Going green’s a win for abattoir

Minister for Major Projects Denis Napthine with Jon Hayes at the Wodonga abattoir. Picture: DAVID THORPE
Minister for Major Projects Denis Napthine with Jon Hayes at the Wodonga abattoir. Picture: DAVID THORPE

A GIANT, 12-metre-long engine using natural gas to generate electricity will cut the Wodonga abattoir’s power bill by more than half-a-million dollars and its greenhouse gases by 40 per cent.

Wodonga Rendering hopes to have the $4.23 million tri-generation power plant operational within 12 months.

Yesterday the Victorian government added $1 million to the project, less than a week after the commonwealth offered a similar amount.

The abattoir’s general manager Jon Hayes said rising electricity costs had fuelled a two-year search for an alternative power source.

“Had we not embarked on this course electricity would have made up 10 per cent of our business costs threatening our viability, our future,” he said

“We are an export company. We couldn’t ask our customers to pay more, particularly with the high Australian dollar.

“But this technology is prevalent in Europe.

“We will use natural gas to offset our electricity costs, hot water and steam are the by-products that will then be used to clean the abattoirs.

“It will cost $200,000 for gas but reduces our electricity bill by about $760,000 a year and our carbon emissions by 11,500 tonnes.”

Member for Benambra Bill Tilley said the funding was another example of the Coalition government partnering with regional businesses to help grow jobs and economies.

“Our funding will help Wodonga Rendering buy and install a natural gas-fuelled, reciprocating engine driving a 415-volt alternator to deliver two megawatts of three-phase, 50 Hertz electrical power,” he said.

“In addition to the 350 full-time staff, Wodonga Rendering also purchases livestock from more than 2000 suppliers across the Hume, Grampians and Gippsland regions making it a vital part of our regional economy.”

Mr Hayes said the company was a big employer and continued to grow.

“We have a new boning room that will be commissioned before Christmas,” he said.

“We have embarked on a recruitment process for an extra 40 staff to cater for that development.

“This is a business that produces 27,000 tonnes of a meat a year, processes 400,000 goats alone.”