SEVERAL million broken treated timber vine posts are stock piled on vineyards across Australia from WA’s Margaret River to NSW’s Hunter region.
About 70 per cent of this viticulture waste is treated with copper, chrome and arsenic (CCAs) and 30 per cent with creosote (organic tars).
An industry presentation processing creosote posts using a commercial mobile biochar plant with the SA-made Green Flame system will be on show at Peats Soil & Garden Supplies, 22 Flour Mill Rd, Whites Valley, at 4 pm on March 5.
The creosote posts resource can be safely converted onsite into a charcoal like product without harmful environmental emissions and this technology option can commence immediately.
The char produced from this process can be used to safely bind carbon into the soil.
An Australian proto-type technology for producing renewable electricity by timber gasification requires conservative funding to prove safe capture of CCAs residues, including assessment of the type and concentration of gases emitted from this technology and an estimate of disposal costs.
The goal of this technology is to safely and without harmful environmental emissions, treat the CCA timber resource and create renewable electricity.
The levels of CCAs in treated timber are not currently considered a prescribed industrial waste by all environmental agencies and yet disposal is not possible at a majority of landfill facilities; so the waste accumulation continues.
The wine industry is committed to solving the mounting accumulation of vine posts while responsibly protecting the environment.
Safe disposal of vine post wastes via gasification and biochar, and the capture of toxic residues will benefit the wine and other industries that generate and accumulate treated timber wastes.
Potential benefits from proving timber gasification and capture of CCAs include:
- A solution for all CCA and creosote timber waste; including building industry, playground equipment, garden landscaping and other sources
- Renewable energy in regional Australia and voidance of greenhouse emissions gas from fossil fuels
- Inclusion of agriculture waste for energy generation
- Permanent capture of carbon in biochar (from the creosote posts)
- Improvement of soil health, structure, moisture and nutrient retention for improved production from biochar soil application
If timber gasification and safe CCA capture technology can be achieved by industry and government from relatively conservative funding, then long term benefits would flow from this initiative to several other industries and rural communities.
The wine industry is highly competitive worldwide and many become early adopters of innovation to gain competitive advantage.
A feasibility study and business case for the benefits described would be further developed once safe capture of CCAs and creosote treatment can be proven.
This position statement is a request for discussion of funding opportunities from industry and government authorities to solve this significant waste issue.
The Australian wine industry is keen to uptake this new technology to solve this growing waste issue.
Scale of the problem: