Australia’s future energy needs for remote mining projects could be fuelled by straw – under new proposals being evolved and tested in South Australia. Addressing the second day today of the two day Paydirt 2017 South Australian Resources and Energy Investment Conference in Adelaide, power project consultancy, Kallis & Co said straw or stubble fuelled biomass energy could provide competitively priced baseload renewable power to remote mining developments located in or near cropping land.
The breakthrough is already being taken up by a company called Yorke Biomass Energy which plans to develop a 15 MW biomass plant near Ardrossan on SA’s Yorke Peninsula.
It will be a co-operative based demonstration plant to illustrate how such a generator can benefit local farmers but provide miners with a competitively priced power source for the first 10-20 MW of power, reducing a mine’s reliance on grid connection.
“This energy approach provides a mutually beneficial outcome for mining and farming communities and increases local economic activity through the collection, transport and storage of biomass fuel stock,” Kallis said.
“It is ideal particularly for new mining projects on SA’s Yorke and Eyre Peninsulas.”
He said the Ardrossan region is a known high grain production zone and considerable information is available on the straw resource.
“There is a substantial stubble resource within a 50 km radius of the proposed plant site and the stubble has a preferred moisture content of just 15 %,” Kallis said.
“The Ardrossan plant is modelled on existing plants operated by Acciona in Spain so it is known technology and should require around 90,000 t/y of straw.
“These power plants present opportunity for mutually exclusive feedstock supply agreements and profit sharing arrangements with local farmers. An open book process can be used to negotiate their supply price per tonne.
“The Ardrossan plant may also have the capacity to supply local domestic customers in the broader Ardrossan footprint.”