Scott Grierson and Lisa Owens of Valorify presented the GMWY project to the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) Taskforce during their August meeting.  The Taskforce members work together to implement the eight Resilience Principles as detailed in the Goulburn Murray Resilience Strategy established in 2020.

As highlighted during the presentation, the GMWY project is very much aligned with the Strategy and supports the Resilience Implementation Plan through:

  • Providing the local Indigenous and the Greater Shepparton communities the opportunity to learn and implement new skills.
  • Supporting and encouraging Indigenous led entrepreneurship through direct equity carry in the project.
  • Engaging Yurringa Energy, a Yorta Yorta business, as a major project partner, to co-develop the renewable energy asset and participate in downstream offtake and retailing of energy products.
  • Providing primary producers and food processors with alternative means to manage waste streams.
  • Presenting a platform for improved carbon and nutrient management on farms, potentially also reducing operating costs and improving crop productivity.
  • Providing a network to support the local Circular Economy by taking waste streams and converting these into bio-fertiliser, bioenergy, and biogenic carbon dioxide, and thereafter recycling process water and returning nutrients, minerals, and carbon back to local soil.
  • Supporting decarbonisation of the mains gas supply as well as potentially delivering firmed electricity supply to complement asynchronous wind and solar PV generation in the network.

The supply of feedstock is critical to the success of the project and discussions during the meeting confirmed that a surplus of cereal crop stubble is produced on farms in the Loddon-Campaspe region per year, representing substantially more than the total amount of straw required by the biomethane generation facility when operating at full capacity.  It was also noted that over 400,000 tonnes per annum of other agricultural and food processing wastes such as vegetable plant residues and tomatoes are generated which again more than accommodates the required amount of organic (non-straw) loading into the proposed renewable gas facility several times over.

The process to secure this feedstock has commenced with meetings with local growers and major food processors well underway.

Another interesting point raised was that CO2 is an important input for desalination and with increasing interest in the desalination of groundwater used for irrigation over the coming years, the biogenic CO2 output from the project could play a significant role in this desalination process, particularly noting the current limited supply of industrial CO2 to Australian industry.

As illustrated by the extended Q&A session that followed the Valorify presentation, the GMID Resilience Task Force team showed a genuine interest in the project that will stimulate investment, lift regional GDP, and create a range of exciting, clean energy jobs for local people.