IN a world first for the meat industry Bindaree Beef will be constructing a $43 million biogas system to reduce carbon emissions.
The abattoir in Inverell, NSW is run by the McDonald family and burns 7200 tonnes of coal each year. Running a biogas system will reduce their carbon emission by 95 per cent and will cut the utility cost of processing each head of cattle by more than a third.
The project involves installing a more energy-efficient rendering plant and directing all organic waste through a digester to produce clean energy from biogas.
Once complete it is expected that Bindaree Beef will no longer be liable to pay the carbon price, which will save the company $2.4 million per year.
Bindaree Beef spokeswoman Kerry Newton said new system was a win-win situation.
“The biogas system will be a win for the environment and it also makes the company more competitive,” Ms Newton said.
“This type of technology has been used in other industries before but this is the first time in the world that it has been used in the meat industry.
“It’s an exciting step forward and we would hope that this opens up doors for others, not just in the meat industry.”
The project is worth $45 million, of which $23 million is Federal Government money as part of the Clean Energy fund.
The McDonald family have spent $2 million researching and developing the project themselves, rather than looking for a quick fix that would allow them to duck under the carbon price threshold.
Bindaree Beef has been operating since the 1980s and has been at the Inverell site for the past 17 years.
There are 700 staff employed at the business but Ms Newton said the new system would create more job opportunities.
“This exciting new project will secure the jobs of our employees but it also means further jobs will be created down the line,” she said.
An extra production shift would create more than 200 new jobs at the company.
Independent MP Tony Windsor has spent the past two years working with the family on the project and said the biogas system will make the business more intentionally competitive.
“Harnessing waste to generate clean energy will allow Bindaree Beef to replace a coal-fired boiler and cut electricity consumption by up to half,” Mr Windsor said.
“An on-site pilot plant is already operating, proving the concept works.
“The digester will also produce organic fertiliser for sale and high quality recycled water for irrigation.”
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