According to the CRC CARE, a government-funded research and development organisation, there are more than 160,000 potentially contaminated sites in Australia.
RENEX, the company behind Australia’s first permanently located contaminated soil treatment and resource recovery facility, was specifically established to accept and treat contaminated soils and other industrial waste that would otherwise have been destined for landfill disposal. Richard Jeffares, RENEX’s Business Development Executive, says that RENEX extensively evaluated several thermal technologies and found that pyrolysis rotary kiln technology was the safest, cleanest and most reliable for its needs.
Richard explains the process: “Pyrolysis is the thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen (or any halogen) and is an irreversible process. The waste is not in contact with flame or combustion gases and the soil structure remains intact post-treatment with maximum re-use potential.
“In addition, the risk of combustion is eliminated and there is minimal risk of dioxin formation because of the oxygen-free environment. “In fact, the plant boasts extremely high energy efficiency, as the treated materials provide energy for operating the plant and can treat very high organic contaminant loads,” Richard adds, noting it can also treat volatile metals like mercury and accept a wide variety of matrices (solid, sludge, liquid).
The state-of-the-art facility meets the latest and most stringent environmental regulations and is equipped with hardware that fully complies with the highest international operating standards. It delivers significant benefits over other facilities, including a plant capacity of 70,000 tonnes per annum, says Richard.
EPSA has supplied RENEX with an enclosed Cat® C15 (rated at 550 kVA standby) as the backup generator for the facility, an element that Tristan Roberts, RENEX’s General Manager, describes as “of critical importance”.
”If we do experience any power outages, the generator will provide emergency power to bring our plant to a safe state. The reliability of this backup generator is a big factor for us, as sudden temperature changes could cause significant damage and the cost to replace would be in the millions
EPSA’s National Business Manager EP – Retail, Dave Cronin says the Cat C15 “exceeded the expectations of RENEX from a technical perspective. Our engineering team were heavily involved with testing to ensure the genset would perform as expected. “It was a collaborative effort by all parties to ensure the genset was the right unit for the installation,” he adds.
Richard says the first soil was turned onsite in September 2012 for the construction of the 11,000 square metre fully enclosed building, with the installation of the pyrolysis rotary kiln technology getting underway in late 2013. RENEX acknowledges support from Victoria’s HazWaste Fund for the facility.
Says Richard: “We received approval from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria in November 2013 to commence receiving and storing contaminated soils in preparation for treatment. Twelve months later we received the required approval to commence our ‘Proof of Performance’ program. We are on schedule to be fully operational
by mid 2015.”
“We are proud to work with a company that has committed to developing and implementing clean technology solutions to eliminate hazardous wastes,” adds Dave.
“What RENEX has done contributes to the long-term health and benefits of local communities and the trusted name of Cat will certainly support them in this quest.”