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Power-couple: MDC and Powerco Exploring Renewable Energy Source Initiative

An environmentally-conscious collaboration between Powerco and the Manawatū District Council will see the two investigating ways of upgrading the biogas produced by the Manawatū Wastewater Treatment Plant Anaerobic Digestion system to form renewable natural gas for use in Powerco’s gas network.

Think of it as recycling but of energy. If not repurposed, the biogas produced by the Council’s Anaerobic Digestion system is flared. By working together to upgrade the biogas produced so it is suitable for Powerco’s gas network, Manawatū District Council and Powerco plan to reduce the environmental impact of the wastewater treatment plant’s operations, and provide a sustainable  solution for energy sourcing within the Manawatū district and beyond.

“This is a real opportunity for the waste sector to work with the energy sector, to work with the ag sector and the manufacturing sector,” says Don Elers, Powerco’s General Manager, Gas. “We need to do a much better job at managing our waste and reduce the environmental impact. That creates opportunity for energy consumers. And if we can marry those things together, that gives us a jump start on opportunities like this.”

Hamish Waugh, General Manager of Infrastructure at the Manawatū District Council adds, “This new partnership is complemented by our Council’s long-term commitment to separate industrial wastewater from industry in Feilding via a separate trade waste pipeline over the next 10 years. This long-term investment will reduce the impact that high nutrient industrial wastewater streams have on our wastewater treatment plant, lead to environmental benefits for the Ōroua River, and maximise the biogas production potential of our anaerobic digestion system.”

The Manawatū District Council is interested in hearing from the agricultural and manufacturing sector with organic waste streams that may have an interest in being involved with the shared initiative with Powerco. The benefits of collaboration to direct additional organic waste streams to the wastewater treatment plant site in Feilding include cost-savings, environmental sustainability and reducing the emissions from organic waste.

Wastewater Treatment Plant

📸: Photos supplied by Powerco