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What are the benefits of cogeneration and biogas for abattoirs?

What are the benefits of cogeneration and biogas for abattoirs?

The agricultural industry is one of the biggest producers of greenhouse gases across the globe, third only to the burning of fossil fuels for power/heat and transportation. This situation has become more and more well-known in recent years, with varying governmental and other regulatory bodies starting to take more and more notice. When the Carbon Pricing Scheme (CPM) in 2012, and large carbon emitters were going to be penalised on Scope 1 emissions above a threshold of 25,000 tonnes COe per year, Meat & Livestock Australia decided to join forces with various other parties to commence a project to tackle the levels of emissions coming from various meat processing facilities.The project aimed to utilise Covered Anaerobic Lagoons (CALs), biogas and cogenerational principles to decrease COe, offering many environmental and financial benefits that were presented in a report released in 2017.

What are the benefits of cogeneration and biogas for abattoirs?

We have a covered a little regarding the report and the project below, however if you have any questions in relation to how cogeneration and the use of biogas can assist your abattoir, give Inoplex a call on 0448 307 282 and we would be more than happy to discuss available options with you.

The Report

In 2017, a report was released by Meat and Livestock Australia in which a thorough investigation was made into the construction of a Covered Anaerobic Lagoon (CAL) coupled with biogas capture and combustion to off-set natural gas and coal consumption at 2 of Australia’s largest beef processing plants. This report came about due to the introduction of a Carbon Pricing Scheme (CPM) in 2012, in which large scale carbon emitters were to be penalised for particular emissions above a threshold of 25,000 tonnes COe per year. A lot of large meat processing plants in Australia were exceeding that amount, so a project was created to investigate two Teys beef processing facilities in Queensland, namely Beenleigh and Rockhampton. Each facility processed around 90,000 tonnes HSCW (hot standard carcase weight) per year, and produced huge amounts of wastewater. (that, inturn, created a lot of COe).

The project looked into the suitability of CALs for use in meat processing facilities and the challenges and benefits of using the biogas created by the CALs for steam and heat generation. It is suggested that the use of biogas in this capacity provides a decrease in the need for fossil fuels, as well as significantly decreasing the COe emissions associated with wastewater treatment, as well as steam and heat generation.

What is a CAL?

A CAL, or covered anaerobic lagoon, is a man-made lagoon that is filled with animal waste. The lagoon is oxygen-free, offering the perfect environment for anaerobic digestion to occur, and are used as pre-treatment arrangements as part of larger-scale wastewater treatment plans. There are also uncovered anaerobic lagoons, however they do not offer the benefits that CALs do. With the introduction of a cover, which is usually made of high density polyethylene (HDPE), the biogas that is created from the contents of the lagoon can be captured. If the lagoon is uncovered, this biogas is released into the air and can become quite detrimental to the environment.

CALs, biogas and cogeneration… and abattoirs

This brings us to the connection that CALs, biogas and cogeneration have with abattoirs. So, a CAL is, in essence, a large hole in the ground that houses animal waste. This hole, or ‘lagoon’ is covered in order to keep the biogas, which is produced by the animal waste, from being released into the air (it also stops the terrible smell). These CALs can be found on any property that primarily deals in meat processing, such as abattoirs. 

The biogas that is captured by the cover is then transported to another area through the appropriate piping, where it will either be destroyed or used as fuel. If it is to be used as fuel, the process of cogeneration is the perfect energy generation method to be utilised. Cogeneration, or CHP (Combined Heat & Power), uses a specially designed generator to become much more efficient when generating electricity. Biogas is a great fuel for use in cogeneration, which powers the generator to create electricity, but it also captures the heat it produces and uses it as well. This heat can be used for a variety of applications around an abattoir, and provides decreased operating costs for the whole facility.

Pros and cons 

There were some apparent advantages and disadvantages that arose from the report we mentioned above in relation to both biogas and cogeneration for abattoirs, and we have included a few below. We highly recommend that you read the report for an all-encompassing view of the topic.


  • Lower energy bills, due to the use of biogas from the anaerobic lagoon as an energy source and cogeneration as a power generation process
  • The biogas boiler emissions are accounted (under greenhouse accounting methodology) at near zero compared to those from fossil fuel-powered boilers
  • Less carbon emissions
  • Higher energy efficiency
  • Lower operating costs, especially in relation to boiler fuel costs and carbon liabilities
  • Carbon abatement benefits
  • Broader environmental benefits, as the technology and processes deployed as part of the project could be applied within other meat processing facilities across Australia of similar scale and operation, not just beef

Due to the volatility in the quality of biogas, using a cogeneration system like one that Inoplex offers ensures that all biogas can be used efficiently, no matter the quality levels

Other Advantages

  • Almost negligible odour emissions due to effective CAL
  • Upgraded treated effluent water quality
  • More reliable and robust treatment of wastewater through the use of a CAL
  • Improved reputation and branding
  • Reduction of COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) and BOD (biological oxygen demand) when utilising a CAL

Your biogas and cogeneration specialists

If you have any questions regarding biogas solutions for abattoirs, or would like to speak to one of our knowledgeable team members regarding a personalised arrangement for your property, give Inoplex a call on 0448 307 282 today. We are experts when it comes to offering effective and efficient options across many industries, so get in contact now!