Renewable Energy Future for an Australian City Reality or Pipe Dream

  • YEAR
    Herron, Murray
    Dewsbury, Mark
    Roös, Phil
    2021 Symposium Abstracts
    Conference Papers


The goal of this research is to increase awareness of various benefits of using municipal solid wastes as Anaerobic Digestion (AD) inputs to produce renewable energy in the city of Geelong. The results of this research will provide useful guidance to policy makers, the public, energy investors, food waste generators, and businesses that are specialized in Anaerobic Digestion (AD) applications.

The analysis and tools developed will allow waste planners, haulers, entrepreneurs, and others to obtain many combinations of information about commercially generated organic wastes in the city of Geelong. This will facilitate decision making about how to best target wastes for collection, which waste generators to target, how to structure collection routes and infrastructure, and where to site AD systems.

This paper outlines: the development of a geo-spatial database to identify and locate concentrated organic waste resources in Geelong; the design and development of a software tool to help quantify the production of food waste (especially food processing waste / municipal organic waste), and the development of an economic model to simulate the costs and benefits of on-farm and centralised co-digestion systems and or specific built facilities.

To better understand the future residential, commercial and industrial growth patterns in the greater Geelong area and their corresponding impacts on the regional environment a residential, commercial and industrial GIS build-out was undertaken. The build-out inputs allowed for a simulation of a projected number, location and appearance of buildings based on land use or zoning information. The build-out analysis was performed using CommunityViz, a GIS planning and simulation software package. The software allows the user to set density assumptions in dwelling units per acre, (the software is based upon US acres, but data can be easily calibrated to the metric Hectare), minimum lot size or floor area ratio. While there are default values, users can also assign design assumptions, including layout efficiency, building offsets, development constraints, layout patterns and building types. The results of build-out include indicator charts summarizing building counts or impacts, point shape files depicting building locations with attributes, and real time visualizations of the buildings in context within the community.

To better understand the Geelong municipal waste profile three new waste indicators were developed. The indicators were for municipal solid waste, organic waste and recyclable waste.

Results from the residential bin audit, showed the number of households, the mean household waste generation per kilogram, per week, and an extrapolated yearly council wide waste totals for total waste organic waste and recycled waste. The resultant data was available at a mesh block level, (XXm2). The quantities of calculated waste and waste types was then able to be cross matched with AD system types and likely business case scenarios.

This first exploration of GIS use to establish current and future waste profiles for Geelong showed positive results and the potential of the system. The system has the potential to visualize commercial, industrial, construction and demolition waste streams. This visualization feature, coupled with the buildout provisions could conceptualize future waste streams. The next stage of the research will be applying international methods to explore the financial feasibility of AD systems for renewable energy generation.


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