BALLARAT’S bioenergy future could be boosted tonight.
Ballarat City Council will vote on sending its public spaces and environment manager Ian Rossiter to the World BioEnergy 2012 Conference in Sweden next month.
The conference, held in Jonkoping from May 28 to June 1, will study converting municipal waste to energy bio-fuels, and agricultural and forestry biomass to energy.
It will cost $5500, including $1000 in accommodation and $1500 for conference registration.
It would also include $3000 in economy air fares, which is a change from the council’s usual policy of sending councillors and council officers business class.
Ballarat already has a major regional bioenergy project under way, the $50,000 state government-funded Greenwaste to Energy Project which is assessing three potential sites for a waste-to-energy facility.
The project is also looking at different feed stocks to reduce organic waste going to landfill.
In a report to the council, Mr Rossiter said Victorian BioEnergy Network member Andrew Lang asked a representative be sent to the conference and pushed for Ballarat to become a regional bioenergy centre.
“Council will be required to spend $4.6 million on waste management services in the coming financial year and invest up to $3 million annually in regional facilities such as the Smythesdale landfill,” Mr Rossiter said.
“At a time of rapidly rising energy and waste disposal costs, the concept of waste-to-energy facilities for the region is being investigated at all levels of government.”
He said the primary bioenergy sources studied at the conference would be forest product residues, crop residues, municipal waste, organic waste such as sewage sludge, green waste and bio-fuel crops.
“With all these feed stocks being available in the Central Highlands region, considerable scoping has been carried out to quantify their annual yields in anticipation of bioenergy projects being implemented in coming years.”
Councillor Noel Perry, who is the Central Highlands Regional Waste Management Group chairman, has previously said waste-to-energy solutions had to be found urgently, saying Ballarat had to be brave like Korea, which was burning solid waste to convert it to diesel.
“We’ve got to come up with solutions,” he said.
“ We can’t just keep sending stuff to landfill.”