News, Events and Culture

Award for Council’s innovative wastewater biotechnology

Tuesday August 4 2015




Phil Burt


The INNOVATE NZ award has gone to Calibre Consulting, who designed new technology for the Council's digester solids treatment plant. It was presented by the Association of Consulting Engineers NZ at their annual conference at the weekend.

"The new biogas technology has resulted in significant savings of around $3 million for the Council," says Phil Burt, Wastewater Asset Engineer. "It also provided a 300 percent increase in the production of green electricity from biogas, which the Council has been able to sell back to the national grid."

"As well, it is significantly more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly, has a much higher capacity than traditional systems and has also extended the life of other wastewater systems ('digesters')."

The wastewater system uses sustainable 'digester' solids technology' to transform organic waste from sewage into green energy, biogas. The new award-winning technology enabled the Council to more than double the capacity of the digester solids treatment and meant it did not need to build new digesters.

Jurgen Thiele, Calibre Consulting's New Zealand-based specialist Wastewater Recovery Consultant, says upgrading digesters is a specialised service.

"At the end of the day, it's about delivery on results," he says. "We determined early on in the project that the system that was being used was costing the Council an immense amount of money. We're pleased with the success of this development."

Jurgen said that digester upgrades is a specialised service. "At the end of the day, it's about delivery on results. We determined that legacy system inefficiencies were costing the Councils an immense about of money," he said. "We're delighted the Council has developed this capacity-enhancing technology."

For more information please contact:

Phil Burt

Wastewater Asset Engineer

Palmerston North City Council

356 8199