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Biogas experts share global best practice trends

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USQ Associate Professor Bernadette McCabe (centre front) with other members of the International Energy Agency’s Task 37 meeting held on the Darling Downs this week.

International biogas experts gathered on the Darling Downs this week to share insights and experiences from around the world, and to visit one of Australia’s innovative biogas facilities at Oakey Beef Exports.

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Task 37: Energy from Biogas meeting was organised by University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Associate Professor Bernadette McCabe, consultant to the Oakey project, and National Task Leader for IEA Task 37.

“Creating energy from waste using biogas technology is a win-win. There’s been a lot interest over the past decade driven by increasing costs in electricity and fertiliser and waste disposal costs,” Associate Professor McCabe said.

As Principal Scientist at USQ’s National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA), Associate Professor McCabe works on projects across the livestock and red meat processing industries, and also with communities and municipalities.

IEA Task 37 is a working group representing 14 countries which covers the anaerobic digestion of various biomass feedstocks.

Bioenergy Australia is the vehicle for Australia's participation in IEA Bioenergy, an international collaboration agreement in bioenergy involving 23 countries.

Associate Professor McCabe is Australia’s National Task Leader for Task 37 which links about 40 members from Australian industry, government and research institutions.

IEA Task 37 seeks to promote the deployment of anaerobic digestion technology for renewable energy production and environmental protection, and the provision of expert scientific and technical support to policy makers in member countries.

Yesterday (November 17) delegates from Austria, Finland, Ireland, Norway, The Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom met in Toowoomba to discuss their projects.

Today the group visited Oakey Beef Exports to inspect the biogas plant which is burning methane generated by the abattoirs’ wastewater to supplement gas used to power boilers.

“Beef production is such an important industry to Queensland, and what Oakey Beef Exports is doing with biogas has generated a lot of interest from other processors and other states,” Associate Professor McCabe said.

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to show some leaders in the biogas field from the Northern Hemisphere how renewables are working here in regional Australia.”