Volume 25 • Number 2
Wa t e r
The recycling entrepreneurs
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A cleantech accelerator
NATURE STRIP WARS
Westpac and the future of CR
Industry considers energy options
Telco’s ignoring water utilities
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44 Regular Features
Waste Handling & Processing
16. Incubator aims to unlock recycling innovation Innovation in resource recovery tends to be imported, but a cleantech accelerator is aiming to empower local inventors. By Richard Collins.
14. Regulatory Update 38. Business+Strategy
18. Waste apps – a new frontier IT savvy government departments, councils and waste companies are taking the big leap into mobile apps – and why shouldn’t they, writes Jacqueline Ong.
19. Tips for choosing equipment Wheel loaders and other equipment are an essential part of the fleet for councils and waste management facilities. Greg Sealey provides some considerations when reviewing tenders or selecting equipment from a dealer.
20. ‘Smarts’ for more resilient landfills Jacqueline Ong reports on two companies that claim to have found a more intelligent, cost-effective and environmentally superior alternative to treating landfill run-off.
41. Water+Wastewater 44. Energy+Carbon 47. Products Focus 49. Extra-curricular
22. Delivering maximum value When it comes to dealing with waste materials it’s important to achieve not only accuracy but also maximum extraction of valuable resources. The following four innovations do this in different ways, writes Paula Wallace.
50. In Perspective Out with the old, in with the new (sort of)
The Coalition government is now considering submissions from the community and industry with the aim of producing an energy white paper in September, although the lack of detail to date makes it hard to evaluate its position.
Instrumentation & Monitoring
31. Applying the brakes to earth leakage Rockwell Automation has collaborated with Australian electrical engineering and manufacturing company Ampcontrol Group to successfully test a solution that detects the impact of earth leakage on mine sites. By Paula Wallace.
Spills & Hazardous Waste
35. Campaign reverses toxic practices Dave West and Jeff Angel report on the Boomerang Alliance’s campaign, along with the Australian Tyre Recycling Association (ATRA), that is seeing tyre recycling rates rise again.
36. Navigating the new NEPM The significantly revised national environment protection measures represent a formidable suite of documents for assessing site contamination. Dru Marsh explores the implications for environmental managers. WME magazine MARCH 2014
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Environment Business Magazine WME is Australia’s leading environment business magazine, serving those responsible for the environmental performance of their organisation or working in the environmental goods and services sector.
Profiling Australian innovation Australia ranks third in the number of patents granted per million dollars of GDP, right behind the US and Israel. Australia also runs third in the 2012 Global Cleantech Innovation Index for its ‘inputs to innovation’ score. But that’s where the good news ends: it ranks 22 in ‘outputs of innovation’, or commercialised technologies. While some of the ideas are lost offshore, others are now being picked up by Baxter Innovation Group’s novel cleantech commercialisation accelerator play. Read about the resource recovery technologies it is commercialising in this issue. Speaking of innovation, you can’t go past our own Westpac’s topping of the Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable companies, a first for the company and for Australia. We look at the banking group’s approach to integration and strategy and the new international framework for integrated reporting and what it means for business. Read about all that in this issue … and more.
Published monthly since 1988, WME provides news, opinion and analysis covering waste and water management, energy and emissions and strategic sustainability issues. Australia’s highest circulating monthly environment business magazine is backed up by the online WME Business Environment Network (BEN), providing targeted news, resources and industry discussion on a weekly basis. Published by Aspermont Ltd. ABN: 66 000 375 048 Phone: (02) 8252 9440 Fax: (02) 9279 2477 Postal: GPO Box 499, Sydney NSW 2001 Australia Street: Level 7, 30-32 Carrington Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Editor: Paula Wallace (email@example.com) Managing Editor: Richard Collins (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sub-Editors: Melanie Jenkins, Maxine Brown Journalist: Jacqueline Ong Production Manager: Mata Henry Senior Layout Designer: Matt Leigh Layout Designer: Catherine Hogan Graphic Designer: Sun Moon Advertising: Paul Mason 0431 272 366 (email@example.com) Circulation: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Material: email@example.com Advertising Production: Isaac Burrows Subscriptions: Tel: (08) 6263 9100 or firstname.lastname@example.org Subscription costs: 1 year (11 issues): $189 (inc GST); 2 years $338 (inc GST); 3 years $452 (inc GST) Website: www.wme.com.au Publisher reserves the right to alter or omit any article or advertisement submitted and requires indemnity from the advertisers and contributors against damages or liability that may arise from material published. Copyright © Aspermont Limited.No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photo-copying, recording or otherwise, without the permission of the publisher.
Paula Wallace Editor
Spills & safety feature
Wa t e r
Technologies: monitoring and process control
Commercial and industrial water feature
Wa t e r
Volume 24 •Number 9 October 2013
Closing the loop: disposable foodware recovery
Special report: communications and reporting
Special feature: case studies in pumps and valves
Stakes are high: getting it right in odour control
Volume 24 •Number 10 November 2013
By the numbers: the value of waste auditing
Back to basics Delivering on the business case
A new way of doing business
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s we go to press the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has just announced it will provide up to $20 million in debt financing to help catalyse investment in new biogas energy infrastructure. The new projects will provide food processors and other agribusinesses with on-site energy, reducing their grid electricity usage and total energy costs while recycling their organic waste. It seems there are many and varied options being taken by Australian businesses to ensure long-term energy security and affordability. Bioenergy is just one example – the CEFC has received over 45 proposals in the bioenergy sector for projects totalling $2.3 billion, more than a third of which are for biogas. With a natural gas price spike on the horizon, WME takes a look at these and other energy options being examined by industry. With the deal for Australia’s first anaerobic digestion system producing biogas from meat waste having been signed, WME also takes a look at innovation in waste processing and handling equipment. You might be surprised to know that
Knowledge Bank: ISO14001, keeping up with the times
Insights from an environmental profit and loss pioneer
Volume 25 • Number 1
Managing & remediating mine sites
Wa t e r
Interview: Porritt on 2050 and the world we made
Green tape: a case of too little or too much regulation?
Volume 24 •Number 11 December 2013 / January 2014
Wa t e r
Perspectives: our leaders on the year ahead
Finding the true value of run-off
Environment Business Magazine
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• The rise of waste to energy • Sustainability at a crossroads • Grappling with supply chains • Top 13 news stories of 2013
Profile of WME’s Person of the Year Clean Energy Finance Corp chief Oliver Yates
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Annual Review SPECIAL FEATURE
Redeveloping and remediating sites
Price questions key for local industry
Call for a new peak association
MARCH 2014 WME magazine
NEWS RECYCLING RUCKUS
Pressure builds on aluminium and metals recycling Alcoa’s decision to close Australia’s only aluminium can re-processing facility “is a catastrophic blow for aluminium recycling in this country, and recycling in general,” said Grant Musgrove, CEO of the Australian Council of Recycling. “Now Australia does not have a rolling mill, which is how we remanufacture domestically. We have a very serious problem.” He said it will add uncertainty into the financials of kerbside collection, undermine state recycling targets and play into the debate around a national container deposit scheme. Alcoa’s decision to shutter its Yennora rolled products mill in Sydney, part of a broader contraction, is the latest blow for a scrap metal sector under ongoing pressure. “The metals manufacturing sector is basically gone,” said Paul Ryan, secretary of the Australian Metal Recycling Industry Association (AMRIA), which represents scrap metal dealers. In his trading days Ryan handled 190 tonnes of scrap aluminium a week and 80 tonnes of brass and copper, but such volumes have dried up amid flat activity in building and manufacturing. The recent decisions by GM and Toyota to close their local factories were just the latest blows. CMA Corporation went into liquidation in August. Sims Metal quietly closed its Melbourne smelter late last year and in February noted tough conditions.
Alcoa will no longer remanufacture aluminium cans in Australia.
“Consumer economic activity that drives scrap generation continues to track below mid-cycle levels, and key leading indicators point to a mixed outlook,” it said. Ryan, who has been approached by several people to help sell their business, is expecting “a major contraction and that the sector will go back to where it was 30 or 40 years ago”. The dynamics of the scrap sector are different to aluminium can recycling, but Musgrove said closing the Alcoa mill would have significant implications for kerbside collection. While export has always been a large
chunk of the market – he cites Hyder Consulting numbers of 68% export from SA and 95% for WA, and Sustainability Victoria stats of 40% from Victoria – the Yennora mill’s 55,000 tonnes a year of local reprocessing helped buffer the deep price swings in the global commodity market. “Someone in time will probably come up with a new business model that just bales cans and ships them to China – or it will go to landfill. I can’t see how we can export the volumes that are in line with our consumption,” he said. BEN-global.com: Alcoa
CLIMATE & CARBON
CSIRO confirms climate impacts, Climate Authority ups target Two key climate reports were released last month, the ‘State of the Climate 2014’ and the Climate Change Authority’s final report on ‘Reducing Australia’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions’. The definitive climate report by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) confirms most of the expected local climate change trends. “Australia’s mean temperature has warmed by 0.9C since 1910,” said BOM chief executive Dr Rob Vertessy, with most warming coming since 1950. It projects an increase in the frequency and intensity of heatwaves, extreme daily rainfall events and extreme sea-level events. Average rainfall in southern Australia is projected to fall, with a likely increase WME magazine MARCH 2014
in drought frequency and severity. In a low emissions greenhouse scenario the report predicts a 0-20% rainfall reduction by 2070 compared to 1980-99. In a high emissions world its range is between a 30% decrease and 5% increase. The Climate Change Authority (CCA), which survived the federal government’s attempt to close it down when the measure was blocked in the Senate, recommended deepening Australia’s 2020 carbon reduction target from 5% below 2000 levels to 15% below, and then to between 40% and 60% below by 2030. The independent agency calculates Australia’s fair share (about 1%) of the global emissions budget, which is a cap set to have a fair chance of holding © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
warming to under 2C, comes to a national emissions budget of 10.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases for 2013-2050. CCA chair Bernie Fraser said the government should pursue a broad swathe of both market and non-market measures to drive “the necessary structural transformation of the economy but also open up opportunities for new investments and exports”. He also urged it to reverse its opposition to buying international credits and particularly noted emissions standards for light vehicles. Interestingly, ClimateWorks has just released an analysis on the benefits of tightening the emissions standards to 95 gCO2/km by 2024, half the current average.
NEWS RESEARCH REPORT
Property sector’s green halo is fading The property sector’s sustainability performance has been overstated, according to an analysis of ASX200 companies by progressive policy network Catalyst Australia. The report, ‘Building sustainability: A review of company performance in the commercial real estate and property sector’, concluded most firms are failing to meet even modest targets around issues covering environmental performance, gender equality, labour standards, supply chains, sustainability engagement and community investment. Catalyst Australia executive director Jo-anne Schofield said Stockland, GPT Group, Dexus Property Group and Mirvac Group scored comparatively well. “However, even among this group there was room for improvement – with two reaching a score of 13 of a possible
24 in the index. Unfortunately, the stronger attention to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) by this group was dwarfed by the poor performance of the sector overall,” she said. Schofield took a shot at Westfield Group and Westfield Retail Trust, the two largest players making up 34.2% of the sector’s $97.5 billion market capitalisation. It recommended introduction of a standardised environmental reporting framework that includes disclosures about absolute as well per square metre averages for carbon emission, energy consumption, water usage and waste production. It also noted serious blindspots in reporting by subsidiaries, which relied on disclosures by parent companies, despite
Light green: few property firms are doing well.
being ASX listed companies in their own right. It recommended the reporting lines between parent and subsidiary companies should be clarified. The report also called for greater scrutiny by investors, possibly including mandating minimum reporting guidelines. In the interim, it recommended benchmarking against mature reporters within the sector and in other sectors. BEN-global.com: Catalyst
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT GREEN TAPE
New push for ‘streamlining’ Another 200 federal Department of Environment jobs are reportedly set to go, while the Coalition-dominated House of Representatives environment committee will investigate ‘green tape’ reduction. The Canberra Times reported on a departmental announcement of a 25% budget cut over the next four years, mostly coming by cutting staff from 2300 last year to under 1700. Most will come from the environmental assessment division, “which will soon stop carrying out assessments and start operating as an audit body for state environmental decisions”. Meanwhile, Environment Minister Greg Hunt asked the environment committee to look into streamlining environmental regulation, green tape and one stop shops for environmental assessments and approvals. It will look at: jurisdictional arrangements, regulatory requirements and the potential for deregulation; the balance between regulatory burdens and environmental benefits; and areas for improved efficiency and effectiveness of the regulatory framework. Submissions due by April 11.
IR the missing link in company carbon cuts A MACQUARIE University study has found Australian firms are failing to follow European companies in using industrial relations to cut carbon. The survey of around 700 businesses found about 40% had broadly addressed their work practices to reduce greenhouse emissions, but only 6.7% had clauses in their enterprise agreements dealing with climate change – and those that did were quite vague. “In the EU, the industrial relations system has helped this… through collective bargaining. However, our research shows that employee participation in carbon reduction in Australia has been limited,” said the
study’s lead author, Professor Ray Markey. “In Germany companies above a certain size must have works councils with worker representatives, and they added climate change to those forums about 10 years ago. In the UK there are about 1500 workplaces that have green job delegates, and most of these would have collective agreements that include environmental clauses,” he told WME. He called for companies to ramp up their employee engagement around climate change. While the study did not look at this, behaviour change is typically the cheapest form of carbon abatement as it comes with no or low costs. BEN-global.com: Macquarie
Let’s talk about the NABERS Waste tool Sustainability Victoria is facilitating a national industry consultation on the NABERS Waste rating tool, which allows offices to benchmark their waste and recycling performance and associated environmental impacts. Sustainability Victoria says it has huge potential to transform commercial waste management in the same way NABERS Energy has driven energy, emissions and cost savings while stimulated a multimillion dollar retrofit market. © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
“If widely adopted, the NABERS Waste rating tool could provide transparency about waste and recycling practises to the market and drive investment in waste management services. To realise this potential we are engaging with industry to hear your thoughts and ideas,” it notes. Questions in the consultation include what can be done to improve the tool and how can it be embedded in organisational processes. Submissions are due by March 28. MARCH 2014 WME magazine
Opportunities in industrial demand side response: ClimateWorks New research has identified a large opportunity for industrial companies to reduce their own energy bills while also helping respond to peak demand pressures on the national electricity grid. ClimateWorks research head Amandine Denis said more direct financial incentives to industry could reduce demand peaks and electricity prices. “Reducing peak demand could help reduce electricity costs by avoiding or deferring the construction of power plants and network augmentations that are only needed on a limited number of days each year,” she said. The report estimates industrial companies could lop peaks times by 10.5% by reducing or shifting load to offpeak times. However, this potential is largely untapped as companies lack ready access to strong enough financial incentives to
implement the opportunities. The analysis involved 34 companies across 22 sectors that make up 83% of Australia’s industrial grid electricity use. “The report estimated up to 3.8 GW of grid electricity could potentially be saved at peak demand times – summer weekdays 2-7pm – by key industries reducing their electricity use or shifting it to off-peak times about five to 10 times a year,” she said. This would be the equivalent of about 42% of the total demand these industries are expected to draw from the grid at peak times, and 10.5% of Australia’s total peak demand, including industrial, commercial and residential use. Fabricated metal products and ceramics are among sectors with the greatest potential to shift or shed their load, while specific industrial processes include mining, earthmoving and excavation,
Leaving a lasting natural legacy Acacia Remembrance Sanctuary, Australia’s first master planned natural burial and memorialisation park, is up for sale. Pioneering ecologically friendly burial and cremation methods, the award-winning design has been approved for the 10-hectare site in Bringelly near Liverpool, in Sydney’s south west. In keeping with the ethos of natural burials, Acacia will maintain and protect the integrity of its natural flora and fauna, including its Cumberland Plain Woodland, of which only 6% now remains uncleared in Western Sydney. Ecology studies have also confirmed Acacia is a sanctuary to over 30 species of birds.
The natural burial park was the brainchild of Zinnia Group, a Sydneybased development company focused on transforming the “death care industry” that Deloitte estimates has an earning potential of around $250 million over the next 25 years.
Osmoflo steps into wastewater O&M Adelaide desalination specialist Osmoflo has stepped outside its traditional business by winning a fiveyear contract to provide operations and maintenance support to a major recycled water irrigation network. The contract with Willunga Basin Water Company (WBWC) is the first for its recently established wastewater business. It encompasses more than 120km of pipeline, seven pump WME magazine MARCH 2014
stations, three buffering storages and a further three above ground storages. Approximately 6,000 ML a year per annum is taken up by WBWC, most of it from SA Water’s Christie’s Beach wastewater treatment plant. It is supplied to more than 180 customers who use it to irrigate approximately 4,000 hectares of grapes and other high value fruits throughout McLaren Vale and the adjoining Willunga and Sellicks districts. © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
Switching off motors is a key opportunity to cut peak demand.
stationary materials handling and motors. “The potential identified in this report will be difficult to realise unless both financial incentives and internal company capacity are aligned by a market approach under the National Electricity Market,” said Denis. More: climateworksaustralia.org
A smart water, zero carbon city Melbourne City Council has adopted two key council strategies, Total Watermark and Zero Net Emissions, which respectively tackle integrated water management and the greenhouse reductions. The Total Watermark Strategy sees the city as a catchment, including man-made catchments such as roads, roofs and impermeable surfaces. “We know that more water falls on our city than we can use at that time,” said Environment Councillor Arron Wood. The council also launched its next major stormwater project, a 2.5 ML tank that will provide 35 ML of water a year to irrigate the upper and middle terraces of Birrarung Marr. The emissions strategy aims to make Melbourne a zero net emissions city by 2020. It will trial low emissions technologies, increase the uptake of carbon neutral services and switch to 25% renewable electricity. “What became very clear in the development of these strategies was that we can’t achieve change on a large scale alone… But commitment to change is needed at all levels to make this happen,” Cr Wood said.
