Home > CST Wastewater installs storage tank to collect biogas at Oakey Beef’s COHRAL plant

CST Wastewater installs storage tank to collect biogas at Oakey Beef’s COHRAL plant

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article image The green energy storage orb engineered by CST Wastewater Solutions for the GWE COHRAL installation

CST Wastewater Solutions is installing a flexible PVC-coated polyester fibre flexible storage tank at Oakey Beef Exports in Queensland’s Darling Downs. The storage tank will collect biogas produced by the new Global Water Engineering COHRAL plant at Oakey Beef, one of Australia’s largest beef processing plants.

The spectacular 6000m³ capacity orb-shaped green energy storage facility is helping to demonstrate how industry can profit from environmental initiatives.

The GWE COHRAL (Covered High Rate Anaerobic Lagoon) plant will be commissioned next year, and will extract green energy biogas (methane) from its waste water streams to replace millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas currently consumed at the abattoir. CST Wastewater Solutions represents the GWE COHRAL technology in Australia and New Zealand.

One of the world’s largest of its type, the 26m high flexible storage tank features resilient flexible double membrane storage so that gas produced by the COHRAL plant can be safely stored separately from the gas generator. By using a separate flexible tank for gas storage, leakage is prevented with the gas securely contained in the tank instead of under lagoon covers.

The Sattler biogas storage design selected for Oakey Beef has been tested and proven over decades and is now an integral feature in the design of modern waste water treatment plants worldwide. They are engineered to be permanently gas-tight with high operational reliability and optimum safety.

CST Wastewater Solutions Managing Director Mr Michael Bambridge said that the safe, durable and environmentally harmonious COHRAL technology deployed at Oakey Beef can be widely applied worldwide to food, beverage and agricultural and primary processing plants. Oakey Beef and its owners Nippon Meat Packers have taken a far-sighted initiative that opens the way to cleaner, greener and more profitable industry performance.

The COHRAL plant is expected to repay its cost of construction within five years through savings on gas purchases amounting to millions of dollars; however, the plant will continue to deliver benefits and profitability in perpetuity, says Oakey Beef Exports General Manager Mr Pat Gleeson. In addition to lowering the plant’s dependence on increasingly expensive supplies of natural gas, the GWE anaerobic digestion plant will simultaneously reduce the plant’s carbon footprint and produce waste water far cleaner than typical waste lagoons.

The installation by Australian environmental engineering and green energy authority CST Wastewater Solutions is the first GWE COHRAL installation in the world, deploying in a covered lagoon, GWE anaerobic technology proven in more than 300 reactor installations worldwide.

COHRAL technology uses concentrated anaerobic bacteria to digest 70 per cent of the organic matter in Oakey Beef Exports’ waste water to produce effluent of far higher quality than typical open lagoons.

Mr Bambridge believes Oakey’s initiative sets an excellent precedent for agribusiness in Australia because the cost-effective technology can turn an environmental problem into profit by simultaneously enhancing water quality and lowering fuel bills. He adds that the technology also helps companies such as Oakey to guard against future price rises in the cost of energy and possible future imposts such as carbon tax.

One of the bigger benefits of covered anaerobic lagoons with efficient green energy storage is the prevention of the escape of methane biogas into the atmosphere while also harnessing it to generate energy.

Oakey Beef Exports’ plant will feature reuse of the biogas in its boilers, where it is initially expected to replace usage of about 50,000 gigajoules of natural gas a year.

According to Mr Bambridge, GWE anaerobic waste water green energy plants have been demonstrated in many applications worldwide to transform waste water from a problematic expense to a profitable resource.

In addition to the obvious waste-to-energy benefits, the process also helps curb odours that emanate from open lagoons in processing plants. Mr Bambridge says this particular problem is prevalent in Australasia and other countries worldwide with urban encroachment leading to agribusiness and expanding communities co-existing in the same environment.

Anaerobic digestion also produces reliable and predicable base load power unlike other green energy technologies that are dependent on wind or sun factors. 

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