Byron Shire Bioenergy Facility

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A smarter, local waste solution

Byron Shire Council is considering bioenergy as an innovative solution to our region’s organic waste management problem.

We are looking at bioenergy because it will help us achieve zero carbon emissions by 2025 through the creation of a renewable energy source, in alignment with our Net Zero Emissions Strategy.

If successful, the Byron Shire Bioenergy Facility will be the first of its kind in Australia.

Bioenergy can be used to convert local organic green waste into renewable energy and a compost product.

Based on globally-proven technology and successful bioenergy projects in Europe, Canada and the United States.

Proposed location

Council Operational Land, Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant.

Current stage - Feasibility, learning more about bioenergy

  • Detailed assessments and a further business case analysis are now in process.
  • Funding options are also being explored, including Federal grants.

How could bioenergy work in the Byron Shire? Learn more...

Take a look at the supporting information and submit your question using the Q&A tool, or email us.

We will respond via this site (or personally if you’d like your question kept private).

Your questions will help Council make decisions on the next stage of the project.

Supporting info:



A smarter, local waste solution

Byron Shire Council is considering bioenergy as an innovative solution to our region’s organic waste management problem.

We are looking at bioenergy because it will help us achieve zero carbon emissions by 2025 through the creation of a renewable energy source, in alignment with our Net Zero Emissions Strategy.

If successful, the Byron Shire Bioenergy Facility will be the first of its kind in Australia.

Bioenergy can be used to convert local organic green waste into renewable energy and a compost product.

Based on globally-proven technology and successful bioenergy projects in Europe, Canada and the United States.

Proposed location

Council Operational Land, Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant.

Current stage - Feasibility, learning more about bioenergy

  • Detailed assessments and a further business case analysis are now in process.
  • Funding options are also being explored, including Federal grants.

How could bioenergy work in the Byron Shire? Learn more...

Take a look at the supporting information and submit your question using the Q&A tool, or email us.

We will respond via this site (or personally if you’d like your question kept private).

Your questions will help Council make decisions on the next stage of the project.

Supporting info:


What would you like to know about bioenergy or this project? 

The Project Team will respond.

Example questions: 

What can bioenergy be used for?

Why is bioenergy carbon neutral?

Why is bioenergy renewable energy?

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    Costings for build and ongoings? As a rate paying resident of the Byron Shire, it concerns me as to ability to undertake such a ground breaking initiative without incurring huge costs to the shire residents. This last financial year has seen our rates increase by some 20% with little to show for it. Let us not be fooled by all the amazing road works that are taking place at the moment. The Federal Government funding has allowed this to happen- had it not been for Federal funding I doubt we could have afforded all the current work. Before any such scheme is undertaken, a realistic cost to the rate paying residents needs to be furnished, and subsequently how it will then affect our rates. We are entitled to have a vote on such matters, especially if we are footing the bill. And remember, just because all of our properties have increased in value, it means nothing until you sell, but the costs of living have significantly increased as a direct consequence of the 'boom'. I support good initiatives, but not at the cost of driving out residents as it becomes unaffordable to live here.

    Shire resident and ratepayer asked 14 days ago

    Thanks for your comment and interest in this project. Council is considering this renewable energy project with the intention that there is no increase in rates for Byron Shire ratepayers. 

    The estimated cost of the facility is approximately $15-20 million with payback estimated at between 10-20 years, dependent on grant funding. Council is submitting applications for Federal funding and if successful, will partially fund the project from its Sewerage Fund Capital Works Reserve. 

    Council is considering this investment because it offers a secure cash flow that could potentially save ratepayers money in the future (generating long term revenue for Council through a compost product for the agricultural market as well as renewable energy generation), and it replaces existing Council-funded services but offers a longer term, and more environmentally sustainable solution. 

    The feasibility stage of the project will address the business case risks compared to present business-as-usual conditions, and identify any issues to protect Council and its ratepayers. Councillors will consider the preferred option/s for financing and operation of the facility once the feasibility stage is complete.

    Council is inviting the community to build their general awareness and knowledge of bioenergy as a renewable energy source.

    Community consultations and discussions are ongoing. Council wants the community to be able to make informed and considered decisions. Your input into this project will help Council make decisions on the next stage.

    You can stay informed about this project by subscribing for updates. 