NEWS PRODUCT STEWARDSHIP
Overhaul of oil stewardship scheme needed The Product Stewardship Oil scheme is under-funded, has no yardsticks and is in need of reform and direct infrastructure grants, according to a mandated review of the 14-year-old scheme. Neil Byron found it had achieved many of its aims since launching in 2000, but will require “ever-increasing financial input from government” to go further. “The fundamentals of the scheme are such that a levy of 5.449 cpl [cents per litre] could only fund a Category 1 benefit payment for about 11% of the oil sold each year in Australia – even if there were no other benefits – before the
IN BRIEF Standards Australia has released drafts of three revised Standards on Energy Audits for comment. The suite, for different types of facilities, outline best practice in the niches while harmonising common aspects. A National Waste Reporting online resource has been released by the Department of Environment. It draws on commissioned research, published resources and information provided by government, business and community organisations. (www. environment.gov.au/node/35003) A Citigroup research note lays out the threats to rootop solar and other distributed generation. ‘Energy Darwinism in Australian Utilities’ says energy suppliers are pushing back against falling grid demand, including calls for a fixed charge for grid connection, regardless of electricity use. (BEN: Citi) Cardia Bioplastics is to double its biofilm and bag making capacity to meet growing demand for its finished products. It has ordered three film extrusion and bag making machines, each capable of producing 1.5 million bags a month, to supply contract wins in Brazil and China. (BEN: Cardia) The Renewable Energy Target is under review by a panel led by businessman Dick Warburton. The findings will be sent to government mid-year and are expected to clear the way for major changes.
scheme runs into deficit,” says the report. Around 315 ML was collected in 2011-12. However, only around 80 ML went into recycling processes, with the rest burnt as fuel after various levels of treatment. Byron listed a handful of challenges, including uncertain end markets, benefit rates for different categories of oil that are not based on a robust assessment of environmental benefits, and insufficient auditing. Recommendations include increasing the levy to 7 cpl, rationalising benefit categories and phasing down or scrapping
Infrastructure grants could boost oil recycling.
benefit payments, while “surpluses generated by changes to the levy-benefit arrangements be invested into existing or new collection infrastructure, as well as directly incentivising collection activities where required”.
Soft conditions challenge waste firms The half-year results for Transpacific Industries (TPI) and Sims Metal reveal soft volumes for the waste and recycling sector. Both have new CEOs, who are realigning strategies and stripping out costs. TPI also had some good news, selling its New Zealand business to a wholly owned subsidiary of the Beijing Capital Group for a healthy NZ$950 million ($880 million). CEO Robert Boucher revealed the June-December earnings from its waste businesses fell 0.5% compared to the corresponding period in 2012, to $189.3 million. Commercial and industrial waste volumes were constant, though increased rates and higher commodity prices helped boosted revenue 3.1% to $309.2 million. Liquid processing volumes fell 5.8%. Municipal waste revenue was up 0.8% to $100.5 million. Revenue from Cleanaway Post Collections fell 1.9%
on the 2012 period to $63.8 million (excluding levies and carbon tax). Landfill volumes in Queensland and Western Australia were up, but tougher trading conditions affected volumes in New South Wales (down 32%), Victoria (down 16%) and South Australia. The group found $11 million of cost reductions for the half, on track for its full year $20 million target and a further $15 million in 2015-16. Meanwhile, Sims posted a $42 million underlying net profit for its global business, which was broadly in line expectations. It stripped $24.8 million of controllable costs out of the operation, though they increased by $16.1 million in the Australasian division due to an 18% increase in intake volumes. CEO Galdino Claro is in the midst of a strategic review that the Australian Financial Review suggests will leave Australia alone, with the possible exception of Sims Recycling Solutions.
Aim for industrial performance Green Stars The 27,000 sqm Keysborough Spec 1 development in eastern Melbourne has become the first industrial facility to register for a Green Star – Performance rating. It is already the largest 5 Star industrial project in Australia, winning the Industrial Design rating in 2012, and Australand is now targeting a 4 Star performance rating. Australand sustainability manager Paolo Bevilacqua said implementing sustainable © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
solutions in design, construction and operation “enables Australand to futureproof the value of the assets we create and reduce costs for our customers”. Features include utility metering and monitoring, natural ventilation, laserlite sheets for high daylighting levels, rainwater tanks and solar hot water, T5 high bay lighting, sustainably sourced timber and a 90% reduction in common use PVC products. MARCH 2014 WME magazine
Sydney council group takes the lead in local renewables A MASTER plan by a group of eight Sydney councils has found significant potential for more renewable energy to be generated across the region. The project by the South Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) and the Institute For Sustainable Futures studied a number of issues, including ways to encourage communities to take up more renewable energy and models for councils to deliver it. Local renewable generation currently accounts for between 1.1% and 2.3% of the 3,370GWh electricity demand in the SSROC region. Some 11% of residential dwellings have solar PV systems, below the NSW average of 14% – and a South Australian rate of 30%. Some 5.5% of dwellings have solar hot water systems. The report recommends SSROC prioritise, scope and seek funding for
eight renewable energy delivery model combinations. For solar PV these include business/commercial leasing, community ownership, council ownership and residential leasing. It also suggests council brokering of a bulk-buy arrangement to put solar PV on all viable council roofs and target residential roofs by covering both upfront purchase and leasing/PPA options. It calls for a bulk-buy scheme for solar hot water and installation of systems on community pools, and recommends a wind urban/regional partnership and a bioenergy partnership between the councils and an energy company. Finally, the report suggests SSROC consider the longer term viability of advanced gasification as both a waste and energy management option for the southern Sydney region.
Rooftop solar PV is the key opportunity.
Meanwhile, Sydney City Council has greenlighted the next step in studies for a trigeneration plant spanning Sydney Town Hall and neighbouring Town Hall House, and repeated calls for market reforms to allow development of energy precincts. More: http://tinyurl.com/ld23kmb
Low confidence in emissions fund idea Five year time limits, arguments over baselines and additionality, and domestic limits are among a suite of major challenges in the design of the Emissions Reduction Fund, according to industry groups and the Grattan Institute. “Project proponents need confidence they can recover their costs as long as they deliver the abatement they pledge,” said the Australian Industry Group’s submission to the Green Paper on the ERF. “Therefore either contracts should be able to run for longer than five years, or proponents should be able to recover their costs within five years.” It also said the proposed make-good requirement for projects that don’t deliver could discourage participation. Both the Ai Group and Grattan Institute
raise issues around the way emissions baselines are set for each company to determine when they go beyond business as usual. The industry lobby wants it “substantially reworked or removed”. Grattan also noted auctions have a mixed record: “Like grant tender schemes, auctions carry a significant risk that developers will bid extremely low in order to win the auction, but then fail to deliver the project.” Oil and gas industry group APPEA said the ERF should be as broad as possible, “including sectors that do not currently report under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting System”. CEO David Byers said for new LNG plants the baseline should be based on “several years of operational experience”.
No action plans in leaked Qld strategy A COPY of Queensland’s draft waste avoidance and resource productivity strategy leaked to WME’s online news reveals precious little ambition. Almost 8.5 million tonnes of waste was produced in 2012-13, with 45% of it recovered. Generation is expected to climb to over 11 million tonnes by 2026. The strategy proposes reducing waste per capita by 5% by 2024. Its suggests WME magazine MARCH 2014
lifting MSW recycling from 33% to 55% in the metropolitan areas and 45% in regional centres, increasing C&I recycling from 42% to 55%, and C&D recycling from 61% to 80%. However, it offers no action plans and sets no KPIs to direct the waste sector on how exactly to seize these opportunities. It will be released in April. BEN-global.com: Queensland © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
Energy efficiency scheme a burden The Energy Efficiency Opportunities scheme should be axed, argues the oil and gas peak body APPEA, while the Australian Industry Group called for “a process to allow businesses to ‘graduate’ from and exit the program”. APPEA said administrative and compliance costs can “approach $500,000” per participant and would soon be redundant because companies will be able to identify energy efficiency measures that can be bid into the Emissions Reduction Fund auction for potential funding. But energy efficiency veteran Alan Pears continued to fight for the scheme. His submission to the Energy White Paper called for an independent energy efficiency authority to drive systemic, consistent change. It could be selffunding over time by allocating it a slice of any savings in capital and ongoing expenditure in the economy. The Ai Group urged the government to maintain funding levels for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), allow energy users to sell demand reductions into the wholesale electricity market and encourage smart meters and time of use pricing.
Chinese environment sector to boom
China’s pollution treatment, environmental monitoring and energy efficiency consulting sectors are among its seven fastest growing industries, an in-depth economic analysis and forecast reveals. Its quest for energy
independence by developing alternative energy sources and efficiency options was the standout trend in IBISWorld’s analysis of more than 230 industries. Unsurprisingly, environmental protection-related industries are also
Resource efficiency rising
during processing, a University of Colorado Boulder study shows. An analysis found the methane bubbling up from a single palm oil wastewater lagoon during a year was roughly equivalent to the emissions from 22,000 passenger vehicles in the US. “This is a largely overlooked dimension of palm oil’s environmental problems,” lead author Philip Taylor said. He suggested, however, that the methane could be captured and converted to energy. The study said the amount of methane that went uncollected from palm oil wastewater lagoons last year could have met a quarter of Malaysia’s electricity needs. Methane capture could be encouraged by making it a requirement before palm oil products could be certified as sustainable. Current sustainability certifications do not address wastewater emissions.
The UK’s largest hotel and restaurant group has cut waste to landfill by 93%, among a sweep of other achievements. Whitbread’s efforts are outlined in The Carbon Trust’s ‘Opportunities in a resource constrained world’ report that warns of a looming “resource crunch”. “Business resource challenges such as the increasing scarcity of land, energy, water and materials are quickly intensifying,” the report noted. It talks of a short supply of some critical materials as early as 2016 and a potential 40% global gap between available global water supplies and water needs by 2030. The Carbon Trust CEO Tom Delay called for the urgent development of “innovative business models that put sustainability at the heart of business operations”. Its report profiles the efforts of four firms, from bottom-line benefits via efficiency gains through to strategic investments expected to provide longterm competitive advantages. Whitbread also calculated the carbon footprint of a bed in its Premier Inn chain at 103kg of carbon dioxide equivalent and identified the manufacture of cotton fabric as the biggest carbon hotspot in its supply chain.
Palm oil’s wastewater issue The palm oil industry’s impact goes beyond deforestation to include methane leaks from the wastewater produced
Unilever’s compact cans More than 40% of Unilever’s aerosol deodorant brands in the UK and Ireland will be “compressed” by the end of the year after the company said it would extend the technology to its male deodorants. The cans require up to 50% less propellant (but last just as long) and use up to 25% less aluminum, reducing the product’s overall carbon footprint by up to 25%. A year after the launch of the awardwinning technology for its female © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
booming due to deteriorating air and water quality in China’s big cities. In 2013, revenue for the pollution treatment equipment manufacturing industry, which includes processing waste and recycling industrial materials, is expected to rise 30% year on year to $36.5 billion. The energy-efficiency consultants industry is estimated to have generated $49.4 billion in 2013. IBISWorld projects industry revenue will continue growing 35.5% annually in the short term thanks to the 12th five-year plan. The environmental monitoring industry is expected to rise 19.7% to $1.7 billion in 2013 as the Chinese government is bringing more commercial reform to the industry to deal with capital shortages and to improve efficiency. Demand for the water pollution control industry last year is expected to total $1 billion.
deodorants, Unilever said it had sold around 12 million cans of compressed deodorant, saving 77 tonnes of aluminum. It sells 187 million deodorant aerosols every year in the UK. Unilever invested more than £20 million ($37 miilion) into a new production line in its Leeds plant, the largest deodorant factory in Europe. The factory is co-located with Unilever’s global deodorant R&D facility, where both the format and the product innovation were developed.
Sewage treatment goes mobile A SWEDISH technology start-up plans to convert old shipping tankers into mobile offshore sewage treatment plants. EnviroNor CEO Sigmund Larsen said we had to think differently to address the global challenges around water supply and pollution from sewage. Mobile treatment plants could also add 20 years to a tanker’s life. With the DNV GL Group it has developed three solutions under the Aqua Recovery banner: the Reliever for short-term deployment, the permanent Changemaker to treat grey water and industrial effluents for reused; and the Water Factory, to turn slightly polluted river water into drinking water quality. “Ships from super tankers to river barges can be converted to provide dry coastal cities with much-needed clean water for irrigation, industry purposes and even providing safe drinking water for humans,” DNV GL Group chief sustainability officer Bjørn Haugland said. MARCH 2014 WME magazine
Soaking up the atmosphere pays off
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The Dutch delta-city of Rotterdam is preparing for the battle with climate change through innovative sponging and water storage design. It’s planning ahead to the point where the city sees climate change adaptation as a selling point and business opportunity. Surrounded by water on four sides, the 600,000 population city can’t flush stormwater away. Instead, Rotterdam is turning itself into a sponge. “We have squares that are set lower than the surrounding streets and pavements that will function as water plazas and fill themselves up with water,” Rotterdam vice mayor in charge of sustainability Alexandra van Huffelen said. “We’ve also built water storage facilities, for example an underground parking garage with a basin the size of four Olympic swimming pools. And we’ve introduced more green areas, including green roofs and green facades, that will be able to absorb water as well.”
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IN BRIEF The global market for anaerobic digesters and landfill gas equipment is forecast to grow 9.4% a year to 2018, from $US4.5 billion to $7 billion. Anaerobic digestion is the most sustainable conversion process in the current waste to energy market, BCC Research says, because systems can be sized for use in households, commercial enterprises, utilities and industry. Levi Strauss has released an industry standard for water recycling and reuse in apparel manufacturing. It established the voluntary standard for its supplier factories and others based on a pilot plant it helped engineer with a Chinese supplier that made 100,000 pairs of women’s jeans with 100% recycled water, saving some 12 megalitres of drinking water. An expanded wetlands methodology to assess their greenhouse impacts has been released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It includes constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment, coastal wetlands, seagrass meadows and more. An updated Kyoto Protocol supplement was also released covering land use changes. Drugs firm Novo Nordisk has become the first pharmaceutical company in the world to publish an environmental profit and loss account. Trucost valued its 2011 environmental impacts at €223 million ($341m), with a hefty 75% coming from supply chain impacts such as greenhouse gases released in growing maize to make glucose, the main ingredient in insulin. The volume of new installed renewable energy in the US plunged 70% last year, according to the 2014 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. The fall in wind development, largely as tax credits were wound back, far outweighed a record 4.2 gigawatts of new solar.
WME magazine MARCH 2014
Join the conversation Don’t miss the opinion shapers writing on BEN’s Don’t miss the opinion shapers writing on online Inside Waste News. WME’s online Business Environment Network (BEN). Take part in the conversations shaping sustainable Take part in the conversations shaping sustainable business and the waste and water industries. business and the waste and water industries. Among the highlights: Among the highlights last year:
13 tips to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks 13 tips going to maximise thefor benefits minimise the risks when to market a new and electricity contract – Tony when going to market for a new electricity contract Cooper, Energetics – –Tony TonyCooper, Cooper,Energetics Energetics
The 2011 ‘Mainstreaming Green’ reportand found 18% of signed people Businesses have long called for action CEOs have toonbeto“green rejectors”. all It iswith these peopleintent. who are joint statements, genuine But often it has the always hardest So how we bestindicating engage them? lacked to theshift. urgency and do resources a core business – until now – issue Tim Cotter, Awake – Paul Gilding
There is only one way to fund the water infrastructure that will be required when climate change impacts begin to Efforts by organisations to ‘buy green’ are often ramp up; a taxbyoncontracts businessand specifications that can subtly undermined – Stephen Hale, Change the Conversation
restrict sustainable practices – Hugh Wareham and Alan Pears
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Membrane filtration in novel carbon capture trial Hollow fibre membranes for capturing CO2 from power stations are being trialled at Delta Electricity’s Vales Point Power Station near Newcastle. Much like the technology in desalination plants, the tiny spaghetti-like tubes maximise contact between the gas and the membrane surfaces, with only the CO2 passing through to the inside for capture. Professor Dianne Wiley, the capture program manager at the CO2CRC, said the membranes have the potential to substantially reduce energy demand, while having a smaller environmental and physical footprint than existing solventbased extraction systems. “The new membranes are highly selective for carbon dioxide in the lab but until we trial them with real flue gas we won’t see how well they stand up to industrial conditions,” she said. The custom built rig at Delta’s Carbon Capture Research Facility is able to test three hollow fibre modules at a time.
Walmart’s concept truck Walmart has unveiled its Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE) concept truck as part of efforts to double the efficiency of its truck fleet by 2015. It is driven by a hybrid powertrain of a micro-turbine, battery storage and electric motor. The truck’s cab has been redesigned to improve aerodynamics, with the driver sitting in the middle of a radical pointed profile cabin. The trailer is made almost exclusively with carbon fibre, cutting its weight by 1800 kg. It says the 16m side walls are the largest carbon fibre panels ever built.
