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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Energy innovation earns farm income

An Australian led-project to turn 1.4 million tonnes of Chinese pig poo into alternative energy and fertiliser has been hailed in a national science award.
Giant pig waste biogas plant - artist impression
Giant pig waste biogas plant - artist impression
The project, run by the Adelaide-based Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE), Chinese firm HLM Asia PL and Huazhong University of Science and Technology, has developed technology for treating one of the world’s largest and smelliest waste disposal problems.

The technology has been trademarked as pooCARE™. It has been demonstrated in the field and is now being scaled up to treat large volumes of waste from many piggeries.

Prof. Naidu, Managing Director, CRC CARE, says that the demonstration biodigester can:
  • remediate 200 tonnes of piggery waste daily (73,000 tonnes annually)
  • produce 380 cubic metres of biogas daily, worth around A$41,000 a year as a heating fuel
  • produce 5,600 tonnes of fertiliser worth A$550,000 per year.
CRC CARE has also been working with the pork industry in Australia, including the Pork CRC, to transfer the biodigester technology from China to farms in Australia. This will enable Australian piggeries to gain a new income stream from their waste, which will help support farm operations, grow algae and produce biochar to provide soil nutrients, and increase the sequestration of carbon in soil.

“Pig poo might seem like simple stuff, but it creates a very complex set of environmental problems, which I am pleased to say the CRC CARE/China team has managed to overcome with some lateral thinking and sound, practical, affordable technologies,” he says.

The project involved collaborations with a number of Australian and Chinese small to medium enterprises and its technology is likely to be taken up internationally in countries such as India, as well as in Australia and China.

More information:

Prof. Ravi Naidu, Managing Director, CRC CARE, +61 (0)8 8302 5041 or 0407 720 257
Adam Barclay, Communication Manager, CRC CARE, +61 (0)8 8302 3925 or +61 429 779 228