Banana Waste to Energy (BW2E)
Growcom was awarded a $200 000 grant in 2006 by the Sustainable Industries Division for the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to build a pilot biofuel plant on the plantation of Bush Holdings in Tully.
The plant was to test the commercial viability of using waste bananas to produce a natural gas to run tractors, farm machinery and vehicles.
Researchers from the University of Queensland suggested that natural gas could be produced from bananas using a ‘continuous digestion’ process involving natural microbial organisms.
Around 10 per cent of bananas are currently discarded in the Queensland banana industry every year due to imperfections which make them unsuitable for sale. This waste product can be used in an anaerobic digester to produce fuel.
Bananas offer the advantage of producing a cleaner gas, consisting of just methane and CO2, than other waste streams such as human sewage, piggery or feedlot waste, with the added attraction of less noxious odours.
The aim of the project was to produce commercial quantities of the product which could ultimately provide a cheaper alternative to fuel or petrol, saving growers a significant amount on their annual fuel bill.
A fact sheet about the project is available on the QUeensland Sustainable Energy Innovation Funal (QSEIF) web site.
Media coverage of the program
The Banana Waste to Energy (BW2E) program featured on ABC TV’s Landline program in June 2010. You can watch the full interview online via the Landline web site.