Growing foam packaging Proprietary agricultural waste blends are being used in a process that literally grows custom transport packaging. Developed by the US Agricultural Research Service and industry partner Ecovative Design, it combines cotton gin waste and fungi inside a cast, called a “tool”, resulting in a spongy-looking material similar in appearance to polystyrene. The custom-shaped end product is biodegradable, compostable and flame retardant, but has the cushioning strength of synthetic packing material, making it a cost-effective “green” alternative in the US$2 billon extruded polystyrene foam packaging market. The lab evaluated six cotton by-
Only CO2 passes through the membrane.
product and two inoculation methods to create 12 different treatments. The ideal combination depends on the end-use of the product.
Super efficient portable batteries Curtin University chemical engineers have discovered a way to make rechargeable batteries with extreme capacity, potentially powering electrical cars to run more than 300 kilometres before needing a recharge. They have demonstrated a low cost procedure for synthesising the material within the electrodes of a lithium-sulphur battery. The resulting high surface area porous carbon improves the diffusion and transportation of Lithium ions in a battery to improve their performance, capacity and life. Research head Dr Jian Liu said “the technology will potentially transform renewable, emission-free electrical devices and vehicles across the globe”. The carbon spheres could also be used in applications such as absorbents for water treatment.
Plastic bags to energy University of Illinois researchers are recovering almost 80% of the energy in plastic bags in a net energy positive distillation process. Previous studies have used pyrolysis to convert plastic bags into crude oil, but the team took the research further by © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
fractionating the crude oil into different petroleum products including diesel, natural gas and lubricating oils. They then tested the diesel fractions to see if they complied with national standards for ultra-low-sulphur diesel and biodiesel fuels. They blended up to 30% of their plastic-derived diesel into regular diesel and found no compatibility problems with biodiesel. “It’s perfect. We can just use it as a drop-in fuel in the ultra-low-sulfur diesel without the need for any changes,” said senior research scientist Brajendra Kumar Sharma.
Fusion to the 10th power The US National Ignition Facility (NIF) has claimed a tenfold increase in power from laser fusion experiments. In a series of experiments reported in the journal Nature, 192 powerful lasers were fired at a gold-plated, hollow pill called a hohlraum, which was internally coated with heavy hydrogen isotopes. The laser crushed the fuel, triggering a fusion reaction. It produced about 17 kilojoules of energy, more than that directly applied by the laser but only about 1% of the energy in the entire experiment. The result sparked claims of breaking through a major hurdle, but many more remain before fusion might deliver almost unlimited, carbon-free energy. MARCH 2014 WME magazine
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Environmental changes by region
to the state if it convicts the person of a repeat waste offence. The Act broadens the offence under section 144 of the POEO Act of using land as a waste facility without lawful authority, to using any “place” as a waste facility without lawful authority. This now covers the illegal use of a body of water as a waste facility and the change from “land” to “place” now covers most areas. Section 249 of the POEO Act has been amended by the Act whereby an offender may be ordered by the court to pay an additional financial penalty, equal to the monetary benefit they gained from committing the crime, as an additional penalty for the offence.
Tougher penalties for illegal waste in NSW While rising costs of waste disposal may tempt some businesses to cut corners, they need to bear in mind that penalties for illegal waste dumping in NSW have been increased.
he introduction of tougher penalties stems from the perception that the previous penalties imposed on individuals and corporations who illegally dump waste did not outweigh the profits that could be made from such dumping. The NSW EPA has also set a goal to achieve a 70% household and municipal recycling target by 2021 as part of its draft Waste Avoidance Strategy 2013-2021. In response to these factors, NSW has increased penalties for illegal dumping. The new Illegal Waste Disposal Act 2013, which commenced on 1 October 2013, outlines the amendments made by the Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Illegal Waste Disposal) Act.
Penalties for supplying false or misleading information Whilst it is a strict liability offence under the POEO Act for providing false or misleading information, the new Act creates an offence for “knowingly” supplying false or misleading information about waste. This new offence carries significant fines of up to $500,000 for a corporation and $240,000 for an individual. Additionally, these fines may be coupled with a maximum period of imprisonment of 18 months, or the offender may be sentenced to imprisonment instead of the payment of a fine. Currently, the POEO Act imposes executive liability upon directors for offences of a corporation. Whilst these
new offences do not explicitly apply to directors and managers, it is likely that they will be exposed to penalties if they commit an offence under the new regime. Recent case law indicates that liability and penalties, will extend to company directors, especially in circumstances where the director obstructs an environmental investigation.
Repeat offenders The new section of the POEO Act now imposes further penalties for offences including polluting waters with waste, polluting land, illegally dumping waste or using land as an illegal waste facility.
Recent case law indicates that liability and penalties, will extend to company directors If an individual is previously convicted of an offence under section 144AB, and that offence has been repeated within a period of five years, the offence is punishable by a maximum period of imprisonment of two years, as an alternative or in addition to a fine. Under the new Part 7.6A of the POEO Act, the EPA has increased powers to seize a motor vehicle or vessel if it has reason to believe that it has been used to commit a repeat waste offence. Additionally, the Land and Environment Court can order the forfeiture of a motor vehicle or vessel © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
Changes to the waste levy and EPA licensing Amendments to section 88 of the POEO Act change the waste levy regime so that all waste received at any licensed waste facility, not just landfills, will be liable to pay the levy. Importantly, the payment of the levy will not be triggered until the waste is sent off-site for disposal, stockpiled on-site for more than 12 months or stockpiled above any legal stockpile limits. The liability will be extinguished on waste that is transported off-site for further processing or reuse. The payment of the levy will commence with the new provisions under the draft NSW Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation. Additionally, weighbridges will be required to be installed at all licensed waste facilities to ensure that data collected is accurate for the purposes of calculating the waste levy. Further, in determining site-specific environmental risks at a licensed waste facility, the EPA will make use of its “risk assessment tool”. Each licence will be allocated to one of three risk levels, with three being the highest risk. The risk based system will be used to impose certain fees related to the risk level, with the possibility of a site’s fees being reduced over time if there is a level of certainty that the site will not harm the environment. It is intended that the new amendments to the POEO Act will provide an even regulatory and financial playing field for the lawful operators and expose the illegal operators, at all levels. Authors: Maysaa Parrino and Salam Kaoutarani are from commercial law firm Colin Biggers & Paisley. MARCH 2014 WME magazine
NSW: “Finalised” CSG reforms On 28 January 2014, the NSW Government announced that it “has finalised landmark” coal seam gas (CSG) reforms which aim to safeguard homes and high quality farmland in NSW. These reforms include applying CSG exclusion zones to 2.7 million hectares of the State, including Critical Industry Clusters (CICs), residential zones, an additional seven rural villages and future growth areas in 55 local government areas. Some of these areas include vineyards and land for horse breeding in the Upper Hunter Valley. The reforms also include mapping of more than one million additional hectares of the State’s most valuable farming land as Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land (BSAL). On 4 October 2013, the NSW Government introduced changes that prohibit CSG development in or under all residential areas in the State, the North West and South West Growth Centres of Sydney, and within 2km of such zones. These reforms were introduced by amendments to State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries).
VIC: State water law review The Victorian Government is carrying out a comprehensive review of Victoria’s water laws to deliver a streamlined and effective legislative framework for water management and use in Victoria. Water Minister Peter Walsh has appointed an expert advisory panel with legal and water industry experience to oversee the review and make recommendations. The Exposure Draft has been prepared for public exposure and comment. It reflects contemporary practice in water management and government policy. It would enable the delivery of the Victorian Government’s Living Victoria policy and Melbourne’s Water Future Strategy. The proposed changes also consolidate in one place the water management arrangements for a particular area, which will help improve understanding of these arrangements. It targets processes for identifying and managing long-term risks to water resources so they are more efficient; and clarifies and simplifies processes for licences and water shares. The Water Bill Exposure Draft clearly defines the functions of water corporations and catchment management authorities. Furthermore, enhances and modernises the compliance and enforcement regime with more alternatives to court action and new penalties that are in line with the nature of the offences.
QLD: Bilateral agreement changes The Federal Environment Minister has invited comment on draft amendments to the existing assessment bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of Queensland. The existing assessment bilateral agreement accredits Queensland assessment processes for the purposes of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, removing the need for a separate assessment under the EPBC Act. A separate approval is still required under the WME magazine MARCH 2014
EPBC Act, unless and until the action is covered by an “approvals bilateral”. The amended assessment bilateral agreement is intended to apply to projects already proceeding through an assessment process (either through the bilateral or a parallel process) as well as to new projects. The draft amendments are directed at streamlining the bilateral assessment process through use of standardised terms of reference, streamlining of assessment requirements, removing duplication in conditioning and shifting the focus to outcomes-based conditions. It is expected that the draft of the approvals bilateral agreement between the State of Queensland and the Commonwealth will be released for public consultation in April.
SA: Largest wind farm approved Planning approval has been given by the South Australian Government for the Ceres Project, a 197 turbine wind farm development located 20 km southwest of Androssan on the Yorke Peninsula. The $1.5 billion dollar project will cover 146 km2 of predominantly cleared agricultural land and will be hosted by 36 participating landowners. Once operational, it will be not only the largest wind farm in Australia, but the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The wind farm will be connected to the electricity grid by an undersea cable across the Gulf St Vincent and should be able to provide power for up to 225,000 households. The project is anticipated to be fully operational by the end of 2016; nevertheless there does still appear to be some uncertainty about how the development will unfold given the major review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) currently being pursued by the Commonwealth Government.
WA: Reporting obligations The Western Australia Department of Environment Regulation (DER) is close to completing its review of the Contaminated Sites Act that began in 2012. The DER considers that the Act is working well overall, but could be fine-tuned to make it simpler, more transparent and more proportionate. Following stakeholder responses received in the first round of public consultation last year, the DER looks likely to change four key areas of the Act, including a new reporting obligation for environmental consultants. By reviewing the consultation submissions received in 2013 the DER has identified four key areas for reform, as set out in full in the DER’s Discussion Paper released in November 2013: 1. Expanded scope of duty to report 2. Proposed new classification – ‘contamination- investigation required’ 3. Are the mandatory disclosure requirements clear? 4. Proposed new time limit for providing documents to the Contaminated Sites Committee. The review will affect those that offer services that have the potential to contaminate land if an accident or failure occurs; operate on, or own land that is or was historically, in an industrial area, or exposed to fuels, chemicals or similar products; or advise on contamination investigations and remediation.
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WASTE PROCESSING & HANDLING
Incubator aims to unlock recycling innovation Innovation in resource recovery tends to be imported, but a cleantech accelerator is aiming to empower local inventors. By Richard Collins.
alk of the dearth of Australia innovation is premature given the country ranks third in the number of patents granted per million dollars of GDP, right behind the US and Israel. Australia also runs third in the 2012 Global Cleantech Innovation Index for its ‘inputs to innovation’ score. But that’s where the good news ends: it ranks 22 in ‘outputs of innovation’, or commercialised technologies, a plunge the Department of Industry’s insightful ‘Australian Innovation System Report 2013’ attributes in part to an “unusually low innovation system efficiency in cleantech innovation”. So what’s happening to all those ideas? Some are lost offshore, but many simply fail to get out of the garage. Enter the Baxter Innovation Group’s (BIG) novel cleantech commercialisation accelerator play, with its major bent towards resource recovery technologies. “If you go back two years it was all about mining technologies, but they have gone off the boil,” said BIG director John Innes. “Recycling technologies are the current wave. The future wave is biomass
recycling but they are still developing the business model, including dispersed infrastructure for collection, treatment and value adding. “So right now it is traditional recycling and landfill alternatives. They are proven industrial type process, you can patent them, there is a need for them and it is supported by government policy. It is an obvious idea to be taking 20 or 25% of your portfolio in that space.” BIG is on the prowl for cleantech/ recycling technologies and Innes said it could have upwards of 30 on its books in a few years. It already represents a handful of promising opportunities, including plastics recycler PolyWaste, mattress stripper Innoveq and coal-rejectto-roadbase innovator StabilCo. And it is evaluating another two, one a technology for converting glass fines of less than 3mm into value-added products including a super-strong paver and biomedical applications like prosthetics, the other a poly-based foam that can extract waste oil from water and then be squeezed out to recover the oil for re-refining. “We think our timing is just right. We’re © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
finding in all our clean technology and recycling portfolio companies that the early expressions of interest for licences are coming out of China,” said Innes. Indeed an economic analysis by IBISWorld last month forecast the Chinese market for “pollution treatment equipment manufacturing”, which includes technologies for processing waste and recycling industrial materials, would grow by more 25.6% a year over the next five years, driven by regulation. BIG reckons it has identified a gap in the cleantech market that is slowing commercialisation of local recycling technologies. “Look at the big recycling players and they’re internationally owned and Australia is only a blip on their radar. The smaller players are not flush with cash, they’re high volume, low margin operators who don’t have money to invest in R&D,” Innes said. “And look at Cleanaway, they have been through private equity ownership, which is not known to invest in R&D.” By wrapping inventors with a full service commercialisation offering – including legal, marketing, finance, MARCH 2014 WME magazine
engineering and business development – they’re hoping to unlock innovations with international scope and capital raising potential of $2-5 million. So what are the technologies?
Dirty plastics Polywaste has developed a system to economically clean up even low grade, low value plastics, including food contaminated and agricultural plastic film through to oil-coated HDPE drums. Inventor Ross Collins said the technology eliminates traditional granulators by feeding plastics (unwashed) direct to a Polywaste unit, which produces a molten output that can then be used as extruder feedstock without further washing or granulation. Any dirt is distributed through the plastic and acts as a filler. Collins said it halved the energy use by avoiding a separate pelletisation stage, which then requires reheating. Proof of concept trials are underway using shampoo bottles, oil containers, cheese wrappers, liquid carton board drink containers, margarine and yoghurt tubs, while a 3000 tonnes per annum plant is in the final stages of planning.
Recycled roadbase Simon Bruce describes his Stabilco innovation as a disruptive technology for local road infrastructure. It takes 100% industrial by-product waste materials, including coal wash rejects, and mixes it to create a highly resilient roadbase. Seven years ago the South African laid his first road, a 7km private road for a Hunter Valley mine, and he’s now running the first trial on a public road in the NSW Kangaroo Valley. The NSW Roads and Maritime Services had wrestled with ways to provide a specification for the material, but finally agreed to the 1km trial. Bruce said the material offered a 25% savings on material and transport costs (it is tougher, so less is required, and lighter), a 30% reduction on plant and equipment costs and a 30% saving in time costs. A lifecycle assessment and carbon footprinting by BIG’s engineering consultants Advitech found the material reduced greenhouse emissions by 72% over the full life cycle compared to virgin aggregate, some 92.6 tonnes of CO2e versus 128 tonnes. “This is a great opportunity for any
country with a coal industry and a national road building program,” said Innes, with China and the US firmly in their sites.
Mattress recycling There has been a fair bit of activity in mattress recycling in recent years, including Mission Australia’s Soft Landing operation in Wollongong. Innoveq is a new player that has developed a “water deconstruction technology”, basically a high-pressure water jet that shreds the mattress down to its core elements in less than a minute. A pilot is expected to start in June. Inventor Phil Cooke said the portable solution was particularly able to address the issue of mattresses that had been dumped and could be wet or riddled with cockroaches and other pests. Recovered materials are worth $4.50 per mattress, but the key saving is avoiding a landfill gate fee of up to $45. It was initially funded by the Salvation Army, which as a result has been offered a worldwide royalty of $2 per mattress. This also helps secure volumes in any country the Salvo’s work in, again opening the global potential.
from odour to compliance, GAIN control of your compostING processes As the intelligent backbone of a waste management plan, Austech’s Compost Management System gives operators comprehensive control of the composting process and environmental compliance. The user-friendly control platform monitors data from site-wide oxygen and temperature sensors and can be configured to perform automatic windrow aeration and support ideal bacterial conditions. Fulfilling a vital component of regulatory compliance, the customised system optimises productivity by accelerating the cycle, reducing the composting footprint and producing a high quality material. Ph 03 9751 8000 ampcontrolgroup.com/austechcompostmanagement
WME magazine MARCH 2014
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WASTE PROCESSING & HANDLING
Waste apps – a new frontier IT-savvy government departments, councils and waste companies are taking the big leap into mobile apps and why shouldn’t they, writes Jacqueline Ong.
ake a look around and you’ll notice that most people are glued to their smartphones and tablets. Every day, business people use mobile apps to monitor trends, make decisions
Calculating landfill space
and communicate with each other. Now the waste sector is starting to take advantage of what mobile technology has to offer. Here are three apps that have piqued our interest.
Litter reporting on the go
An interesting and potentially useful app is the Landfill Space Calculator by IWCS Apps. It claims to be able to quickly calculate the disposal capacity in terms of volume and weight for a variety of landfill configurations including above grade, below grade and lateral expansion (i.e. piggyback). The app has been designed with waste management facility operators, engineers and planners in mind and its calculator is able to estimate gross revenue from landfill fees. The app appears easy to use given it has limited user inputs, requiring users to only enter length, width and slope configurations. It also has a built-in error checking function and allows users to assess recycling and beneficial use impacts through various waste material densities. In its recent update, IWCS included two new functions – an information button to facilitate inputs for side slopes and the ability to clarify information added for identifying data input units.
The Victorian EPA has jumped on the app bandwagon, launching its own litter reporting mobile app in January. The aim? To make it easier for Victorians to dob in litterbugs on the go. “We need more Victorians to become litter reporters and it’s now more convenient with our new mobile EPA Report Litter app, which is available across smartphone devices, including iPhones and Androids,” acting CEO Katrina McKenzie said. “When you see litter being thrown from a vehicle or dropped by a driver or passenger before or after getting into or out of their vehicle, you can report using this new app.” To report a litterer, users need to submit a number of details in a fourstep process. These details include vehicle information, location of the offence, item littered and finally, the user’s details. The EPA will verify the information before issuing an infringement to the vehicle owner.
