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Household garbage could run Maryvale mill

Thursday, 06 July 2017
By Print21

Australian Paper’s Maryvale mill in Latrobe Valley

The Federal and Victorian Governments will invest $5 million to study how regular municipal waste can be converted into energy to run Australian Paper’s Maryvale mill in the Latrobe Valley.

If the plan proceeds to construction, a $600 million project could divert 650,000 tonnes of municipal and industrial waste from landfill in south-east Melbourne and Gippsland and convert it into baseload energy at the mill.

Australian Paper will contribute $2.5 million to a $7.5 million feasibility study that is expected to take 12 months to complete.

“It’s very important for us and we’re excited about it,” says Craig Dunn, GM, communications & sustainability at Australian Paper. “We’ve been talking with government departments at all levels over recent months and we’re very pleased to have received funding support. We’re a large industrial user of natural gas and, with rising energy prices, we’re looking to stabilise our energy requirements for the future.”

The study, which begins immediately, will take a mixture of municipal and industrial waste from councils in south-east Melbourne and Gippsland and transport it to the mill, where heat will be applied and the thermal energy will be converted into steam to power the plant.

Similar projects are becoming common in Europe and Japan because of increasing pressure on landfills, says Dunn. “We’re looking to generate sustainable energy to replace our heavy use of natural gas and electricity, and the scheme is also a landfill diversion mechanism that would save significant carbon emissions from waste.”

‘A natural step’: Peter Williams, COO Australian paper

Peter Williams, COO at Australian Paper, says the company is committed to creating sustainable growth. “As one of the largest employers in the Latrobe Valley, we need to continually innovate for a sustainable future. Building on our significant renewable energy platform would be a natural step for our regional operations, reducing our reliance on imported energy and expanding our existing manufacturing footprint.

“Australian Paper greatly appreciates the support of the Federal and Victorian Governments for this major study. Generating energy from municipal waste at Maryvale would help address SE Melbourne’s long term landfill issues, and also create valuable new construction and manufacturing jobs in the Latrobe Valley. A major ‘energy from waste’ facility at Maryvale could be expected to save 500,000 tonnes of CO2e per annum.”

Williams says the project would be a boost for regional paper manufacturing. “With a capital cost of around $600 million, the project would support up to 800 jobs in the construction phase and more than 40 jobs ongoing.”

Broad engagement with the Latrobe Valley will be a key part of the feasibility study and the company has committed to keeping the local community informed of its progress.

Australian Paper, owned by Nippon Paper Industries, is Australia’s largest manufacturer of recycled office paper.








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