SUEZ 3 (previously known as SUEZ Waste) proposes building and operating a cogeneration plant, primarily designed in providing electricity and steam in the operation of the Opal Paper and Recycling Mill, situated in the current Botany industrial area. But what is a cogeneration plant?
Defining Cogeneration Plant
A cogeneration plant at Suez is a power plant that generates both electricity and heat (called cogeneration). These facilities produce steam and electricity by burning natural gas, which is then used to produce steam, which is then used to generate electricity. The heat from the steam is used by the facility to produce hot water, which is used for heating or cooling.
When heat is taken out of the building, the heat is converted to electricity, so the building doesn’t need to rely on a utility grid for heat. Cogeneration plants are used for more than just heating buildings, however. They can also be used to generate electricity. The electricity generated can be sold back to the utility company, and any excess can be sold to a third party.
To work with Opal, SUEZ means to continue its proposal in developing a $250M energy recovery facility (ERF) on its existing site in the Botany industrial area. The ERF would be one of the largest waste-to-energy plants in Australia, treating up to 500,000 tons of waste per year. The plant is designed to recover energy through gasification, a process by which waste is burned in the presence of oxygen to produce steam and carbon dioxide. The steam would be transported to the Opal Paper and Recycling Mill, where it would be used as a power source for paper manufacturing. The Opal mill has agreed to purchase the energy produced by the proposed new cogeneration facility, and this energy would be sold into the regional energy market. The new plant is anticipated to increase energy output by 20 megawatts to meet Opal’s current and future energy needs.
Is There an Advantage When This Plant Is Built?
The advantages are many. The cogeneration plant can supply 10 percent or even 20 percent of the thermal and electric energy needed for a refinery or petrochemical plant. Furthermore, electric power can be used directly or in a decentralized manner.