New Zealand is set to build their first large-scale plant that aims to convert food waste into bioenergy. With construction set to begin, the plant is to be housed in Reporoa. The new facility is estimated to remove up to ten thousand tonnes worth of carbon dioxide which is the same as planting 218,400 trees annually.
After the land has been blessed by Ngāti Tahu-Ngati Whaoa, construction is expected to commence. The facility is owned by Ecogas which is a collaboration between Ecostock Supplies Ltd and Pioneer Energy Ltd. The land on which the facility is expected to be built is owned by one of New Zealand’s largest fresh produce suppliers, T&G Fresh.
Andrew Fisher, the director of Ecogas, stated that the facility will help New Zealand deal with 327,000 tonnes of annual food waste that normally goes to landfills across the country. Harnessing that wastage and turning it into bioenergy is not only efficient but puts money back into the pockets of the public.
Not only is the facility addressing the food wastage issue of the country, it aims to power local farmlands, glasshouses, the community and even create jobs throughout the region. The goal is to have the facility operational in 2022 with an estimated initial turnover of 75,000 tonnes of organic waste. This waste will be collected from local businesses and food scrap collections from the side of the road throughout the Northern Island.
Fisher stated that the facility will create enough energy on an annual basis to power 2,500 households in the region as well as producing bio-fertiliser for around 2,000 hectares of farmland. The carbon dioxide and heat that it will also produce will go towards the growth of locally grown tomatoes in the T&G Fresh glasshouses.