Tartar products maker turns to bioenergy, saves $2 m in a year on gas

Australian Tartaric Products grape waste-powered biomass
reactor has saved the company over $2 million in power bills so far, according
to the company.

BRW reports that the reactor, which is fueled by winemaking
waste products – including grape marc (skins and pips), which was previously used as
compost – was completed last year at a cost of around $10 million.

ATP chairman Malcolm Taylor said that feasibility studies
began in 2008 as rising gas prices began to bite. Plans were put on hold due to
the Global Financial Crisis, but by 2011 it was important that action be taken.

“As the cost of gas went up and up, the cost of production
was going up and squeezing the margin considerably,” Taylor told BRW.

“All the indications were that it was going to potentially
become uneconomic to produce.”

The investment was assisted by grants worth $1.7 million from the federal government and $1.8 million from the Victorian government.

According to the company, in its first year of operation the
biomass reactor has saved around $2 million in gas costs as well as producing
60 per cent of the ATP’s electricity.

The Colignan (near Mildura) plant in north-west Victoria has
operated since 1991 and makes natural tartaric acid, natural cream of tartar and food grade spirit, supplied to the wine industry.