For more information visit: http://iwcs.biz
For more information visit: http://tinyurl.com/kb3nd4z
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In residents’ hands Designed by Australian-based Impact Apps, the WasteInfo App enables householders to access information about their council’s waste and recycling service and local facilities quickly and easily. It utilises one of the most popular mediums for accessing information with more than 50% of the population using their phone. A valuable service that is cost effective for councils, WasteInfo App assists in education and minimising contamination in recycling and greenwaste streams. Once the app is ready for release in a council area, Impact Apps will provides support, advice and educational materials to promote the WasteInfo app – including a community education plan. Specifically, it enables users to set a calendar reminder for their garbage, recycling or greenwaste services; find out what can and cannot be recycled; request a bulky waste collection service; get directions to local recycling and disposal facilities; report dumping and more. The Wasteinfo App can be easily downloaded from the Apple Store and Google Play Store. For more information visit: http://impactapps.com.au
MARCH 2014 WME magazine
Tips for choosing equipment Wheel loaders and other equipment are an essential part of the fleet for councils and waste management facilities. Greg Sealey provides some considerations when reviewing tenders or selecting equipment from a dealer. 1. Be clear on the job The right machine will depend on the task it needs to do. You should also think about the location. How often will the wheel loader need to be transported and how far? If you’re going to be moving the wheel loader by road, think about transport width of the machine and any attachment. Choosing an over width option can create big headaches if you’re frequently moving between sites. If you’re doing significant road travel or the machine will be working in different sections of a large site, powershift transmission may be a better option. Also think about the diversity of work the machine will do. If it will be constantly switching between tasks, you’ll want a tool carrier that makes light work of changing attachments. If it will be using a bucket all the time, you may want to consider a z-bar for optimum breakout force.
2. Look for the support you need While many councils and waste facilities have their own workshops, an appropriate level of support from your equipment partner remains an important consideration. Look for a supplier who will appoint a knowledgeable person as a key contact. The support commitment should also include an ability to quickly provide parts that the dealer may not have on hand or regularly stock – and perhaps the development of a parts stocking list.
Make sure machines are also matched with the right tyres for the job they’ll be doing. This might mean choosing a deeper tread, a wider tyre or using a particular type of tyre fill.
4. Match the bucket with the materials
times for increased productivity. Breakout force has a direct impact on productivity, because productivity goes up with faster bucket fill rates.
7. Consider whole-of-life costs
6. Focus on breakout force
The purchase price is just the tip of the iceberg. To get real value you need to consider operational costs and resale value too. Choosing a fuel efficient machine, ideally one that can operate a full shift on a tank can mean big savings. You should also look for the latest in emissions management technology to keep emissions down and meet community expectations. And don’t forget about resale value. A bargain buy is not a bargain if you can’t sell it when the time comes. Choosing a reputable brand is the surest way to secure resale value. You might also consider a telematics system that allows for remote fleet tracking. You’ll know where your equipment is at any moment for improved productivity and increased security.
Wheel loader productivity is frequently measured in machine power (kilowatts or horsepower) and lift capacity. Optimum hydraulic performance improves cycle
Greg Sealey is product manager for materials handling at JCB Construction Equipment Australia.
Determine daily production targets and material density. If you work with different materials, specify the bucket based on the heaviest material it will handle.
5. Invest in the right attachments Choose loader-specific attachments to increase versatility, from all-purpose material handling buckets to heavy rock buckets, pallet forks and grapples. To make the most of your attachments and maximise productivity, ensure any machine you buy has an automatic quick hitch. Note that semi-automatic quick hitches are being phased out in New South Wales under a ruling from WorkCover NSW. Other states are likely to follow.
Key considerations are the daily production targets and material density.
3. Choose the right options for durability Choose machines that are designed to protect hydraulic hoses and other components and consider other protective options like under guards and light shields. This is especially important if your equipment will be used in site preparation works where it will have to contend with vegetation and other challenges. WME magazine MARCH 2014
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WASTE PROCESSING & HANDLING
Run-off ‘smarts’ for more resilient landfills Jacqueline Ong reports on two companies that claim to have found a more intelligent, cost-effective and environmentally superior alternative to treating landfill run-off.
hanges in weather, especially excessive rainfall can dramatically impact landfill operations. Treating the run-off is a time consuming and costly venture for councils. Landfill operators have attested to the challenges presented by the La Nina weather pattern that particularly affected regions on the eastern seaboard between 2009 and 2013. Rainfall of 1,005mm was recorded at its peak in May 2011. Such extreme weather conditions are not uncommon in Australia and it is a legal requirement for landfill operators to install batch treatment sediment basins to capture and treat water during rainfall events. However, it seems O2 Environment & Engineering and Turbid may have found a better way.
More ‘intelligent’ approach The problem with traditional basins is that operators are required to treat and dewater run-off manually – a time consuming and costly operation.
The cherry on the cake is Turbid’s “really good coagulant”. These basins also take up a lot of space, which many landfill sites simply do not have. When operated correctly, and ‘correctly’ is the operative word, water captured in a traditional batch type sediment basin should be treated and dewatered within five days of a rainfall
event. However, Turbid managing director Butch Uechtritz said that most operators usually allow their basins to fill up to use some of the untreated run-off for dust suppression, with the remaining captured water overtopping and being discharged via the spillway in the next rain event. O2 and Turbid claim to have come up with a simpler, more cost-effective and environmentally advantageous solution, which O2 senior water engineer Kyle Robson said has a treatment efficiency of about 90% and a quarter to half the physical footprint of a traditional basin. The high efficiency sediment (HES) flow through basin concept originated in New Zealand and essentially, run-off is dosed with a coagulant at the inflow
An HES basin is about 20-25% smaller than a traditional basin.
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MARCH 2014 WME magazine
channel to the basin. Sediment then drops out along the length of the basin and the treated run-off is discharged via a self-decanting system. Robson and Uechtritz decided that together, they could improve the system by making it more “intelligent”. “We’ve moved away from a dosing system that is activated by rainfall displacing a coagulant supply. It’s basically a bucket inside another bucket where the first fills with rain and pushes the coagulant supply in the other out a hose and into the basin,” Robson said. What the pair did instead was create an intelligent flocculating operational device (iFOD). The microprocessor inside the iFOD would measure the amount of rainfall, calculate how much run-off would enter the basin for that portion of rain, and dose the right amount of coagulant into the basin. Since it is solar powered and connected to a coagulant supply via a hose, the iFod is fully self-functioning. The cherry on the cake is Turbid’s “really good coagulant” – one that does not affect the water’s pH, is rapid acting and easy to apply. Uechtritz decided to
test coagulants available in the market before deciding on a product that is currently being used in the water treatment industry. After a few tweaks – mostly to improve its ability to treat extremely dirty water, much like what you might find at a construction site – Turbid came up with the perfect coagulant which it now sells along with its iFODs and HES basins. “We have three main ingredients – the HES basins, the intelligent dosing system and the really top quality coagulant that goes through it. With those three things happening, we could get these systems to be fully operational and effective,” Robson said.
Further intelligence Late last year, Turbid and O2 came up with a more precise iFOD, one that uses a sensor to accurately measure the flow into the basin – regardless of whether a rainfall event has just occurred or not. “This new iFOD dosing system will allow them to capture and treat water entering the basin. So it’s not just reliant on a rain event, it actually treats water that enters the basin at any stage, such as
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from pumping activities from other areas on site” Robson explained. Installation of the basin takes between two weeks and six months, depending on the size of the dam and if the basin can be retrofitted. While Turbid offers a full service, from design to construction to installation, clients are able to choose which services they require and the level of sophistication they are after, such as optional butterfly valves that can control the discharge of the treated water based on the site’s requirements. A system can cost anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000. Despite the initial set-up cost, Robson said that a HES basin is still cheaper to operate. “It’s half the size (of NSW basins) or a quarter of the size (of Queensland basins) and this can make a huge difference to a landfill site as they can use the extra space for landfilling activities rather than a management system,” he said. “From an operational side, because all the manual labour is removed, those guys will be saving a lot of money because they’re not paying for labour for treatment and dewatering.”
MELBOURNE CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE EXHIB I T I O N & C O N F E R E N C E
THE WATER QUALITY, MONITORING & EFFICIENCY SHOW!
15-16 OCTOBER 2014
Book your sta today! nd early b – discounird ts apply
Exhibitors and sponsors offering a wide range of water quality, monitoring and water efficiency products and services will be featured in this ground breaking new event. The free-to-attend conference will continue this focus and will look at how new processes and data management are the future for urban water, water in industry and water in agriculture.
Why exhibit at Inter-Water 2014? ● Reach buyers from the water and wastewater industries ● Meet clients and colleagues to discuss water efficiency and water risk ● Network at the free-to-attend multi stream conference ● Reach key decision makers from government, business and industry Co-located with All-Energy Australia, Australian Sustainability conference and WasteExpo which attracted more than 6,500 participants in 2013! To discuss exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Jay Thorogood on 0488 228 882 or email Jay@inter-water.com.au
WME magazine MARCH 2014
✆ 1 300 794 335 Supporters
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WASTE PROCESSING & HANDLING
Delivering maximum value When it comes to dealing with waste materials it’s important to achieve not only accuracy but also maximum extraction of valuable resources. The following four innovations do this in different ways, Paula Wallace writes. Analyse metals more easily Olympus offers a handheld X-ray fluorescence analyser, developed specifically for the alloy and non-destructive testing sectors, especially companies conducting analysis of manufactured and scrap materials such as stainless steel and a wide range of other alloy types. An XRF analyser uses a controlled beam of radiation to excite the electrons in a sample causing the elements to
“fluoresce”. Each element fluoresces at a specific energy level, which can be identified as a characteristic peak. A higher peak indicates a greater concentration of an element. Technological advances have enabled Olympus to design and build lighter and more compact analysers that are more affordable for smaller companies. For more information visit: www.olympus-ims.com
Bringing glass down to size IT CLAIMS to be the first compact sand glass bottle crusher and is now available in Australia, the Oppressor GLS is a specialty glass reduction machine designed with bars, cafes, restaurants, clubs and hotels in mind. It is ideal for locations where recycling is either costly or does not exist.
Minimise waste – maximise return Applied Machinery is now the sole Australian distributor for the extensive range of Genox granulators, shredders and complete recycling line. For plastics processing, the Genox range is made up of single shaft shredders, twin shaft shredders, granulators, washing tanks and dewatering centrifuges. When it comes to e-waste, copper cable, used beverage cans, etcetera, the range includes shear shredders, heavy duty granulators, vertical crushers (densifiers), Eddy current separators and various types of air separation systems. Applied also provides customers with the option of adding separators to their line in order to minimise waste and maximise return. When shredding cable for example, this allows for separation of the valuable metal components which can be on-sold to metal recyclers, while the plastic can be transferred to a recycling facility for a new life as a recycled product. For more information visit: www.appliedmachinery.com.au
Weighbridges for smaller landfills Most landfills throughout Australia are subject to environmental and reporting obligations, enforced through licensing requirements. Given that small landfills accepting less than 5000 tonnes per annum don’t need to be licensed, they also don’t need to meet reporting and environmental obligations. In turn, there is a lack of data on waste movement throughout regional/ rural areas. The main hurdle to installing a weighbridge for most rural and regional councils is cost. In response to these issues, Accuweigh has developed a landfill weighbridge package. The weighbridge is specially designed for small landfills, whereby © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
The operator simply ensures the bucket is not full and is inserted correctly, switches the machine on and feeds individual bottles through the rubber safety flap on the shoot. The precision cut oppressors, which are each individually balanced, take care of the rest, reducing glass bottles from their full state to a fine sand or grit in a matter of seconds. The machine produces a 90% volume reduction and a safe-to-handle sand byproduct. The Oppressor GLS is simple, quiet and easy to operate, with a crushing time of 3-5 seconds per bottle. Using the technology also reduces the volume of waste in bins and skips and means fewer collections. For more information visit: www.torqind.com
the system can operate unmanned, thus eliminating ongoing operating costs. The price of the package starts at $85,000 and through grant applications under the waste less recycle more initiative, the cost to councils can be significantly reduced, by up to 50%. For more information visit: www.accuweigh.com.au
MARCH 2014 WME magazine
SENG National Chair Alice Howe
From the National Chair
A robust regulatory regime is not optional
nvironmental engineers and other environmental professionals play a key role in the environmental assessment of development in local, state and national jurisdictions. These assessments are typically commissioned by the proponent of the development, then determined by a stretched public service. Increasingly, local communities are challenging the independence of environmental assessments and questioning the capacity of government to adequately conduct a technical review. In these circumstances, provision of competent technical advice and an avenue for independent legal review of projects is
critical to the rigour of the environmental assessment process. The national network of Environmental Defenders Offices provides vital legal support to the community to properly review the environmental impact of projects, in the public interest. I have recently written to Environment Minister Greg Hunt on behalf of the Sustainable Engineering Society, requesting a review of his decision to cut funding to Environmental Defenders Offices around Australia. I have also urged the Federal Government to establish a regulatory regime that ensures independent professional environmental review by registered environmental
MARCH 2014 THE SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING SOCIETY
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engineers and other recognised environmental professionals. Certifying the quality of environmental assessment across all Australian jurisdictions would strengthen the technical and administrative processes associated with environmental assessment and development approval. I urge you to advocate for a rigorous environmental assessment process, certified by qualified environmental professionals, and subject to independent legal review. Our community has the right to expect it. – Alice Howe Chair, Sustainable Engineering Society email@example.com 1
t s d c w ( c o o c
• • • • •
Money DOES grow on trees
n engineer, and economist and an orang-utan are walking near a forest on a hot day and decide to stop for a rest. The engineer looks at the trees, does some enthalpy calculations and announces he has a plan, whereupon he chops down a tree to make a fire. The heat from the fire is used to make steam, to turn a turbine and make electricity, which is then used to drive an airconditioner and ‘voila’ he has nice cold air.
“That’s cool!” says the economist who then chops down some trees, turns them into pulp and paper, prints money and proclaims to the world he is rich. With his riches, he buys cool air from the engineer and sells it to passers-by. He then says to the orang-utan “you’re lazy. If you were prepared to work, you too could have cool air”. Whereupon, the orang-utan scratches his head in puzzlement, walks across the road,
CONTACTS National Chair: Alice Howe 0428 168 354 firstname.lastname@example.org
Queensland chapter: Sandy Stewart 07 3412 4922 email@example.com
Newcastle chapter: Thomas Brinsmead 02 4960 6143 firstname.lastname@example.org
Victoria chapter: Michael Hassett 0407 094 929 email@example.com
South Australia chapter: Graham Davies 0448 652 791 firstname.lastname@example.org
Western Australia chapter: Wahidul Biswas 08 9266 4520 email@example.com
Sydney chapter: David Gamble 0407 294 607 firstname.lastname@example.org
College of Environmental Engineers: Eric Maranik 0409 497 203 email@example.com
ACT chapter: Adrian Piani 0488 901 460 firstname.lastname@example.org
Young Engineers: Ben Gibbs 0413 720 864 email@example.com
climbs a tree, sits back and relaxes, while enjoying the evaporative cooling and shade provided by the forest. He then shouts back to the others, “I might be lazy, but you’re foolish; if you carry on like that, you’ll run out of wood and will overheat”. (Written by an engineer!) The above joke obviously simplifies the situation, but captures the essence of how neo-liberal economics comes into conflict with ‘common sense’, and ultimately the laws of nature. Economic growth is akin to a pyramid scheme that relies on continual expansion, without due consideration of the finite nature of the resources. The laws of thermodynamics will not treat us well if we continue down this path. We need to learn to work with nature and appreciate its value and offerings if we are to achieve well-being and sustainability now and into the future. ‘Moneytree’ policy (pardon the pun) needs to drive innovation and engineering to provide long term value using a full Life Cycle Assessment, whereas the current economy is run on the basis of products with an ever decreasing life – thus ensuring repeat business. The well-heeled idiom “money doesn’t grow on trees” is one of the most unfortunate and misleading phrases that one hears. Let me explain. Firstly, what is money? Yes, it is a unit of currency that is often printed on paper, which of course comes from trees, but more importantly in this day and age, money is a more abstract concept of value or wealth – often represented by a number of digits appearing on a computer screen.
