converted to energy.

What are mechanical biological treatment technologies (MBT's)?

A group of RRF technologies that processes the waste stream by mechanically removing some of the materials and biologically treating the organic component.

What is the diversion rate of waste to landfill using these technologies?

Anaerobic digestion technology is capable of diverting about 70% of the waste stream from landfill. Gasification technology is capable of diverting around 90% of the waste stream from landfill.

Source: Cardno (WA) 2010

Community research

In parallel with the EOI process, the EMRC undertook community research from May to July 2009. The objective of the research was to take a snapshot of community views on possible site and technology options and provide this feedback to Council where it could be taken into account in their decision making process. The research involved community surveys and focus groups. There was also consultation with member Councils. Please click here for the results of the research.

Council recommendations

In August 2011, Council resolved to reduce the technology options for the Resource Recovery Facility to anaerobic digestion and gasification, eliminating pyrolysis and combustion as possible options. Environmental approval for such a facility at Red Hill was obtained. In September 2013, the Expressions of Interest process was cancelled due to delays and other factors.

In February 2016, Council resolved to proceed with the tender process for the Resource Recovery Facility using the two contract models referred to above. It was resolved that:

  1. Council approve proceeding with preparations for the Resource Recovery Facility (RRF) tender process using both Design Build Operate and Maintain (DBOM) and Waste Supply Agreement (WSA) contract model options.
  2. Council approve the RRF technology options under a DBOM contract model are anaerobic digestion with or without a mechanical sorting facility and gasification at the approved location at Red Hill Waste Management Facility.
  3. Council approve the RRF technology options under a WSA contract model to be determined by the tenderer.
  4. Council approve the siting options under a WSA to include the approved location at Red Hill Waste Management Facility together with possible alternative locations nominated by the tenderers.
  5. Council approve the financing options be developed to underpin the DBOM contract model.
  6. Council approve a single phased Request for Tender (RFT) procurement process be undertaken.
  7. Council approve a community engagement strategy be prepared prior to the commencement of the procurement process to be implemented concurrent with that process.
  8. The report and details of the presentation remain confidential and be certified by the Chairman and CEO.

Preferred options for technology

Two technology options under the DBOM contract model are being considered for the RRF. Please click on either of the links below for further information:

Anaerobic digestion

Gasification

How was the successful tender chosen?

A request for tender was issued in August 2016 with two contract models for tenderers to bid on. The Tender process was overseen by a Tender Evaluation Committee and an independent probity auditor.

The tender evaluation criteria included an assessment against the Community Partnership Agreement and various value for money criteria. Inspections of operating plans of acceptable tenderers was completed before the final decision was made.

The Tender Evaluation Committee reported outcomes of the tender process to the Resource Recovery Committee which comprises senior staff and councillors from EMRC's six member Councils.

Bin collection systems and technology options

The bin collection systems evaluated have included:

  • Current two bin system (rubbish and recycling bins)
  • Three bin system [organics bin (food and green waste), recycling bin and residual waste bin]. For results on EMRC's trial of the organics bin, please click here.
  • Single bin system (rubbish and recycling combined)
  • A wet/dry bin system (wet bin for organics, dry bin for recyclables and other rubbish)

In May 2010, Council resolved that a third bin for household organic waste collection be considered in conjunction with anaerobic digestion technology, otherwise a two bin system is recommended for the gasification technology option.

Technology in use world-wide

Both of the technology options being considered are in use in different countries, including Australia. Please view the document below (see 'Download documents' section) for an indication of where the technology options are currently being used.

Download documents

Please click on any of these documents to download them. (Note that the EOI includes combustion and pyrolysis, technologies which are no longer being considered for the Resource Recovery Facility at Red Hill).

Information Sheet - Resource Recovery Products - 2012

Information Sheet - Resource Recovery Proposed Location - 2012

Information Sheet - Resource Recovery Proven Technologies World-Wide - 2012

EOI 2009-10 - Expression of Interest EMRC Resource Recovery Facility