A $1.8m investment in saving the planet

Rodney Stevens

A $1.8-MILLION investment by Big River Timbers in electricity co-generation has led to the Junction Hill mill being recognised as the first timber industry operator of a wood waste power station in NSW. Big River Timbers general manager Jim Bindon said the environmentally-friendly project was given the green light by the company board in late 2005 after $368,000 was contributed by the Howard Government's Forestry Industry Structural Adjustment Package (FISAP) . "Without the FISAP funding this project simply wouldn't have happened," Mr Bindon said. The co-generation process involves steam generated from production waste burned in the mills' boiler being used to drive a German-engineered steam engine unit, which generates in the order of 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per day. Mr Bindon said about 60 tonnes of waste per day was currently put through the plant. "About 40 to 50 per cent of our power is currently generated by the co-generation electricity plant," he said. NSW Shadow Forestry spokesman Andrew Fraser said electricity co-generation by Big River Timbers put the company at the forefront of technology in the timber industry. "I think the industry will be watching very closely and there is the opportunity for many other companies to adopt this sort of technology," Mr Fraser said. Forests NSW acting commercial services director Martin Grealy applauded Big River Timbers' foray into co-generation technology. "There is the scope for not only use of their own waste, but other people's waste which could produce electricity to be part of the grid," he said. Clarence Valley Council mayor Ian Tiley said council supported 'this great initiative'. "It is responding to the challenge that we are all facing ? climate change," he said.



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