MARCH 2014 THE SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING SOCIETY
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t g b e s t s (
These digits can evoke great emotion if they have a negative sign in front or are small. Conversely if there are, say, 7 or more digits appearing, you should be feeling very chuffed as you are in the top few per cent of wealthy people. In essence, money represents (or should represent) value and allows us to compare very disparate objects, such as an overseas holiday, a shed, a guitar, a painting or even the headband of some famous celebrity. Let’s now turn our attention to trees and what they provide: • evaporative air conditioners (as in the above joke); • purification systems (turn CO2 into O2); • oils (teatree, eucalypt, ethanol); • fruit, nuts, food; • sap (used for rubber, glues); • firewood, bio-fuel; even coal (until it becomes a stranded asset); • structural members; • inspiration for biomimicry design – eg. pumping system, photosynthesis, structural design (pointy trees in snow laden climates, flat in harsh terrain…); and • pollination, shade, aesthetics, aromas, habitats, sporting equipment, furniture and wind breaks. Surely that is evidence enough that trees have value and thus ‘Money does grow on trees’! In fact our economy is built entirely from the environment: No environment, no economy. This is not to say we shouldn’t partake of nature, it’s just that to be sustainable the rate of extraction should not exceed the rate of replenishment (thermodynamics 101). Similarly, the rate of
waste disposal should not exceed the rate at which the waste can be absorbed. This logic of dependence can be taken a stage further in what I term the ‘sustainability dependence pyramid’, where each item in the pyramid is entirely dependent on the items below it. For example, society can live without an economy (and has done), but cannot live without the environment. All of which is dependent on energy, yet this is left out of the more commonly used EnvironmentEconomics-Society integrated model. Energy is probably the defining characteristic of our society in that it has allowed massive growth and expansion. Let it not be written into history that it was also the cause of our collapse. Just as strong companies attain financial success through investing in their people and systems, so too a strong economy results from nurturing a strong society and environment. In other words it is not only possible to want a strong economy, human wellbeing and a protected environment, but an economy at the expense of the environment for short term profits will (or has already) in fact lead to financial crises. It is thus imperative that we fully cost externalities such as land rehabilitation, environmental degradation, pollution, water contamination and GHGs. The issue is not just about the habitat and threat to the orang-utan; it is a decision about our pensions and our children’s pensions. In a future edition, a new sustainable economic model called Ecoper is to be proposed. Ecoper is a portmanteau of eco (meaning home) and per (perpetual), and is
based on a free market economy; live and let live; and clean up your own mess. Either the polluter pays for their own cleanup or society pays later – it’s a simple choice. Where the clean up has not occurred, an enthalpy and entropy based accounting methodology is suggested as a means to attain a ‘true and fair’ value for the cost of clean up – to be paid into a futures fund. It is ironic that ecology (study of home) and economics (management of home) have the same root. Is it not time to better manage our home as well as our energy demand and supply? – Graham Davies South Australia SENG Chair
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Of droughts, floods and awards
t’s been a bumpy start to the year for many Queenslanders, particularly those in the far north who have been battered by cyclonic weather and our neighbours around the state who are facing another season of drought. Many of you may be aware that as at January 28 there were 23 local government areas and four part local government areas drought declared in Queensland (visit the government website http://bit.ly/1o7uBVu). The Qld Division Annual Meeting was held in November last year. At the meeting, 31 Queensland EA members were elevated to the grade of Fellow and recognised for their contribution to the engineering profession. Congratulations to three active Qld Society members – Andrew King, Lara Harland and Steve Posselt. Congratulations also to David Hood, who was awarded the Eric Brier Memorial Award, which acknowledges an EA member who has made a significant contribution
to advancing the public status of the profession of engineering, particularly in the field of sustainability. Your SENG Qld committee met in January to continue planning a program Sandy Stewart of events for the year. Keep an eye on the SENG website and regular newsletters to members for updates. As always, we welcome suggestions from members regarding topics or speakers of interest. Please contact one of the Qld committee members, or consider coming along to a committee meeting, held at Engineering House prior to each of our technical seminars. – Sandy Stewart Queensland SENG Chair
The great rail debate
T Newcastle Chapter
he great rail debate continues in Newcastle, with the announcement of $340 million from the sale of the Port of Newcastle to fund light rail in the city. This initiative has the potential to revitalise the inner city and contribute to an integrated public transport system for the lower Hunter – but the route remains controversial. Should it be located in the existing rail corridor, replacing heavy rail, or run down the main street, competing with road traffic? There is also interest in the Commonwealth’s very fast train proposal, with an upcoming presentation to address the opportunities and challenges for this long-term project. Renewable energy and low-carbon systems remain important to engineers in the Newcastle region, with a number of upcoming seminars on near-zero coal
technology, organic and liquid solar and remote power systems. With solar reaching grid parity with fossil fuel technologies, increased investment in renewables is driving local innovation. Thomas Brinsmead And lastly, congratulations to Pierre Gouhier and Bill Carman, who respectively have been awarded the Newcastle Division’s Young Professional Engineer of the Year and Professional Engineer of the Year. It is well deserved recognition for their contributions to engineering in the region. – Thomas Brinsmead Newcastle SENG Chair
MARCH 2014 THE SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING SOCIETY
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Energy, consumption and urbanism
I South Australia Chapter
hope everyone had a good holiday break and had a chance to recharge the batteries. Talking of charging batteries, an electric vehicle demonstration will take place at the SENG and EESA (Electric Energy Society of Australia) ‘Energy – Driving our Society’ symposium on April 23. Please see www.seng.org.au for details. We have a number of excellent speakers planned, including David Hood, Chris Dalitz on “storage on wheels”, David Swift of AEMO and Professor Gus Nathan. Find out where energy is going, where it will come from and its impact on society. Still on the subject of energy, Alinta, ARENA and the SA Government recently announced the co-funding of a feasibility study into Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) at Pt Augusta to the tune of $1 million, $1.2 million and $0.123 million respectively. The study, due for completion in mid2016, will look into the reuse of existing infrastructure, fossil/hybrid options as well as standalone CSP with storage. Like any feasibility there is no guarantee the outcome of the study will result in a project undertaking. We hope that a life cycle assessment is undertaken with full costing of externalities to ensure a level playing field in the final economic analysis.
By the time you read this, we would have had our February function, with Dr Rob Crocker talking about consumerism. His thesis: “A world of seven billion cannot afford to have mobile phones Graham Davies and computers replaced every 18 months, or kitchens remodelled every five years. These and other unsustainable practices are the result of a ‘sunk cost effect’ – a century of technological development and unsustainable beliefs and practices.” Dr Steffen Lehman follows this with some urban solutions to the problem, such as implementing compact mixed-use urban design for transport, living, infrastructure, storm water and mitigating the urban heat island effect. Registrations to date indicate we should have a very good turnout, as would be expected with such high calibre speakers. Thanks to the speakers and the committee for assisting with these great events. – Graham Davies South Australia SENG Chair
Board of Engineering Practice
T Sydney Chapter
he Environmental College and SENG were represented at the Sydney Division’s Board of Engineering Practice meeting held on February 3 to promote the practicewide integration of sustainability and environmental engineering across the various engineering disciplines. The Board discussed and considered the implications of the administrative and governance changes within Engineers Australia. The cooperative approach of the Environmental College and SENG was reiterated, providing a robust model that highlighted the core discipline of
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environmental engineering, the integration of sustainability and environmental engineering within the day-to-day practice of engineering, as well as the industry outreach and involvement of technical societies and special interest groups.
– Erik Maranik Sydney SENG
Pushing the policy platforms
T Victoria Chapter
he Victoria chapter is planning another busy year of technical seminars and active participation in policy issues relevant to environmental engineers. We have identified a suite of topics to be covered in our seminar program, including infrastructure and transport, communicating sustainability, green buildings, electricity grid modernisation, climate change adaptation and renewable energy alternatives. Details of these seminars will be publicised on the website, seng.org.au/vic-chapter. At the November 2013 EA Congress, SENG succeeded in having a paper entitled “Climate Change Policy – Public Position” accepted for discussion by the Congress. The discussion paper is available on the SENG website under submissions. We are pleased to report that as a result of consideration by Congress, EA Council will establish a team led by EA deputy president David Cruickshanks-Boyd to revise the Climate Change and Sustainability policies. The team will include representatives from SENG and the Environmental College. The chapter is represented on the
organising committee for the ‘Practical Responses to Climate Change’ conference, one of six major conferences to be held as part of EA Convention 2014. We are also advocating for a climate change Michael Hassett related eminent speaker tour for 201415 and are currently considering candidate speakers and organisational arrangements. We continue to be active in the policy and media areas, working with the SENG national board and EA’s national policy and media unit. Input has been contributed to the Federal Government’s Emission Reduction Fund Green Paper and Energy White Paper, as well as letters and media statements on defunding the Environmental Defender’s Office and the Galilee Basin coal mining proposal. – Michael Hassett Victoria SENG Chair
Behaviours and indicators
Western Australia Chapter
he Sustainable Engineering WA Chapter conducted a technical seminar in December last year on Thinking Green / Talking Rubbish: How considering waste is the key to sustainability. It was presented by Rebecca Brown, who is Manager Waste and Recycling at the WA Local Government Association. She discussed how thinking green and talking rubbish, at the initial stage of every project or activity, can ultimately be the key to sustainability. Dr Martin Anda of Murdoch University gave a technical seminar on Sustainability Indicators for the Built Environment on February 26. Martin explained some of the current sustainability assessment tools and data available for the residential built environment in Perth.
The committee has scheduled its annual general meeting on March 31 to form the SENG WA committee for 2014. And we are delighted to have the internationally acclaimed engineer Dr Wahidul Biswas Professor Jorg Imberger to give a presentation at the AGM dinner titled ‘You can lead the horse to water, but you cannot make it drink: the dilemma of achieving sustainability in Western Australia’. – Dr Wahidul Biswas Western Australia SENG Chair
MARCH 2014 THE SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING SOCIETY
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T t e
Looking for a professional home? The Sustainable Engineering Society is a learned society of Engineers Australia that exists to promote professional development and standards to environmental engineers and other environmental professionals. Join the Sustainable Engineering Society for: $84.15 for Engineers Australia members or $101.15 for non-EA members and receive all 11 editions of WME each year, as well as other great member benefits, such as: access to technical sessions, seminars conferences and educational material contributing to the development of guidelines, manuals, student initiatives, awards, policy and government submissions becoming part of a community of practicing sustainability advocates
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Where humanitarian engineering fits in
fter the focus on the national conference in 2013, the ACT Chapter is looking to get back to delivering high quality, informative technical seminars on topics of interest. Our first event will be Emma Thompson from the newly formed Capital Metro authority, who will provide an overview of progress towards Canberra’s light rail project. The jury is still out in Canberra on the relative merits of light rail, versus the costs, so it will be interesting to hear directly from Emma. SENG has also been considering the synergies /overlaps between sustainability and environmental engineering, and humanitarian engineering. Canberra will be holding a couple of events themed around humanitarian engineering, and it will be interesting to explore the
similarities between the two areas. For example, infrastructure is long lasting and the sustainability of places affected by disasters will depend on the decisions made by humanitarian engineers during re-construction efforts. We also expect climate change and energy policy to be topical and will look at holding events with Federal Government and local ACT Government representatives to explore current policy initiatives. With the new Federal Government, we expect ‘Canberra’ to be central to many of our policy discussions. We look forward to continuing to provide our views on what good environmental policy and regulation in Australia should look like. – Adrian Piani ACT SENG Chair
ith the continual growth of social media, smart devices and 24 hour news, it is becoming easier and easier for people to quickly grab the latest headlines or the current big topics. As such the general public awareness and interest in the major environmental issues is growing rapidly as they appear regularly on most people’s news feeds. Reducing the planet’s current reliance on non-renewable energy sources is a common topic and one I think most people would agree with. However, the possible ways in which we can or are reducing our current reliance is sometimes understated. There are numerous examples of amazing sustainable initiatives around the world that are using renewable energy sources to reduce their environmental footprint. For instance, an apartment complex in Hamburg, Germany aims to grow algae in panels on its façade, which can then be collected and converted into biogas that will power the building.
Countries such as Norway and Sweden are also great examples. Some 99% of all power production in Norway comes from hydropower, while Sweden’s highly effective waste-to-energy program means only 4% of all waste is landfilled and the rest is used for energy production. Sweden’s program is so effective that it imports waste from other European countries to create more energy. Maybe you’re wondering how you as an individual can reduce your environmental footprint and help the cause. Choosing energy efficient appliances and using the air conditioner less often are obvious examples, but simple ideas such as buying locally produced products and choosing foods with less packaging will all contribute to reducing your overall impact. There are many other great examples. The Sustainable Energy Society holds regular events and seminars on topics such as renewable energy, as well many others that you might be interested in learning more about or getting involved with.
For more information visit the event page on the SENG website or join our LinkedIn group. – Ben Gibbs Young Engineers Australia Representative
EnginEErs AustrAliA Engineering House, 11 National Circuit, Barton, ACT, AUSTRALIA 2600 Fax: (02) 6273 2358 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Published by the Sustainable Engineering Society (SENG), a society of Engineers Australia. More information at www.seng.org.au
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INSTRUMENTATION & MONITORING
Applying the brakes to earth leakage Rockwell Automation has collaborated with Australian electrical engineering and manufacturing company Ampcontrol Group to successfully test a solution that detects the impact of earth leakage on minesites.
edium voltage variable speed drives are widely used in mining applications. However, due to the high frequency voltage generated by these drives, they can introduce earth leakage currents at frequencies outside the normal power system frequency, which may not be detected by traditional earth leakage protection relays. Earth leakage – the leakage from an active circuit to ground – can create safety issues. As a result of this, mining regulators in various states of Australia have requested that special attention be given to installations that use VSDs. AS/NZS 2081:2011 is the relevant standard for electrical protection devices for mines and quarries. This standard specifies the performance requirements for protection devices intended for use with electrical supply networks utilising earth fault current limitation techniques (IT networks). Earth fault current limiting devices are used to minimise the risk of touch and step potential reaching harmful levels due to an earth fault. Special mention is also made of VSDs in AS/NZS 4871.1:2012 Appendix E. “The standard is of vital importance
to the mining industry, particularly the coal sector,” Rockwell Automation mining industry manager Geoff Irvine said. “There had been a lot of discussion within the industry about detecting earth leakage with VSDs but a proven and accepted solution had not been established – until now.” To ensure that an earth fault can be detected at the input or output of a VSD, a wide bandwidth earth leakage relay is required.
Designing local solution When developing the patented VSDguard earth leakage relay to address earth leakage issues faced by the mining industry, Ampcontrol contacted Rockwell Automation to test the product on the PowerFlex 7000 series of medium voltage VSDs. Testing of the Ampcontrol VSDguard on a PowerFlex 7000 demo system took place at Rockwell Automation in Canada. The aim of the testing was to determine if earth leakage currents are within acceptable levels under normal operating conditions and if earth leakage currents are detectable under earth fault conditions.
Focus On Performance Intelligent Motor Control is an architecture that applies sophisticated control technologies with communication capabilities to Allen-Bradley motor control devices helping you improve system performance and gain operational efficiencies. With the ability to quickly gather, organise and analyse information from your operations, intelligent motor control devices allow users to maximise asset availability; improve time to market; enable an energy management strategy; and protect your personnel and assets. Further benefits are gained by combining the advanced system-wide communication capabilities of Integrated Architecture with the Intelligent Motor Control portfolio. This allows users to implement a single solution plant-wide to address the key market challenges of productivity, innovation, globalisation and sustainability. The Intelligent Motor Control portfolio includes a variety of motor control technologies, from contactors, starters and switches, to PowerFlex Drives.
WME magazine MARCH 2014
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PowerFlex 7000 series of medium voltage VSDs.
In addition, the testing assessed whether VSDguard is capable of detecting earth leakage currents at all frequencies produced by the VSD and trip under all earth fault conditions. The trial successfully proved the relay does work and can detect earth leakage at different frequencies. VSDguard works in conjunction with the Powerflex 7000 drive equipped with a direct to drive topology. Direct to drive topology eliminates common mode filters, which removes the possibility of bypassing the neutral earth resistor under earth fault conditions and maintains the integrity of the earth leakage detection circuit. “It is very promising that we have achieved these results by thoroughly testing the Ampcontrol VSDguard with the PowerFlex 7000,” Ampcontrol mining systems product manager Stephen Sneddon said. “The combination will be beneficial for the mining industry in Australia and New Zealand when complying with the AS/NZS 2081:2011 industry standard and will improve the safety and productivity of a variety of mining applications including ventilation fans, conveyors and pumping applications.”
INSTRUMENTATION & MONITORING
Tool to reduce ‘nuisance’ alarms Honeywell has just released its new DynAMoTM Alarm Suite, a software product that can help reduce billion-dollar losses in the process industries. By Paula Wallace.
rocess plants and pipelines rely on numerous automation systems to efficiently run their day-today operations. But those systems can generate thousands of alarms each day – many of them not serious – requiring
control room operators to quickly distinguish between routine process alarms and critical alarms that warn of operating problems or safety issues. Ineffective management of nuisance alarms sounding unnecessarily can lead to
Top 10 alarming blunders Before diving into the common mistakes associated with alarm management, it is important to illustrate and review the proper execution path. The overall structure of a successful alarm management process is fundamentally the same across industries, regardless of plant size. This includes benchmark, alarm philosophy, rationalisation, implementation, continuous improvement and maintenance. Even with a proper execution path in place, however, operators are still at risk of committing alarm blunders that can impede a successful alarm management program. 1. Operations ownership of the alarm system It is important for operations to take ownership and realise that the computer controls system is also their responsibility and how it functions is determined by their requirements 2. Missing or incomplete alarm philosophy document An alarm philosophy should include methodology and rules for setting alarms, an alarm review to build commitment and consolidate training and an audit process to ensure the philosophy is consistently applied. 3. Using the wrong tools Alarm and event archiving and proper analysis tools are required to ensure that time spent on problem correction delivers maximum return. 4. Neglecting to benchmark Benchmarking is vital to any serious improvement initiative 5. Only tracking alarms Often and mistakenly, all required data is not tracked, such as tracking operator actions and controller performance data. 6. Assuming users will read documentation The easiest way to undermine effective alarm management is to implement a solution without giving personnel the hands-on training they need. 7. Cutting resources corners Facilities that try to minimise costs by reducing the alarm rationalisation team will usually find their project fails. 8. Incorporating alarm rationalisation in incident investigations The biggest offenders in creating nuisance alarms after reationalisations are incident investigations and layer-of-protection analysis. 9. Adding dynamic alarming too early Rationalisation needs to be completed prior to applying dynamic alarming and in most cases, rationalisation will resolve the alarming issue itself. 10. Lack of accountability Failure to assign roles and responsibilities is the most common and deadly oversight in an alarm management project.
