Omarunui makes best use of methane

By Victoria White -
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Omarunui Landfill site foreman Don Clarke (left) shows Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule the gas wells where captured methane gas is pumped to the onsite power station. Photo / Warren Buckland
Omarunui Landfill site foreman Don Clarke (left) shows Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule the gas wells where captured methane gas is pumped to the onsite power station. Photo / Warren Buckland

A "brilliant" initiative which turns methane gas into electricity could prove to be a winner for the Hastings District Council and Pioneer Energy.

The Omarunui Landfill, owned by the Hastings District Council and the Napier City Council, is the site of a plant which generates electricity from the methane, which is a by-product of burying rubbish in a landfill. The resulting electricity is sold back into the grid, helping to secure the region's supply.

The gas to electricity initiative, a partnership between Hastings District Council and Pioneer Energy, has been named a finalist in the Renewable Energy category in this year's EECA Awards. The awards celebrate excellence in innovation in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule said the joint venture was seen as a very successful model, and being a finalist meant the landfill was on the leading edge of future opportunities.

"It has gone incredibly well, and is generating electricity while reducing greenhouse gases which is the main aim," he said.

"The converting of a waste product to a usable product, in this case gas from the landfill to electricity, fits perfectly with Hastings' overall sustainability drive. It's brilliant."

Without the conversion to electricity, the methane would be 'flared' off as a waste product.

Omarunui Joint Refuse Landfill Committee chairman and Hastings District councillor Wayne Bradshaw said the committee is determined to be "future-focused, especially around green energy generation wherever possible at the landfill site " and this is a perfect example".

"We had the option of flaring off the gas, or making best use of it. Our committee is pretty progressive and was keen to look at solutions that meant the gas was no longer a waste product."

Pioneer chief executive Fraser Jonker said making the finals was "particularly special".

"It proves Pioneer Energy's vision of working with customers and investment partners who are looking for local renewable energy supply.

"Over recent years we have put a large amount of effort into being at the forefront of customer, and particularly community based, energy solutions and the Omarunui partnership is evidence of just how well this can be achieved when those involved have both a shared objective and community values."

The winners of the ten awards will be announced on May 18.

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