Issue 4
Monday, 03 June 2019
Charles Darwin University
Dr Jeremy Trombley is using the calorimeter in his work on “green energy”
Dr Jeremy Trombley is using the calorimeter in his work on “green energy”

CDU helps make green waste energy a reality

By Danielle Lee-Ryder

Producing electricity from garden waste might not be too far off thanks to continued research at CDU.

The College of Engineering, IT and Environment has been on the cutting edge of bioenergy research for the past year.

Research Fellow Dr Jeremy Trombley said funding last year allowed him to acquire a world-class bomb calorimeter that’s essential to “green energy”.

“A calorimeter is absolutely essential to measure the energy density and feasibility of green waste as a fuel source for electricity,” he said.

“It basically tests a pellet – weighing less than a gram – of crushed mulch in the machine with high-pressure oxygen for complete combustion. The feedstock is monitored monthly to detect seasonal variations in energy content.

"We couldn’t continue this research without the calorimeter; it is critical to our work."

Dr Trombley said the machine has operated since last July using samples from the Alice Springs tip.

"So far, we have had positive results," he said. “The good news is that we have now been given the go ahead to use the garden waste dumped at Darwin’s Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility.”

The calorimeter was bought with a $20,000 grant from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources with CDU contributing $10,000. It is being used as part of a three-year $413,197 Bioenergy for PV Hybrid Electricity Generation project set to be completed in 2020.