A solution to our waste problem

Barwon Water is planning a world leading Regional Renewable Organics Network (RRON) facility at the Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant in Connewarre.

The planned facility will take household food and garden waste, local commercial and industrial organic waste and organic materials from wastewater treatment and safely convert it into products that capture carbon for high value use in agribusiness and sustainable manufacturing and construction materials, and at the same time produce renewable energy. In doing so, volumes of organic waste will be diverted away from landfill, reducing emissions and helping to reverse the cycle of burning fossil fuels.

We are partnering with local councils (Borough of Queenscliffe, City of Greater Geelong, Golden Plains Shire and Surf Coast Shire) along the way to align with the state-wide Circular Economy initiatives and Recycling Victoria Policy. The RRON will deliver significant environmental, economic and community benefits to the region.

Why is a Regional Renewable Organics Network needed?

Our region is growing and the waste we generate is too.

About a third of the waste that ends up in our household bin is food and most of this goes to landfill. This wastes a potential resource and generates greenhouse gases which can cause environmental and health issues.

This project provides an innovative solution to manage our increasing amount of waste. It leads the way in the transition to a circular economy, where materials are continually reused and recycled.

Transforming organic waste into a valuable resource

The RRON facility process works in two ways. Firstly, the material is pre-treated and fed into a 'digester' tank creating biogas, that can be used for renewable energy. The remaining organic waste is then 'baked' through a second stage of the process, creating biochar and syngas. The below image illustrates how the process works and some of the anticipated project benefits.

What is biochar?

Biochar is a carbon rich substance which, due to its chemical and physical structure, can be extremely beneficial for soil health and can assist with plant growth. The operating temperature helps manage contaminants the waste may have contained. Barwon Water is exploring opportunities through research partnerships with Deakin University and RMIT for using biochar, knowing it can be helpful in a variety of uses, in both soil and non-soil applications. In years to come, it could also be used in applications as broad as carbon fibre materials, sustainable batteries and green construction. Its ‘carbon-locking’ property sets it apart from composting and conventional soil conditioners and fertilisers.

Check out our FAQs, for more detailed information on the project

Get involved!

Since October 2021, we have been having community conversations about the Regional Renewable Organics Network.

We have been listening and learning to what the community are interested to learn more about, respond to questions, share information on how the facility will operate and also share more information about biochar and how this can be used in the future. Read more about what the community has been saying in our community engagement reports in the Document Library.

At anytime you can ask a question or share your feedback by:

  • Dropping a pin on the map (see tab below) and leaving a comment or photo
  • If you would prefer to provide a longer response, please submit your document (see tab below)
  • Use the Question tool to ask a question from the project team
  • Contact us via the email or phone number below.

Read our FAQs to learn more about how the project is responding to the questions and ideas shared by the community.

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