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    How do you propose to convert the biogas into electricity? Does it still contain CO2, and will that CO2 be released into the atmosphere when it is burnt? Have you considered the Hazer process which uses bio waste to produce Hydrogen ( which emits zero CO2 when burned) and graphite ( which can be used in batteries)? https://hazergroup.com.au/about/#hazerprocess

    Duncan asked 17 days ago

    Thanks for your question and interest in this project. Dry anaerobic digestion decomposes organic waste in oxygen-free conditions. The organic waste produces carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4).

    The bio-methane is used as fuel to power a combined heat and power engine, which converts the biogas to renewable energy for use at the STP, storage or redistribution. 

    There are very little fugitive emissions since the entire process is contained inside enclosed pressure controlled structures and all gases are collected for appropriate handling.

    The biogas is not released into the atmosphere, so the environment is unharmed. The biogas is contained, collected and converted to renewable energy for using, storing or sending back into the electricity grid.

    The CO2 emitted from the Bioenergy Facility electricity generation is the carbon from the biological decomposition of the organic wastes, and relatively the same amount of CO2 that would be emitted from the biological decomposition of this waste via aerobic composting. 

    The important difference is that the dry anaerobic digestion process produces electricity, whereas large-scale aerobic composting processes consume considerable amounts of grid electricity in order to drive large blowers for aeration.

    Hydrogen processes are at very early stages in their development, and they are not yet economically feasible for this project.

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    Are you proposing to run trucks up Bayshore Drive to the facility, has anyone taken a look at how much traffic is on Bayshore Drive & the condition of that road. How about building a new access from the north of the industrial area, I can’t imagine the residents of Habitat development will be excited about a string of trucks going past all day, keep in mind the residents will be only a couple of hundred meters from the facility, any odours will drift over that area on a northwesterly wind , another chicken processing odour problem ? Overall the project looks good, if these problems can be overcome.

    Steve Medcalf asked 20 days ago

    Thanks for your comment and interest in this project. A detailed traffic impact study would be required prior to development approval. The project will be designed in alignment with the Byron Arts and Industry Estate Precinct Plan.

    Although there may be a slight increase in additional traffic entering the Byron Arts and Industry Estate, there would be less truck movements in the Shire and region overall, compared to the current solution. The project would reduce waste hauling distances and carbon emissions.

    Waste would be delivered to and processed inside a contained facility. Odours are typically not present outside these facilities. Council has inspected 10 facilities overseas and no odours were present outside.

    Overseas facilities were in close proximity to residential areas with no community issues reported with regards to odour.

    Typically, these facilities do not generate loud noise inside or outside the facility. 

    The facility would be contained within the grounds of the Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant and adjacent to the Byron Bay Wetlands.

    Council would consider natural screening solutions, bush regeneration options and any other community suggestions for minimising potential visual impact to neighbours. Read more in the FAQ section https://www.yoursaybyronshire.com.au/byron-shire-bioenergy-facility/widgets/287926/faqs

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    What level of additional traffic movements will be generated on Bayshore Drive and Ewingsdale Road?

    Nanna asked 18 days ago

    Thanks for your comment and interest in this project. A detailed traffic impact study would be required prior to development approval. The project will be designed in alignment with the Byron Arts and Industry Estate Precinct Plan.

    Although there may be a slight increase in additional traffic entering the Byron Arts and Industry Estate, there would be less truck movements in the Shire and region overall, compared to the current solution. The project would reduce waste hauling distances and carbon emissions. Read more in the FAQ section.

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    How can I support this project?? This is such an awesome initiative!!

    Alice asked 19 days ago

    Thanks for your comment and interest in this project. You can stay informed about this project by subscribing on the Your Say Byron Shire webpage. 

    Additionally, keep an eye out for Council’s Project Team at the local fresh food markets and future drop-in sessions at the Cavanbah Centre. Other community activities and opportunities for input will be announced here on the Your Say page also. Thanks!

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    The whole plan sounds wonderful, why would we not do this?

    clarem asked 20 days ago

    Thanks for your interest and comment. You can stay informed about this project by subscribing on the Your Say Byron Shire webpage.  

