The Casino Food Co-op (The Co-op) has unveiled plans for the next phase of their sustainability strategy by partnering with Helmont Energy (Helmont) to develop a biohub facility at their red meat processing facility located in Casino, Northern Rivers NSW. Under the partnership, Helmont will develop, build and operate a new biohub facility that will generate renewable energy from a process known as anaerobic digestion. The biohub will process all organic by-products from the red meat processing facility and generate renewable electricity that will be equivalent to powering 3000 homes.
The biohub will complement The Co-op’s existing biomass boiler with surplus renewable heat. Additionally, digestate, a by-product of the process, will be converted into a nutrient rich fertilizer with potential to be returned to The Co-op farmers.
The Co-op’s CEO Simon Stahl, said the biohub showcases how the red meat industry can become carbon neutral while contributing many benefits to the region’s community.
“We are a very proud community-based Co-operative and have a responsibility to minimise our carbon footprint and maximise the benefits we provide local communities and businesses. We are very pleased to be partnering with Helmont and laying the foundations for an innovative solution that will provide circular economy benefits to The Co-op and our partners within the community. This project will create opportunities for the community to process organic waste into energy and other valuable by-products. This biohub is another step towards our goal of becoming net zero with the industry” Simon Stahl said.
“The biohub model proposed by Helmont is generating excitement within the red meat industry across Australia. For the first time we now have a solution that can add value to all products
produced within The Co-op, while ensuring we minimise our external energy consumption and reduce our carbon footprint. We are seeing increased demand for Australian goods that meet sustainability goals and this project is necessary to maintain our global competitiveness within the domestic and international markets. We’re excited to be moving to the next phase of development by partnering with Helmont who bring extensive experience and expertise in bioenergy developments and clean energy solutions.”
Helmont’s Managing Director Mark Jonker, said “the Project Development Agreement between the two companies allows Helmont to finalise the feasibility study and reach an investment decision in the project. As the financier of the project Helmont will own and operate the bio-hub and provide renewable electricity, renewable heat and organic feedstock conversion services to The Co-op. This is fantastic opportunity to showcase how anaerobic technology can be used to generate circular economy benefits and value for our clients and the communities they support.
This project will process all of the abattoir’s organic by-products and generate reliable, baseload renewable electricity. The methane captured and utilised will ensure that a total of 72,000 tonnes of CO2 is abated from the atmosphere.”
Helmont’s delivery capabilities are further strengthened by the support of their major shareholder, LMS Energy (LMS). LMS are Australia’s leading bioenergy and carbon abatement company and will provide the biohub with access to their innovative bioenergy technologies. This could include the future utilisation of other organic waste streams from local councils and other food processors in the area. LMS are also proposing to supply additional renewable electricity to the Co-op from their extensive bioenergy generation portfolio to ensure the Co-op can be supplied with 100% renewable electricity.
About Casino Co-op
The Casino Food Co-op is Australia’s largest meat processing Co-operative, proudly 100% farmer owned. Their members are Australian farmers and businesses excelling in the paddock to plate philosophy. Since 1933, The Co-op has established itself as an industry leader in meat processing, providing a unique opportunity to process livestock in world class processing facilities. The Co-op is focused on innovation and a sustainable future and have an emphasis on teamwork and mutual respect for all stakeholders. The facilities are perfectly positioned in Casino, Northern Rivers NSW employing over 1000 employees. www.thecasinofoodcoop.com.au
About Helmont Energy
Helmont Energy is a specialist bioenergy development company that has a vision to unlock the enormous agricultural bioenergy resource that is available to Australian farmers and agri-businesses. The company is majority owned by LMS Energy, Australia’s most successful and experienced bioenergy and carbon abatement company which has 60 bioenergy projects across Australia, New Zealand and North America. Find more information at www.helmontenergy.com