Renewable Organics Network

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About the Renewable Organics Network

Barwon Water is partnering with major businesses and local councils on two Renewable Organics Network (RON). These projects will leverage existing water and sewerage infrastructure to reduce the organic waste that currently goes to landfill, create clean renewable energy, reduce costs, generate jobs and drive economic growth in the region.

The Australian-first project is underway in Colac and aims to not only convert organic high-strength commercial and sewerage waste to dispatchable renewable energy but also recycle the waste into value add by-products such as soil enhancers for agricultural purposes.

A regional RON is currently being investigated. We are working with the five councils within the G21 region - City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire, Colac Otway Shire, Borough of Queenscliffe and Golden Plains Shire – as well as neighbouring Wyndham City Council and major export manufacturers.

The regional RON will be a processing facility that converts organic matter, which could include food organics, garden organics and biosolids into renewable energy, heat, biogas and soil enhancers. This will use anaerobic digestion, a process that relies on microorganisms to breakdown the organic waste (in the absence of oxygen) into products that can be recycled (like compost / soil enhancers).

Find out more about the Colac RON opportunity in the short animation below, or head on over to our information hub for more details on the regional RON.

Information Hub

Want to know more? Check out our information hub to view fact sheets and other supporting documents.


Community Information Sessions (webinar)

Did you miss our webinars? You can watch these now.

September 2020 | March 2021 (Geelong Design Week)


About the Renewable Organics Network

Barwon Water is partnering with major businesses and local councils on two Renewable Organics Network (RON). These projects will leverage existing water and sewerage infrastructure to reduce the organic waste that currently goes to landfill, create clean renewable energy, reduce costs, generate jobs and drive economic growth in the region.

The Australian-first project is underway in Colac and aims to not only convert organic high-strength commercial and sewerage waste to dispatchable renewable energy but also recycle the waste into value add by-products such as soil enhancers for agricultural purposes.

A regional RON is currently being investigated. We are working with the five councils within the G21 region - City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire, Colac Otway Shire, Borough of Queenscliffe and Golden Plains Shire – as well as neighbouring Wyndham City Council and major export manufacturers.

The regional RON will be a processing facility that converts organic matter, which could include food organics, garden organics and biosolids into renewable energy, heat, biogas and soil enhancers. This will use anaerobic digestion, a process that relies on microorganisms to breakdown the organic waste (in the absence of oxygen) into products that can be recycled (like compost / soil enhancers).

Find out more about the Colac RON opportunity in the short animation below, or head on over to our information hub for more details on the regional RON.

Information Hub

Want to know more? Check out our information hub to view fact sheets and other supporting documents.


Community Information Sessions (webinar)

Did you miss our webinars? You can watch these now.

September 2020 | March 2021 (Geelong Design Week)


Ask us!

Have questions about the Colac or Regional RON? Want to know more about the renewable organics network? Ask your questions here and we will do our best to answer them!

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    Are there options to invest in this project now or in the foreseeable future?

    Murray asked 8 months ago

    Barwon Water is exploring funding opportunities for the Regional Renewable Organics Networks (RON). The Colac RON has been fully funded by Barwon Water, providing benefits to our Customers and our region  In particular the renewable energy generated will take the entire Colac water reclamation plant off the grid, reducing emissions, saving energy costs and helping to keep customer bills affordable. If you are interested in partnering with us, please contact our project team via info@barwonwater.vic.gov.au.

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    What of the emissions and emission by-products from the burning of the biogas, such as SOx and NOx's etc ? And what is planned for odour control for inputs to the digestor and the biosolids outputs ?

    Bill McCarthy asked 10 months ago

    Barwon Water has experience in managing the emissions and odours generated via Anaerobic Digestion, with the Colac Water Reclamation Plant having been safely operating two high-rate anaerobic lagoons since 2016.  These lagoons generate biogas, the main components of which are Methane (60-80%) and Carbon Dioxide (19-39%). The other 1% is mostly comprised of Nitrogen and other inert gases. In addition to the pre-treatment of the biogas, the energy generating equipment is designed to keep other emissions, such as SOx and NOx, well within regulatory limits and the exhaust gases are mostly Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and water vapour (H2O).

    The RON reduces greenhouse emissions by capturing the methane that is generated when organic matter breaks down and converting it into CO2. Methane has 25 times more greenhouse impact than CO2. It also reduces truck movements and their associated emissions.

    The RON will process trade waste that is supplied via direct pipes, keeping the wastes in a closed vessel and therefore reducing odour. The covers on the lagoons keep gases and odours contained and has been operational, producing biosolids since 2016.  

    We are in the design investigation phase for the Regional RON and are exploring a number of innovative technologies to ensure the maximum benefits are achieved. Our options explored factor in odour controls and zero waste, zero emissions as part of our overarching Strategy 2030. More details about our final options will be posted here next year.