Bioenergy involves efficiently extracting considerable quantities of clean, low-emission electricity from waste.

Common sources of bioenergy are:

  • sugar cane residues (also known as bagasse)
  • landfill gas (the methane produced by landfills)
  • agricultural crop and livestock waste
  • household garbage
  • sewage gas
  • wood waste
  • black liquor (a by-product of the paper-making process)

In Australia, the sector currently generates approximately 3200 GWh per annum. This equates to 1.3 per cent of total electricity generation, and 9.1 per cent of total clean energy generation.

Bioenergy generators tend to be smaller than hydro plants and wind farms.

Bioenergy in Australia: 2015 in focus

Lucas Heights 2 landfill gas power station

Sugar cane waste, or bagasse, is the most common form of Australian bioenergy generation, and is used to simultaneously produce both electricity and heat in many parts of the country.

Other common sources of fuel for bioenergy operations include landfill gas, sewage gas, agricultural waste and wood waste. Landfill gas is among the lowest cost of all energy sources.

Bionenergy projects in Australia

For details on the Bioenergy projects commissioned in 2015 and the largest Bionenergy projects in Australia, you can download the Clean Energy Australia report.

The future of bioenergy

Several projects will be constructed in 2016, including a 700 kW digester at Mindarra north of Perth by Quantum Power Limited, which will produce power from biogas created by piggery manure.

Yarra Valley Water is developing a 1 MW biogas plant at Wollert, north of Melbourne. About 100 tonnes of waste will be trucked to the facility from markets and food manufacturing operations each day, producing biogas which will be used to generate electricity. Construction is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Sources:

  • Clean Energy Australia Report 2015