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incidents that cost the process industry billions of dollars. They also pose an increased risk of fatigue and stress for operators who must constantly make instant decisions on how to respond when an alarm sounds. DynAMo Alarm Suite can reduce overall alarm count by as much as 80%, as well as identifying maintenance issues, and increase visibility of critical alarms that require urgent attention. Its customisable, role-based dashboard enables operators, engineers and managers to view the health of their alarm system at a glance. A key feature of the new software is that it is compatible with many mobile devices, enabling personnel to view alarm metrics at any time, from almost any location. This ease of access enables more frequent monitoring and faster corrective action, which helps alleviate a major fatigue factor of operators.
Proving its worth While we know that reducing the alarm count will save companies money, it’s more challenging to provide an ROI on a case-by-case basis because the nature of DynAMo means that incidents are prevented before you know about them, so it is difficult to measure, said Darren Wyllie, general manager – Pacific, advanced solutions. He told WME: “International standards have stated that an alarm target for an operator should be approximately one every 10 minutes, however some control room operators can deal with up to 4000 alarms per day. The DynAMo Alarm Suite is an effective tool for optimising alarm management programs to prevent alarm floods and ‘chatter’, and reduce operator stress. The software offers a layer of protection to minimise unplanned outages, safety incidents and environmental releases. “I can think of a number of examples where there has been an environmental MARCH 2014 WME magazine
excursion at a site where an alarm was raised but missed by the operator,” said Wyllie. He explains that an operator facing excessive alarm noise may not have been alerted to the issue early enough to avoid the situation, resulting in environmental hazards such as the uncontrolled release of gas to atmosphere or fluids onto the ground. One of the major issues DynAMo helps to prevent is the operation shutdown that can occur when an incident is overlooked, and the resulting burden on energy consumption. In Australia, DynAMo is a product predominantly used in large projects with our mining and oil and gas clients, but is still applicable to other industry according to Wyllie, such as wastewater treatment and food processing. “Bascially anywhere where a process needs to be monitored and managed,” he said. A simple example in a foodmanufacturing environment could be the situation where large volumes of fluid for the process are being heated. If this process is taken offline due to an overlooked incident, there can be wasted
Technology that can prevent alarm ‘chatter’ and reduce operator stress.
energy from the heating process, resulting in excessive energy consumption. “In a wastewater management environment, we have worked with clients who have covers over treatment ponds to collect and burn gas,” he said. “If this gas is released without burning, an environmental hazard can result, causing serious health threats to surrounding residents. With solutions like DynAMo, processes can be properly monitored to avoid such situations. It can also assist in better management of health threats and customer safety issues from unwanted
waste products fouling the production environment. “For instance, food manufacturing processes produce by-products, and although they may not have the same harsh affects as chemicals, they still need to be managed. We work with a wastewater management company that has been using Honeywell’s alarm management technology and has shared with us that reducing nuisance alarms has allowed their operators to focus on managing the process,” said Wyllie, adding that it was a similar story in a range of manufacturing industries.
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INSTRUMENTATION & MONITORING
Promag 400 and Promag 800 users benefit multiple times over with: • Accurate billing of the supplied water volumes; • Assured compliance with guidelines and regulations; and • Reduction of operating costs by means of optimum process automation.
New flow meters don’t skip a beat
“ A real alternative to ultrasonics at an amazingly reasonable price.”
New from VEGA: Radar level measurement specifically for the water and sewage sector. The radar sensor VEGAPULS WL 61 is ideal for any applications involving distance, level and flow measurement in water preparation and sewage treatment. Completely unfazed by weather or surface conditions, radar technology delivers precise monitoring of water levels, ensuring reliable measurement data and maintenance-free operation. www.vega.com/au/innovation Phone: 1800 817 135
The New Promag 400 & 800 optimised electromagnetic flow meters for water and wastewater, from Endress+Hauser, include new technology that’s based on the function of the human heart. Every day your heart beats about 100,000 times, sending around 7,500 litres (or 7.5 cubic metres) of blood flowing through your body. No bigger than the average fist, your heart is tasked with keeping blood flowing through the 100,000 kilometres of blood vessels that supply your organs and tissue. Any damage to the heart or its valves can reduce that pumping power, forcing the heart to work harder just to keep up with the body’s demand for blood. Keeping your body in good health ensures that your heart is a more efficient organ. The exact same principle applies to flow meters. If a flow meter’s electronics are functioning correctly within specific, traceable and tightly defined tolerances, then it follows that it will be functioning with high accuracy and maximum reliability. Which is essential for measuring points relevant to quality.
How do you verify it? Heartbeat Technology is a new function integrated into the new generation of Proline devices that, in addition to their stable long-term measurement, enables continuous diagnostics as well as comprehensive meter performance verification. This makes it possible to fulfill the traceability requirements in the context of ISO 9001 without problems – where and when requested without prolonged interruption to the measurement. In fact, verification takes on average a matter of minutes, if not seconds. Other benefits of the technology are that the device doesn’t need to be dismantled and it enables the transfer of inspection reports via webserver or asset management systems. The technology can provide complete documentation of a measuring device’s performance and automatically saves verification report results in the device memory. An optional feature of Heartbeat Verification allows customers the freedom to perform meter verifications themselves according to either specified industry and/or regulatory time frames or at any interval of their choice.
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MARCH 2014 WME magazine
SPILLS & HAZARDOUS WASTE
Campaign reverses toxic practices Dave West and Jeff Angel report on the Boomerang Alliance’s campaign with the Australian Tyre Recycling Association (ATRA), which is seeing tyre recycling rates rise again.
he situation that confronted the industry peak body for tyre recycling in Australia late last year was grim. There had been several hundred tyre fires belching out black smoke and polluting waterways; the landscape was dotted with illegal tyre dumps; and the trade in exporting whole tyres to Asian countries was booming. Working together, the Boomerang Alliance, ATRA, Fairfax Media and the NSW EPA have since uncovered the real reason for the decline of Australia’s recycling industry. It was not due to a lack of local markets or reprocessing, but the diversion of tyre supply to illegal operators who could undercut legitimate recyclers (who had the requisite licences, planning approvals and safety measures). Boomerang and ATRA engaged retailers and their hundreds of dealers to stop the supply to illegal collectors. They also presented a dossier detailing illegal operations to the NSW government and prepared for a ‘name and shame campaign. The NSW EPA was prompted to inspect over 280 dealers and found half had no idea what was legal or illegal – being more interested in how cheaply they could dispose of waste tyres. To their credit some retailers like
Bob Jane T-Marts, KMart Tyre and Auto Services, and Beaurepaires were already doing the right thing. Bridgestone and Jax Tyres quickly came on board – and three other national chains are well advanced in addressing their waste arrangements. The result of the campaign has been an unprecedented shift in the marketplace – at the end of July 2013, it was estimated that just 17% of car and truck tyres were recovered and recycled in Australia. By the end of February that number had surged to over 70%.
Successful model The campaign puts two very different government approaches under the spotlight. In NSW, the Environment Minister has encouraged a collaborative relationship that has enabled swift and decisive action – 280 retailers books inspected; 14 rogues under investigation and the announcement of an administratively light but effective regulatory package that includes and a robust licensing/ tracking system using industry’s own tools; new waste levy rules; and criminal prosecutions. Complementing ministerial action, the Australian Tyre Recycling Association has developed a best practice standard
Key facts about tyres • The industry collapsed in 2008, when Australia failed to follow initiatives to ban the export of whole tyres into Southeast Asia • The most recent Commonwealth-sponsored research indicates that each year over 30 million tyres simply go missing (end up in an unknown destination) • The NSW Fire Service reported 323 fires involving tyres across the state since 2008 • The Boomerang Alliance has identified and is monitoring at least 32 sites across Australia • The largest sites contain as many as nine million equivalent passenger units, with at least four sites containing more than one million tyres • Rogue tyre operators have ruined properties and left landlords liable for clean-up costs – up to $30 million over the past five years.
WME magazine MARCH 2014
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Tyre dump at Stawell in Victoria: October 2013.
of operation, tough compliance requirements and an open book inspection where Boomerang Alliance independently reviews each recycler’s operation. In contrast, the voluntary Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) approach will commence soon, with a 25 cent levy, although it has not released details about how the funds will be used. Unlike the NSW approach, the Commonwealth and its industry partner the Australian Tyre Industry Council (ATIC) have not secured partnerships or support across the sector – with the entire independent retail, recycling and environment sectors choosing not to join the TSA. While long term, the TSA may achieve some meritorious activity (but will also largely repeat the steps ATRA and Boomerang Alliance have already achieved) – as it stands today it is little more than an expensive voluntary ‘tax’ that is irrelevant in terms of fixing the current problem. The Commonwealth and ATIC should either embrace urgent action or get out of the way of those choosing to actually do something in a way that provides quick and robust results. Dave West and Jeff Angel are from the Boomerang Alliance.
SPILLS & HAZARDOUS WASTE
Navigating the NEPM The significantly revised national environment protection measures represent a formidable suite of documents for assessing site contamination. Dru Marsh explores the implications for environmental managers.
en years in the making, the new National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure (NEPM) adopted in May 2013, has attracted much attention. Although, many environmental managers are asking ‘do I need to understand this’? Whilst the answer is mostly ‘no’ for day-to-day environmental management, the new NEPM does provide useful concepts that are worth unearthing from the perspective of those managing contaminated or potentially contaminated sites and asbestos. The revised NEPM aims to improve transparency in the site assessment process, avoid overly technical language and offer many practical examples to address site contamination. The changed
approach centres on developing a conceptual site model (CSM) for each site assessment in order to narrow the likely sources of contamination. Its authors hope that using a CSM will focus the soil testing regime and make the final reports more comprehensible to decision makers. Despite its intimidating length, we have highlighted a number of sections (see Fact File) that offer useful guidance in to day-to-day environmental management. Additionally, the NEPM provides a detailed approach to undertaking the site assessment designed to inform development of a CSM and has included a useful checklist that can be competed in MS Excel as part of a suite of toolboxes supporting the NEPM (http://tinyurl.com/n3k8zos).
Table 1: Equivalence of terms used in the NEPM and WHS/OHS legislation and guideline NEPM terminology
Bonded asbestoscontaining materials (ACM)
Fibrous asbestos Asbestos fines
Non-bonded/ friable asbestos
Asbestos characterisation Asbestos contamination issues are subject to highly specific legal obligations under both environmental and safety legislation. The inclusion of a specific asbestos assessment method (Vol 2 s 4; Vol 3, s 11) is based largely on Western Australia’s asbestos soil in guidelines. These sections should be considered for incorporation onto day-to-day asbestos management
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MARCH 2014 WME magazine
Sections of interest given the health hazards that asbestos contaminated soil can pose and the recent media attention this issue has received. The new NEPM introduces a new category of asbestos materials – “asbestos fines” – not currently adopted under work health and safety legislation (see table). The importance of the new terminology is that it re-categorises non-friable asbestos that is either degraded or in fragments (with dimensions less 7x7mm) making this third category of “asbestos fines” equivalent to friable asbestos and, therefore, considered a greater risk to human health. This recasting of some nonfriable asbestos may have very practical implications in selecting licensed asbestos removalists to undertake remediation works and it also remains to be seen whether or not safety legislation will adopt the nuanced approach.
Why adopt a NEPM approach? Given it’s the responsibility of an organisation to identify the appropriate policies and procedures to ensure compliance with environmental laws, the NEPM can be used as a guide to appropriate policy development and on site management.
WME magazine MARCH 2014
The following sections of the revised NEPM may provide useful guidance for dayto-day environmental management: • Volume 1, sections 5 to 9: provide an overview of the NEPM and the approach to assessment of site contamination issues; • Volume 2 (schedule B1) includes a section on assessing asbestos contamination in soil that could be incorporated into more general asbestos management on a site; • Volume 3 (sch. B2) provides guidance on how to characterise a site to identify potential sources of contamination that may be useful to managers wanting to adopt a risk-based environmental management plan; • Volumes 5 and 6 (sch B4 & B5a) set out site-specific health and ecological risk assessment methods that provide a helpful framework for environmental managers to categorise and prioritise site risks when devising actions plans, particularly where they are also responsible for addressing site health and safety obligations (see section 3 of volume 5 in particular); and • Volume 20 (sch. B8) recommends the approach for conducting community engagement and risk communication, particular with your immediate stakeholders. The remaining 16 volumes comprise technical requirements for analysing and assessing specific contaminants, which is beyond the scope of most environmental manager’s duties. Some of volumes may be worth examining if you have concerns for a particular contaminant on a site (such as PCBs, lead, arsenic, petrol products).
Using the NEPM in this way may enable an organisation to demonstrate good practice despite unforseen events and therefore help mitigate the magnitude of any penalty handed down by a court. Thirdly, the development of a robust environment management plan that
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incorporates NEPM elements may improve the value of your site. Dr Dru Marsh is a lawyer at Lander & Rogers, which has a dedicated safety, health and environment team to provide legal advice on environmental compliance and enforcement.
Envisioning the future through an ‘integrated' lens Some of Australia’s most sustainable companies are taking an integrated approach to corporate responsibility (CR), not just changing the way they report. Paula Wallace explores how one corporation approaches integration and the newly released integrated reporting framework.
estpac’s Facebook page, emblazoned with its latest and arguably most prestigious title as leader of the Global 100 most sustainable companies in the world, is one means by which it interacts with stakeholders and its many customers. Such feedback loops are a part of the sustainability ‘engine room’ driving Westpac’s strategy, testing its initiatives for materiality. The banking group undertook a massive re-think of its sustainability approach in 2011, led by the board. Released a year ago, the succinct new strategy document mirrors a movement in CR towards a more integrated model. It comes at a time when leading companies are wrestling with how to create value and momentum gathers around the recently released
Ten steps to integrated reporting 1 Develop sustainability reporting 2 Assess the adequacy of the stakeholder engagement processes 3 Get senior management buy in 4 Get board buy in 5 Get agreement on your reporting package 6 Determine material issues 7 Get agreement on your business model 8 Develop your value creation story 9 Articulate your strategy 10 Check for connectivity of information Source: Towards Sustainable Business at www.drcaroladams.net
framework from the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), Westpac’s head of group sustainability and community, Siobhan Toohill, tells WME that sustainability is “part of the DNA” of the organisation. “What we’re talking about with this strategy is that it’s very much integrated,” she said. The 10 measurable goals contained in Westpac’s current sustainability strategy relate to the period 2013-2017, however they are based on three primary themes the corporate believes are the most relevant for its business and stakeholders over the next 30 years – addressing demographic change, economic solutions to environmental challenges and helping customers achieve sustainable financial futures. “Integrated reporting (IR) requires organisations to take all the work on stakeholder engagement and determine what issues really impact on the company’s ability to create value for providers of capital in the long term as well as short and medium term,” says Dr Carol Adams, director for consultancy Integrated Horizons and author of Understanding Integrated Reporting. She adds that the process “requires some ‘integrated thinking’ by senior executives”. While Westpac doesn’t produce an integrated report as such, its new approach could lay the groundwork.
Integrated thinking “Westpac Group’s future is reliant on us responding to the big shifts around us,” says the group’s latest annual review. These are expressed in its current © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
sustainability strategy, the result of a massive engagement initiative that was then distilled by the company’s internal sustainability council into the three core themes, with the 10 corresponding objectives. “Each objective is led and owned by a relevant GM,” explains Toohill. Those same general managers comprise the council and take the objectives out into different teams across the business. This could be through the marketing team anticipating the future needs of ageing and culturally diverse customers, to banking teams focusing on lending and investment in cleantech and environmental services and social and affordable housing. “Our approach to determining materiality is through assessing all information,” said Toohill. This includes surveys and direct engagement with all key stakeholder groups – from employee surveys, to customer engagement, to media coverage, to government policy focus, to investors – especially those with a focus around environmental, social and governance areas, as well as its extensive supply chain surveys.
Making connections “Westpac’s strategy is very much around harnessing the capacity of the business to address emerging social issues,” said Toohill and the group is developing more sophisticated means of assessing forms of capital other than financial. It has identified a link between its business and the need to create better financial futures as people live longer and the concept of retirement is evolving. One of its goals in this area is to help MARCH 2014 WME magazine
people gain access to social and affordable housing and services – up to $2 billion is being made available for lending and investment by 2017. This supports a long history of social investment by the group that has resulted in up to $35 million donated to Australian charities since 1999 and $4.1 million to support social enterprises finding creative business solutions to social disadvantage. Efforts to introduce greater diversity into the workforce have also seen the number of women in Westpac’s leadership increase to 42%, placing the group in a strong position to achieve its aspirational target of 50% by 2017. These types of initiatives have played a role in lifting engagement among employees to high levels and have been identified by stakeholders as an area they wish to assess more deeply in terms of value and impact. “We’ve embarked on a piece of work this year to prepare a social impact evaluation framework, a framework by which we will be able to better communicate that difference [we make],” said Toohill. “You’ll see some of that communicated in our report at the end of this year but I don’t think you’ll see a full suite of metrics coming out on that for another year. “And I think that gets to the heart of this idea of how we communicate value." Arguably the biggest sustainability impacts of a bank are through its lending practices. These are, for example in the case of loans in connection with coal, a potential risk to broader value creation, says Adams. Since 2008, Westpac has loaned more than $1 billion to coal and gas export ports along Australia’s east coast, which has drawn pressure from interest groups. However to put that in context, the amount represents less than 1% of loans overall. Additionally, the company has committed up to $6 billion for lending and investment in cleantech and environmental services by 2017. This will double the group’s investment in the sector and includes renewable energy, greening the property sector, water efficiency and waste management activities. Westpac also has an overarching environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk management framework that articulates its approach to managing ESG risks in all aspects of its operations, including loans. This is supported by an employee training program. WME magazine MARCH 2014
Essential elements of IR An integrated report should address the following questions: • What does the organisation do and what are the circumstances under which it operates? • How does the organisation’s governance structure support its ability to create value in the short, medium and long term? • What is the organisation’s business model? • What are the specific risks and opportunities that affect the organisation’s ability to create value over the short, medium and long term, and how is the organisation dealing with them? • Where does the organisation want to go and how does it intend to get there? • To what extent has the organisation achieved its strategic objectives for the period and what are its outcomes in terms of effects on the capitals? • What challenges and uncertainties is the organisation likely to encounter in pursuing its strategy, and what are the potential implications for its business model and future performance? • How does the organisation determine what matters to include in the integrated report and how are such matters quantified or evaluated? Source: The International <IR> Framework
Adams says the IIRC’s framework is a principles-based guide for companies “to tell us about their business ‘in their own words’ as it were, as long as they apply the principles and follow the requirements”. Finance executives have been cautious about IR, suggesting that integrated reports with limited substance will have little impact, but also that it’s unrealistic to expect companies to reveal too much about their strategy. But there are several counters to this argument, including from prominent sources.
