Gas From Household Waste Fuels Fish Farm - Veolia Wins Fifth Consecutive Australian Business Award

A ground-breaking innovation that turns ordinary household and commercial waste into energy to heat a fish farm has won Veolia, Australia’s leader in environmental solutions, two major national awards.

For the fifth year running, Veolia has won a prestigious Australian Business Award (ABA), which recognises organisations that have made a significant contribution through effective products, processes or ideas that result in environmental or social improvements. Veolia was awarded both the 2014 ABA for Innovation, and the ABA for Sustainability.  

These two accolades recognise an aquaculture project implemented by Veolia, which uses excess energy harnessed from landfill gas engines to heat a major aquaculture farm.

Veolia uses state-of-the-art technology to capture and combust gas produced from landfill, transforming this into electricity at its Woodlawn bioenergy facility, located near Goulburn, 250km south-west of Sydney. 

Woodlawn currently generates 30,000 MWh of electricity per year, enough to power approximately 5,000 homes. Heat from the gas engines is then captured and used to heat water to ensure optimal conditions for fish farming; effectively eliminating the costs of heating the water through conventional gas or electricity.  

In fact, five years after Veolia conducted the first tests, the company has now started to sell farmed barramundi from the tanks to shops and restaurants in nearby Canberra.

According to Managing Director Doug Dean, Veolia designed its Woodlawn facility in 2005 with a view to making the site as self-sufficient as possible.

"We wanted the facility to be as sustainable as possible while taking advantage of every opportunity to turn everyday waste collected from homes and businesses across the State, into a resource. Capturing and utilising heat generated by our landfill gas engines has brought us one step closer to ensuring a wholly sustainable method of aquaculture from production to point of sale. This process has allowed Veolia to benefit from a previously untapped sustainable resource.  At present, the facility can produce up to 2.5 tonnes of barramundi each year, which contributes to sustainable food production within Australia."

Mr Dean said Veolia took its role as a leader within environmental solutions seriously. By identifying opportunities to utilise resources that would otherwise be wasted, Veolia is delivering an alternative solution to not only food manufacturers, but also end-users to be more aware of how their food is sourced, produced and ultimately consumed. 

"What we are doing at Woodlawn is a great example of innovation and sustainability at its very best."We are closing the loop and delivering beneficial environmental and social outcomes for the Australian community."