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    Has Byron Shire considered the path of Loganholme, QLD which I understand is economically viable which I understand is economically viable for for 20,000 population and up. Why? Because it uses all of the heat to dry the biosolids and other waste streams, meets EPA guidelines for any emissions, deals with pathogens, pfas and microplastics in a problematic waste stream and dramatically reduces the volume of the material meaning this dramatically reduces transport cost. The advantage of biochar over a digestate product is that it is highly valuable as superior additions to materials and a more permanent store of carbon that can be used in everything from soils to roads. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahetsXyFU6M&feature=youtu.be & https://vimeo.com/474284461

    Don Coyne asked 22 days ago

    Thanks for your comments and interest in this project. The Logan City Council project is indeed very interesting to our Project Team. State laws, environmental policies and funding considerations have resulted in Byron Shire Council preferring the dry anaerobic digestion technology over thermal processing (as used by Logan). 

    Since the Logan project is located in QLD, it is subject to different State laws and environmental policies. 

    The NSW Energy from Waste Policy does not permit the thermal processing (pyrolysis, in Logan’s case) of the mixed organic waste streams being contemplated for the Byron Shire Bioenergy Facility (food organics and garden organics (FOGO), fats, oils and greases (FOG), commercial food organics, agricultural green waste and sewage biosolids). Additionally, NSW EPA does not currently give Energy from Waste exemptions for processing FOGO and green wastes with gasification or pyrolysis.

    Funding assistance is essential for either project to be financially viable. The Byron Bioenergy Facility is estimated to be similar in cost to the Logan project, which received 50% funding from ARENA. Byron Shire Council is currently investigating and applying for ARENA funding. The Logan model would not be economically feasible with regards to Byron Shire Council’s sewage biosolids treatment. 

    Thanks for your input. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask here or email the Project Team direct. 

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    Yarra Valley Water in Melbourne built a similar project. https://www.yvw.com.au/waste-energy

    TL asked 22 days ago

    Thanks for your interest in this project and reference site. To clarify the difference between the two projects, the Yarra Valley STP project uses a wet digestion process, whereas the Byron Shire Bioenergy Facility is considering a dry anaerobic digestion process. 

    Wet vs dry digestion for Byron Shire

    Although similar in their goals, i.e., to break down organic matter to create renewable energy, the dry anaerobic digestion process has the added benefits of being able to process green bins’ food organics and garden organics (FOGO) and landscaping green waste with biosolids and commercial food waste. 

    The dry anaerobic digestion process does not produce a liquid waste stream that would then need treatment, as in the case of a wet digestion process. 

    Additionally, our local region would not have sufficient feedstocks to support a viable wet anaerobic digestion process. 

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    Is Cape Byron Power biomass facility in Ballina burning trees from Tarketh forest in Belligen ? The question should be why are Cape Byron Power burning forests and how is this renewable energy ?

    Kitty Williams asked 25 days ago

    The Byron Shire Bioenergy Facility is in no way aligned or connected with the Cape Byron Power project. 

    The Byron Shire Bioenergy Facility would NOT use forestry waste. 

    The facility would use residential green bin waste, garden waste, agricultural green waste, commercial food waste, grease trap waste and wastewater sludge (biosolids) from the local sewage treatment plant to create renewable energy. 

    If successful, the Byron Shire Bioenergy Facility will be the first of its kind in Australia. 

    Renewable energy is created through the following dry anaerobic digestion process. 

    1. Organic waste is collected and decomposed in oxygen-free conditions inside a contained facility.

    2. Micro-organisms (from biosolids) digest the decomposing waste, which releases a biogas.

    3. The biogas is captured and used as fuel for a combined heat and power unit, which converts it to energy.

    4. The energy is sent back into the unit to power the facility and the sewage treatment plant. Any excess energy is available for dispatch into the electricity grid. The high nutrient residual waste can be used as a soil conditioner for the local agricultural industry.

    Dry anaerobic digestion DOES NOT use burning, incineration or combustion-based technology on the organic waste feedstock – rather, the intrinsic value of the materials are retained for soil amendments.

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    this is a great plan. what's the best way for me to get involved and assist?

    Doug Moss asked 26 days ago

    Thanks for your comment and interest in this project. You can stay informed about this project by subscribing on the Your Say Byron Shire webpage. 

    Additionally, keep an eye out for Council’s Project Team at the local fresh food markets at Byron Bay, Mullumbimby and Bangalow and future drop-in sessions at the Cavanbah Centre. Other community activities and opportunities for input will be announced here on the Your Say page also.

    Thanks Doug, if you have any further questions, feel free to email the Project Team directly.