"Sustainability reports talk about the process of measuring impacts, integrated reports talk about the process of creating value." – Dr Carol Adams Westpac chairman Lindsay Maxsted has dismissed such concerns, saying the kind of information and analysis espoused by the IIRC is already released into the market “in one form or another” by companies such as Westpac. IIRC chairman Mervyn King put the case to a business group in Sydney last year when he said that much of a company’s wealth is now created and destroyed by intangible factors that don’t show up in financial reports. Alex Malley, chief executive of CPA Australia, representing finance, accounting and business professionals, is unequivocal about its merits. © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
“Integrated reporting is the way of the future and I think shareholders and other stakeholders will increasingly demand more from company reports, beyond the bottom line. “Integrated reporting really means integrated thinking on a whole-ofbusiness basis. It makes an organisation think about what really matters and where value is created, and promotes a focus on the ‘six capitals’,” he told WME, referring to social and relationships; human; financial; intellectual; natural; and manufactured capitals. It is becoming harder to avoid anyway. In March last year the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) published Regulatory Guide 247 on ‘Effective disclosure in an operating and financial review’, which required disclosures similar to those required in the IIRC framework, such as business strategies. “So I expect integrated reporting to become normal practice for top listed companies in the next few years,” Adams said. Malley believes we are yet to unlock the real potential of IR. “I think fundamentally, IR requires a shift in thinking that is reflected in reporting. It is not merely a reporting shift,” he said, adding that he believes it will re-ignite interest in CR in Australia. And CPA Australia its putting its money where its mouth, by producing its 2013 annual report as its first fully integrated report, prepared in accordance with the new framework. For more information on the IR Framework visit: theiirc.org/international-ir-framework
Focus on social impact of supply chain Focus Press, as part of its mantle as an innovator in the print industry, has undertaken a study of the social impact of its supply chain. Its co-author, Fabian Sack, provides insight into the process.
he study undertaken last year traced the print services company’s social risk at home and internationally, establishing priorities for sustainable procurement. According to Focus Press sustainability and stakeholder engagement manager Louise Pastro, it provided major insights into business operations and was a great talking point with existing and new clients. “Our customers are really impressed that we’re leading the way in understanding social impact,” she said. Some might consider it a risky decision by Focus Press to analyse social impact and communicate this to stakeholders – it is never clear what new types of analysis may reveal and it is the easier choice to simply “not go there”. Asked why he commissioned such a novel study, managing director David Fuller said: “When we first set out to understand our environmental impacts 10 years ago, it was new territory for us. In the process we engaged our customers and suppliers and I believe the project has repaid us many times over.” He expects that the process towards understanding and minimising the company’s social impacts will deliver the same results. Pastro says communicating the results of the study to stakeholders has already delivered clear reputational business benefits. “Communications of the social side of things is really important – this is all very new for us and for our stakeholders. They are happy to be exposed to social concepts,” she said. But just as important, Pastro adds, is the business intelligence that the study has delivered. “Not only are we learning the processes that the raw materials go through but we also now have new information emphasising where these materials come from.”
The study also drew attention to core business risks like exposure to immigration issues through employment practices. “We are now considering the need for more policy development around the immigration impacts of our employment practices,” Pastro noted, adding that the results of the study, expressed as a prioritised list of environmental and social risks, would save money in the long term through risk mitigation.
Life-cycle approach The study uses the same life-cycle assessment approach that Puma is using to inform its innovative environmental profit and loss account – but extends the application to social impacts. One of the study’s authors, Dr Maartje Sevenster said: “In this study we didn’t convert the results to a monetary figure because keeping impacts separated gives additional insights and using the dollar cost of social impacts does introduce additional uncertainty.” Sevenster said it would be possible to include social costs in a way similar to the carbon price that Puma used to express a dollar value for environmental impact. “We think this approach has definite business applications in the finance industry, where players are looking for innovative ways of identifying risks, as well as for Australian manufacturing, retail and agribusiness concerns, because of their global supply chains,” she said. This is because the process allows a client to assess social costs and benefits of alternative improvement options. It is the first social life-cycle assessment of the print industry to be published and one of the very few such studies that has been conducted in Australia to date. The study highlighted similarities between social and environmental hotspots in the paper, ink and printing © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
Tracing social risks: Sack.
press supply chains but also pointed to important differences. “Inks, computers and equipment have a much higher contribution in social assessment than in environmental assessment,” Sevenster said. Tantalum, used in the manufacture of electronic components, contributed less than a billionth of the overall supply chain volume but contributed a bit more than 2% of the social risk. Also of interest was the fact that pulp and paper processing contributed considerably more social risk than forestry, despite forestry dominating the material flow. This partly reflects forestry having an extremely large material output with relatively low labour input but also demonstrates the relatively high social risks associated with the pulp industry in some countries. Dr Fabian Sack is director of Sustainably, a social enterprise delivering research, advisory and training services around social sustainability – sustainably.net.au MARCH 2014 WME magazine
DPR not the only option Considering the push in recent times for direct potable reuse (DPR), Stewart Dallas discusses the merits of reducing demand for drinking water and repositioning the discussion about water reuse.
nstead of focusing on how to persuade consumers to accept recycled drinking water, perhaps we should be asking ourselves how we reduce the amount of drinking water we need, particularly when the amount we actually drink is less than 5% of the total supply. It seems ludicrous that nearly half of a city’s high quality drinking water could be used for lawns and gardens. However, that is the case in Perth where the conversation to date has focused on indirect potable reuse as opposed to how water is currently used. If we take the cynical view, the rush to indirect potable reuse and DPR might have more to do with the larger water utilities chasing an expedient solution which dovetails with their existing infrastructure, than a more considered discussion of wastewater recycling and the many fit-for-purpose water qualities it can provide. If we also stop to consider what sort of urban landscapes we want, the overwhelming evidence is that we will need more green space in the future, not less. Now that groundwater allocations have been capped at the sustainable yield in Perth’s metropolitan area, the days of cheap groundwater for irrigating council parks and ovals are drawing to a close. Sadly, it appears that the only debate around this is whether to have dry parks or to irrigate them with scheme water. But it is possible to irrigate these areas with fit-for-purpose treated wastewater. All the wastewater (currently 150G litres per annum and rising) could be treated and re-used generously (certainly free of restrictions) on our parks and ovals rather than being treated and WME magazine MARCH 2014
discharged via ocean outfall. Perhaps once we have made full use of this nutrient rich ‘waste’ resource then, and only then, do we need to contemplate DPR and the associated ‘yuck’ factor with consumers. The sensible way to do this is via sewer mining that puts the wastewater treatment plant as close as possible to the main demand.
The rush to DPR might have more to do with the larger water utilities chasing an expedient solution. Such package wastewater treatment plants are well known in the resource industry as an economical, robust and convenient mobile solution to their wastewater treatment needs. With more than 10,000km of sewer underlying Perth’s ever expanding metropolitan area, you can rest assured that a rich vein of wastewater is never too far away.
What about the costs? An often cited research project by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), which resulted in the report ‘Drinking Water through Recycling: The benefits and costs of supplying direct to the distribution system’, plays up the apparent cheapest option in DPR. But when capital costs of all the four options it explores (http://tinyurl.com/ ln2tf6c) are compared on a net present value (NPV) basis, DPR and dual pipe reuse (the more common vernacular is ‘third pipe’) have the lowest NPVs. The © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
report also shows that dual pipe reuse energy use (flow specific power use in kWh/ML) is the lowest of all options at less than half of DPR; one-third of indirect potable reuse; and less than one-quarter of seawater desalination. Unsurprisingly relative greenhouse emissions and operating costs are almost identical. It doesn’t appear that any price on carbon has been used in the estimates. An important consideration in the economics of any dual pipe scheme is that of the reticulation costs and this is clearly acknowledged in the report. This leads to a costing basis for this option having quite different assumptions to other options, and it could be considered to be less valid on that basis. However, it has been our experience in the planning of several large-scale dual pipe recycled water schemes in WA for the developer to willingly agree to absorb this connection cost entirely. The developer simply passes this relatively minor cost per lot on to the purchaser through the purchase price of the property in exchange for the ‘point of difference’ to their development that such a service provides. Strong community support rather than strong community concern indicates where the community’s values lie and is surely where we need to be heading. I would also suggest it is more likely to win the ear of our politicians. Stewart Dallas is environment & sustainability manager at Josh Byrne & Associates, a multi-disciplinary firm specialising in landscape architecture, environmental engineering, environmental science, project management, community engagement and communications.
When utilities collide in the nature strip Water utilities are coming off second best with telco’s when it comes to putting pipes in crowded nature strips. Richard Collins reports on a growing issue.
(Courtesy: John DeRinzy)
iverina Water recently spent six months and $80,000 identifying a suitable alignment on the nature strip to replace 550 metres of 450mm ductile iron pipe. Ultimately it had to look elsewhere. Leigh Trevaskis, works supervisor with the water utility based in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales said the congestion of utility services had become an increasing problem over the last decade. And given its first experience with NBN Co last year, Trevaskis thinks it is only going to get worse for the water industry, which he notes “has to work with the largest and least flexible material of all utilities on the nature strip”. He raised the issue at the NSW conference of the Water Industry Operators Association last year, in a paper titled ‘Telecommunications vs Water Utilities’. It won a lot of support and calls for action. Trevaskis runs four construction crews and they are all reporting trouble with alignment, depth and clearance standards between utilities. “All utilities within the Wagga Wagga LGA have an allocation to construct their asset on, with communications having two. The problem Riverina Water is experiencing is that cables aren’t being installed in the correct allocation and they constantly change alignment,” he told the conference. Depths vary from extremely deep cables that have been directionally bored to one instance where the cable was so shallow it was encased in the concrete footpath only 40 mm deep. “We intended to remove the slab, then hand dig to locate the cable, but when cutting the slab for removal, we damaged the cable,” he said. “When a damage bill was received from Telstra and we questioned our responsibility for the damage, they stated that as we knew the cable was there, we should have broken the concrete into small pieces by hand before removing
it to ensure the cable wasn’t in the concrete.” Theoretically the Dial Before You Dig service should have solved this problem as utility operators are required to submit accurate plans to a central database.
“The Telecommunications Act basically gives telco’s the right to do whatever they want.” – Leigh Trevaskis, Riverina Water Another safeguard should be the new Australian Standard AS 5488, which sets the guidelines on how to classify subsurface utility information. But Trevaskis said “the Telecommunications Act basically gives telco’s the right to do whatever they want”. He has no confidence in the plans they’ve received from Dial Before © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
You Dig as few have been helpful or even accurate. The lack of construction standards, the vagueness of plans and the roll out of numerous fibre installations, which are untraceable using traditional location devices, means it has had to hand dig or pothole the entire nature strip to locate a fibre cable. Riverina Water is hoping to start a dialogue around the powers of the telecommunications carriers and the standards by which they operate. “Utilities should be constructing their asset to a measureable standard, including alignment, depth, clearances from other utilities and identifiable through marking and locating,” Trevaskis said. “As the nature strip is a shared corridor to be used by all utilities, there should be a mutual agreement to respect others who have to work in this confined zone.” MARCH 2014 WME magazine
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Annual product and services guide for Australia’s waste and resource recovery industry
Buy Gu ers ide
Essen news tial waste at you A indus r fingdver try ertipts
Annu a for A l produc ustra t lia’s and serv waste ic indus es guide try
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The waste industry’s essential product and service guide Env iro
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The 2014 Inside Waste Buyers Guide will provide Australia’s most comprehensive listing of product and service providers to the waste and resource recovery industry.
All companies are listed according to their product/service categories, making it easy for users to find the information they need.
• Includes a premium online logo listing in the company directory, featured on nine Aspermont news websites
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Don’t miss your copy in the June issue of Inside Waste! For advertising bookings, please call +61 8 6263 9100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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The great gas dilemma What effect will the expansion of LNG exports have on Australia’s commercial gas users? In this final piece in a two-part series, Paula Wallace looks at alternative energy options for industry in the face of the gas price ‘spike’.
on Jutsen from energy management firm Energetics says higher gas commodity prices, predicted for at least the next year, are leading industry to make different choices. “Commodity prices will not return to the pricing we have enjoyed in the past decades,” he said. “The challenge for business is to work out how to deal with the price spike/ plateau. We are working with many clients on alternative energy options for boiler fuel and for some kiln operations.” Clay and concrete products manufacturing company Brickworks told the Grattan Institute last year that the price of houses in Perth had risen by $1352, suggesting that higher costs for gas were being passed onto customers. The managing director of Brickworks noted that higher gas prices had prompted the company to use sawdust to fire a kiln in Tasmania and “methane from landfill operations at several sites on the mainland”. There are various energy options being considered by large gas users in Australia.
Independent energy adviser Chris McPherson told WME that given the “magnitude of the problem they are being seriously investigated and pursued”. “We expect to see a significant drop in overall demand for gas by business and power generation as companies change fuels, improve efficiency and unfortunately in some cases, leave the country”.
The deal makers Gas users with an annual spend of about $1-5 million are considering options that may include using more energy when it’s cheaper and less when it is expensive; moving processes closer to cheap energy sources; foundation deals with new gas companies; spot purchases; switching to cheaper fuels; and getting their own gas field. “You can potentially save up to a third on your energy costs by simply using more energy when it’s cheaper and less when it’s expensive,” said McPherson. A recent ClimateWorks analysis estimated 3.1GW of demand side © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
response potential from around 83% of the industrial sector’s grid-connected electricity use. 3.1GW is equivalent to 42% of the 7.6GW total electricity demand that these sectors are estimated to draw from the grid during system peak times of 2-7pm on summer weekdays. Extrapolating this to the remaining industry sectors, ClimateWorks estimates a total industrial demand side response potential of 3.8GW - that’s 10.5% of total grid-connected electricity demand during system peak, including industrial, commercial and residential. Some energy users are also looking to move out the most energy-intensive parts of their operations and locate them closer to the power source. “Even simple changes like moving closer to the gas main pipelines or close to the generation centres can make a material difference to the price,” said McPherson. The largest energy users are helping new producers to create new gas sources and sharing them. “We have seen recent deals of this type announced by Orica and Orora, with more deals to come,” said McPherson. “Some of the smaller gas users are looking into aggregating their gas up into a large load in order to participate in these low-cost foundation deals”. If you take the logic of gas foundation deals one step further, why pay a new gas company to develop a new gas field and sell the gas to you at a profit, when you could develop your own gas field? For the cost of 1-2 years gas spend, companies can potentially secure 10-20 years of gas, according to McPherson. Alternatively, why not try an interesting exercise? Go to the website of the Australia Energy Market Operator and look up the wholesale price of electricity and gas. “I bet the market price is half or onethird of the price that you pay,” said McPherson. “Why not buy some more of this cheaper spot-priced power and cheap spot gas?” – an ideal solution for businesses with cogeneration plants or backup gen sets.
What about other sources? As gas prices double and electricity prices flatline, a switch to electricity for process heat can save real money, says McPherson. Waste gas and fuel are also getting much more attention, with landfill gas in Sydney that was previously flared now being piped to nearby manufacturers to replace pipeline gas effectively for free. MARCH 2014 WME magazine
Table 1: Combined Heat and Power Spark Spread Estimator
Incremental O&M Cost ($/kWh)
Natural Gas Price ($/GJ) 6.00
The table demonstrates the sensitivity of the economic benefit to the customer based on different opeations and maintenance (O&M) assumptions. The 01c assumption used by the EPA means the CHP unit is beneficial in even the most extreme natural gas price environment. However, as we identified above, care must be taken when using the EPA’s model because there would be few customers in Australia that could achieve such a low O&M cost. Jutsen believes there will be some limited development of natural gas cogeneration plants in the next few years that will go ahead based on particular circumstances of accessing low-cost gas or having particularly high power prices. “We are working with many companies looking for other sources of gas – biogas, waste dump gas etc. Some of these will be used to fire cogeneration plants. We will also see some limited cogeneration from waste fuel boiler plant (designed for super-heated steam production) through back pressure steam turbines,” he said. However, Landfill Gas Industries told WME that it was simplistic to think that landfill gas was a viable substitute for natural gas. Dr Jessica North, LGI sustainability and carbon manager, explained that landfill gas needed to be scrubbed and purified to take its methane content up to a point comparable to natural gas used in power generation – a capital-intensive and inefficient process.
