Biochar is silver lining from our sewage

City Infrastructure Chair Councillor Teresa Lane with a handful of biochar.
City Infrastructure Chair Councillor Teresa Lane with a handful of biochar.

Logan City Council’s Logan Water is looking for parties interested in buying commercial quantities of a revolutionary substance developed from the city’s sewage.

Biochar is a charcoal-like material that is produced when sewage sludge is treated at high temperatures in a low oxygen environment.

It can be used for a variety of purposes ranging from agriculture to construction.

The process of making biochar was perfected at the Loganholme Wastewater Treatment Plant (LWWTP) during trials of biosolids gasification in 2020.

City Infrastructure Chair Councillor Teresa Lane said biochar could create a sustainable revenue stream for Council, while benefitting industry and the environment.

“It has many uses for different industries so I’m sure the tender process will attract plenty of interest,” Cr Lane said.

Biosolids gasification dramatically reduces Council’s carbon emissions and destroys harmful chemicals such as micro-plastics, which are present in biosolids.

The resulting biochar is sterile, odourless and high in nutrients.

A permanent biosolids gasification facility is now being constructed at LWWTP and is expected to come online by the middle of next year.

Logan Water’s Group Manager, Mike Basterfield said the $28m project was made possible by a $6 million grant from the Australian Government’s renewable energy agency ARENA.

“Council currently sends six truckloads of treated waste to the Darling Downs to be used as a soil conditioner every day,” he said.

“The gasification process will reduce the volume of biosolids by 90 per cent, cutting carbon dioxide emission by 4800 tonnes per year.”

Tender documents are available at https://www.tenderlink.com/lcc/. Tenders close at 2pm on November 5, 2021.

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