Coal rises … again? As gas prices soar and coal prices decline, using more coal or switching back to it can save companies as much as 50% on energy costs. WME spoke with a sports and recreation club in regional NSW about it’s energy challenges – outlined in a submission to the Independent Pricing WME magazine MARCH 2014
and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) gas pricing review – in operation of its small trigeneration system of 150 kilowatts and 236 thermal. Its submission to IPART describes a differential gap between the cost to produce one kilowatt hour (kWh) versus the cost to buy one megajoule (MJ). The company is on on a volume-based arrangement using about 450 gigajoule (GJ) per month. When calculated out and discounts applied it pays $16.38/ GJ or 16.38c/MJ. As a consequence, it is generating a kilowatt hour for about 21.05 cents once all charges are combined. This gives a differential of 4.67cents, which is just above break even when maintenance costs are applied. The company needs the gap to open up to 8 cents to be comfortable and with the impending gas price spike, will shut down its trigeneration system in favour of grid reliance. While the feasibility of such systems varies widely, the primary driver for the adoption of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units is cost savings. Nathan Lim from Australian Ethical used a model from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to show that the Australian customer would save money – even with an $8 natural gas price against an electricity price of 16c/kWh, the rate for a typical medium-size business in Australia. © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
“Intuitively, this should always be the case because CHP units are more efficient at converting a fuel source into useful energy than simply using power from the mains,” said Lim. The accompanying table utilises the EPA model to calculate the spark spread of using a CHP. The spark spread is the difference between the mains electricity price and the total cost to generate power with the CHP unit. A positive spark spread means the customer is saving money when they use a CHP unit. “However, the EPA model assumes a pretty sizeable CHP unit which highlights a key factor when determining the appropriateness of the technology… CHP units need scale to really drive the economics,” said Lim, adding that CHP units were essentially mini power stations that required maintenance and specialist knowledge to operate. The Australian Alliance to Save Energy (A2SE) is developing a program called 2XEP, to encourage governments and business to commit to doubling energy productivity by 2030. Find out more about its forum on the topic being held on April 3 and 4 in Sydney: http://www.a2se.org.au/ To read the first part of this story on the effect of LNG exports from Australia on commodity gas prices and the impacts for domestic gas users, visit: http://tinyurl.com/k69nxx2
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Sky is limit with Stage Lift systems Enerpac’s Stage Lift systems, which have typical capacities of 100-400 tonnes per lift point, are able to move large structures over virtually unlimited stroke heights, overcoming height limitations of hydraulic cylinder strokes. The 700-bar systems can be actuated remotely, manually or synchronised with PLC controls within tolerances of less than 1mm, to lift, hold and lower large
objects while tank jacking and lowering, lifting infrastructure or platforms and maintenance of heavy plant and equipment. During lifting, the stage-lifting cylinders project their plunger downwards and the downward force raises the cylinder body, spreading the plate and load clear of the ground so that cribbing blocks can be placed under the spreading plate to support the load. The plunger can then be retracted to allow further blocks to be placed beneath and pressed down again in order to further lift the load. Product: Enerpac Stage Lifters From: Enerpac Web: www.enerpac.com.au Phone: (02) 9743 8988
Increasing machine builder competitiveness Rockwell Automation has enhanced its free Connected Components Accelerator Toolkit (CCAT) and Connected Components Workbench software tools by integrating the entire machine-control development process. The CCAT is a one-stop solution for standalone machine control design and implementation. A clear start page directs users through the drop-down menu of options. Machine builders simply choose their controller and the toolkit provides a full suite of compatible components and class-leading application development tools. The free toolkit now provides a bill of materials electronically, allowing easy transfers to the Rockwell Automation Proposal Works software, which helps find exact catalogue numbers for AllenBradley products and services, access pricing and build a proposal document. Once machine panels are designed and
built from the CCAT-provided bill of materials, the Connected Components Workbench software enables machine builders to program controllers, configure devices and design HMI screens. Product: Rockwell standalone machine-design tools From: Rockwell Automation Web: www.rockwellautomation.com.au Phone: 1800 7625 9355
No welding on site with new pipe supports Repetition metal fabrication and component manufacturer Swift Metal Services and Anchorage Pipe Supports is offering a new generation of pipeline supports and mounting brackets to the water, energy, oil and gas industries. The Anchorage height-adjustable flange-mount pipe support system is available in galvanised or powdercoated finishes, while the pipe saddles and tube supports can be formed from stainless steel for additional corrosion resistance. The pipe supports comprise of a pipe flange mounting with adjusting collar, and grub screw and locknut. They are supplied complete with a welded baseplate and stanchion. The centreline of the pipesupport system can be adjusted up to 120mm to accommodate height variations across undulating terrain without the need for cutting or welding on site, which offers a secondary benefit – versatility of installation in gas fields, or areas where there is a danger of fire or explosion because users do not need to obtain regulatory Hot Work Permits. Product: Height-adjustable flange-mount pipe supports From: Anchorage Group Web: www.anchoragegroup.com.au Phone: 1800 889 480
Allmand shines on CAPS Australia with expanded range Companies requiring temporary lighting for a variety of open-air jobs such as events, civil construction and open-cut mining now have access to an expanded range of lighting towers from CAPS Australia. CAPS and lighting tower technology pioneer Allmand have introduced a smaller-footprint machine – the compact Night Lite Pro II model, which WME magazine MARCH 2014
provides safe working illumination with a combined light output of more than 440,000 lumens. It is powered by a Kubota diesel engine with four 1000 watt metal halide lamps on an adjustable head, with the bonus of two 10 amp, 240 volt auxiliary power outlets. The Allmand lighting tower uses a sixsection, hydraulically actuated automatic lift mechanism to elevate the lamp head © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
to almost 8m above the ground and can be raised to its full height in 25 seconds. Product: Night Lite Pro II From: Compressed Air and Power Solutions (CAPS) Australia Web: www.capsaust.com.au Phone: 1800 800 878
Ugly Fish to launch new positive seal eyewear Ugly Fish has recently launched an extended range of its popular Guardian safety eyewear. The new Ugly Fish Guardian (RS1515+PS) safety glasses have been designed with a permanent positive seal to protect workers who are continually exposed to wind, dust and other airborne particles. The foam-based backing provides a seal around the eye to prevent tiny particles from penetrating the lens area and the eye’s of workers. The new Guardian, which fits most head shapes, also features anti-fog coatings on both sides of the lens to provide maximum clarity and vision at all times. Extremely durable, the shatter-
proof polycarbonate lenses include an anti-scratch hard coating to strengthen and protect the lens, ensuring it is highly scratch resistant. Product: Ugly Fish Guardian RS1515+PS safety glasses From: Piranha Eyewear Web: www.uglyfisheyewear.com Phone: (02) 4284 7888
Next-generation leak detection more efficient The new version of HWM’s PermaNet leak-detection and monitoring system represents a more compact, efficient and cost-effective way to combat water leakage. The permanently deployed Permalog+ leak noise loggers listen for sound made
by water leaking from pipes all day, every day, transmitting their data wirelessly back to a web server. It is an infinitely scaleable system that saves time, manhours and fuel while enabling a faster response to reduce leakage runtime and minimise water loss volume. Working with Almos Leak software, GPS and GPRS data telemetry lets leakage teams monitor their network status constantly for instant response to incidents and logger location. Data is overlaid on Google mapping, with leak alerts and data showing live onscreen in addition to being sent by email or SMS. Product: HWM PermaNet From: HWM-Water Web: www.hwm-water.com Phone: +44 (0) 1633 489 479
Semco unveils new hydraulic excavator Semco has expanded its earthmoving machinery range to include a Takeuchi hydraulic excavator. The Takeuchi TB260 has a new automotive-styled interior that includes a multi-function monitor and switch panel, electronic throttle control, as well as pilot controls with dual proportional slide switches to control auxiliary hydraulic functions. It also features a more powerful turbo-charged engine that delivers more than 47 horsepower and provides smooth, efficient power. Features include an automatic fuel-bleed turbocharged engine with an extended life coolant and high-capacity fuel filters and radiator; and a multi-information display that works on a 12-volt system with a 50-amp alternator. Product: Takeuchi TB260 From: Semco Web: www.semcogroup.com.au Phone: (02) 9833 6000
Michell’s oxygen analysers ensure safety Michell Instruments’ XTP 601 oxygen analysers were recently selected for use at a Scandinavian biogas producer’s two sites in Sweden. The XTP601 Oxygen Analyser is used to continuously provide readings of the levels of O2 in the biogas production process. It has alarms to shut down the plant if oxygen levels approach the danger level of 4%. The XTP601 provides stable, accurate readings and is capable of measuring oxygen from 0-1% up to 0-50% as well as suppressed zero ranges, such as 90-100%. There are three options for
configuration – a transmitter, a transmitter with status LEDs, or a full display version. All of these options may be rated for either safe or hazardous area use. The full display version of the XTP601 has a touchscreen interface to enable easy operation without needing to remove the lid. Product: Michell Instruments XTP601 From: AMS Instrumentation and Calibration Web: www.ams-ic.com.au Phone: (03) 9017 8225 © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
MARCH 2014 WME magazine
MARCH 19-21 14th International Automobile Recycling Congress IARC 2014, Belgium. Details: www.icm.ch 24 Energy Efficiency in Buildings – Trade Mission & Industry Conference 2014, Sydney. Details: http://tinyurl.com/k9yun6j 26-28 GLOBE 2014, Canada. Details: http://2014.globeseries.com
APRIL 29-May 1 Ozwater, Brisbane. Details: www.ozwater.org
MAY 6-8 Waste 2014 Conference and Exhibition, Coffs Harbour. Details: www.waste2014. impactenviro.com.au 12-14 2014 Climate Strategies Forum, USA. Details: www.climatestrategiesforum.org 13-16 NMW 2014, Sydney. Details: www.national manufacturingweek.com.au 27 2014 International Conference on Environmental Engineering and Development, Sydney. Details: www.iceed.net
JULY 16-17 The Future of HVAC – AIRAH, Sydney. Details: http://tinyurl.com/oeeqkzo
NOVEMBER 26-27 Flow Technology 2014, Melbourne. Details: www.flowtechnology.com.au For more forthcoming events, go to www.ben-global.com/events.asp
WME magazine MARCH 2014
Getting the inside story on trash When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday’s newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don’t want and turn it into something you can’t wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter – veteran journalist and son of an American “junkyard” owner – travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion dollar waste and resources industry. Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to high-tech facilities capable of processing a jumbo jet’s worth of recyclable trash every day. Along the way, we meet a cast of characters who’ve figured out how to build fortunes from what we throw away
– like Leonard Fritz, a young boy who started out “grubbing” in Detroit’s city dumps in the 1930s. Junkyard Planet reveals how “going green” usually means making money – and why that’s often the most sustainable choice, even when the recycling and treatment methods aren’t pretty. Title: Junkyard Planet: Travels in the billion-dollar trash trade Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Purchase: www.bloomsbury.com Price: $29.99 (hardcover); $17.99 (eBook)
Turn cities 50 shades of green The roofs, walls and facades of buildings across Melbourne will be cooling down with the launch of a new program informed by University of Melbourne research. The online Growing Green Guide will help building owners, planners, designers, developers, renovators and homeowners include green plant roofs, walls and facades into their buildings. The guide provides step-by-step advice and examples on how to incorporate green roofs, walls and facades suitable to Victorian conditions. The guide is the result of a threeyear collaborative project between the Cities of Melbourne, Port Phillip, Yarra
and Stonnington, the University of Melbourne, the Victorian Government and industry experts. The Growing Green Guide will also be brought to life through an installation in mid-March – in a shipping container covered with greenery – at City Square in Melbourne. Title: Growing Green Guide Publisher: Inner Melbourne Action Plan Purchase: www.growinggreenguide.org Price: FREE
A call for urban design action Aimed especially at designers and architects, Motivating Change is a call to action for design of urban areas that will motivate people to change their behaviour, making concepts of sustainability a reality. Motivating Change: Sustainable Design and Behaviour in the Built Environment, edited by the University of South Australia’s Professor Steffen Lehmann and Dr Robert Crocker, brings together leading academics from around the world to inspire decision makers, urban experts and designers to play a role in tackling the issues associated with climate change. Exploring the underlying dimensions of behaviour change in terms of © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
consumption, media, social innovation and urban systems, the essays in this book are from many disciplines, including architecture, urban and industrial design and engineering, sociology, psychology and waste management, to name a few. Title: Motivating Change: Sustainable Design and Behaviour in the Built Environment Publisher: Routledge Purchase: http://tinyurl.com/ktkcnpr Price: $74.00 (paperback)
Fresh views and clear voices
Out with the old, in with the new (sort of) The Coalition government is now considering submissions from the community and industry with the aim of producing an energy white paper in September, although the lack of detail to date makes it hard to evaluate its position.
Climate risk The phrases “climate” or “climate change” do not appear at all in the paper, even though – as the graph shows – energy contributes more to Australia’s greenhouse emissions than anything else. Energy production and use – including electricity, stationary energy, transport and fugitive emissions – generate the vast majority of Australia’s greenhouse emissions. There is brief acknowledgement (on pages ii and 28) that the energy sector must play its part in achieving the Australia’s current target to reduce our greenhouse emissions 5% below 2000 levels by 2020. But there is no reference to the possibility of needing to aim for deeper cuts, or of the risks to Australia’s energy sector if our major fossil fuel customers (particularly in Asia) pursue tougher climate response strategies. For example, the Chinese government is under growing pressure from its own people to clean up the country’s deadly air pollution.
Emissions by sector,4 Australia, year to March quarter, 2003-2013 600
he previous Labor government published an Energy White Paper in 2012, which painted a fantasy picture of ongoing energy growth and only minor changes in electricity and transport. The paper and submissions are no longer available on the Department of Industry website. But they have been archived by the National Library of Australia. And there is plenty of critical analysis still available about its conclusions. The Abbott government’s issues paper is light on facts and statements on government positions, so it’s difficult to evaluate. At 46 pages (35, if you ignore the blank pages), it doesn’t take long to read (http://ewp.industry.gov.au/). On a positive note, the paper does acknowledge that we face major challenges in electricity and gas supply. It also seeks to explore potential for “energy productivity improvement” – the popular term among policy makers for energy efficiency. However, overall it focuses on quite narrow, specific and short-to-medium term energy issues, which largely reflect the perspectives of the dominant players in the energy sector. For example, “the appropriate role for government in the energy sector” is linked to “scope for privatisation”. As stressed in the minister’s media release, the paper is heavily focused on “reducing cost pressures on households and businesses”. But the seemingly obvious aim of keeping energy prices as low as possible is misplaced. Instead, we know from countless reports over many decades that Australian homes and businesses could use energy far more efficiently – and in doing so, save significant money on energy bills, even when the price of electricity or gas (which is largely out of the government’s control) goes up.
Waste Agriculture Industrial processes Fugitive emissions
Stationary energy excluding electricity Electricity
Source: Department of the Environment.
The bigger picture The International Energy Agency recommends countries adopt energy efficiency, limit construction and use of coal-fired power stations, minimise methane emissions from oil and gas production, and accelerate phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies. The World Bank recommends introducing a robust carbon price, removing fossil fuel subsidies, and encouraging adoption of clean energy. There is a clear message here for Australia. Yet, judging from this issues paper, Australian energy policy looks likely to limit growth of renewable energy and support increased fossil fuel production, while allocating miserly resources to energy efficiency. This focus is based on a narrow understanding of the role of energy in our economy. It’s pleasing that the government is opening these issues up to discussion. But, given past experience with the energy sector, I lack confidence that views of the community and proponents of more sustainable energy options will be able to compete with the powerful lobbying of the major energy companies, as well as deeply embedded assumptions that the way we use and produce energy will largely continue unchanged. Let’s hope that vested interests don’t dominate this process, as the ‘Greenhouse Mafia’ did in the last Coalition Energy White Paper in 2004. To read more from Alan Pears on why energy efficiency needs an independent authority like Geosciences Australia to identify opportunities and drive cultural change, visit: http://tinyurl.com/mq5d9zv Author: Alan Pears is a senior lecturer at RMIT University specialising in energy and climate response, and director of consultancy Sustainable Solutions. This article includes material that previously appeared on The Conversation: http://theconversation.com.au
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MARCH 2014 WME magazine
Join us at the 8th Annual WIOA NSW Water Industry Operations Conference and Exhibition
Water Industry Operations ORANGE PCYC – 2-3 April Conference & Exhibitions Promoting best practice in water management by building the knowledge, skills and networks of industry operators All water industry personnel involved in the operation and maintenance of urban, rural and industrial water related infrastructure for the management, conveyance, treatment, discharge and reuse of water and trade wastes should attend this conference. If you're an operator, manager, engineer, consultant or professional or someone who is working in the water industry or just has an interest in water, then this is a must attend event.
REGISTER NOW! To view the conference program and find out how to register, visit www.wioa.org.au/2014conferences/nsw.htm
The PCYC is located at 2-10 Seymour Street Orange, NSW 2800
Organising association Water Industry Operators Association of Australia PO Box 6012 Shepparton, Victoria 3632 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 03 5821 6744 Fax:03 5821 6033 Web: www.wioa.org.au
Position your company as a leader in water management – sponsorship opportunities still available. Take advantage of the opportunity to align your company as a supporter of the leading non-profit organisation serving the needs of operators in the water industry.
For more information on sponsorship, www.wioa.org.au/2014conferences/sponsorship.htm
epigen © Aspermont Limited – courtesy WME
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