A biomass boiler is now keeping Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre’s leisure pool heated in a project that will significantly reduce the centre’s reliance on gas.
The boiler burned its first wood chips last week, realising a project conceived five years ago to install a heating system that uses renewable energy.
It has allowed ALAC to switch off its gas system and relegate it to being a backup, saving about $50,000 per annum on gas.
Recreation Services Manager Sam Stevens said they had been working closely with local firm WA Biofuels to explore the potential for a renewable energy system and it was exciting it was now up and running.
“Transitioning to biofuel is both economically and environmentally beneficial,” she said. “Running on gas heating has been very expensive and we have been at the mercy of the market, with gas prices extremely high at the moment.
“WA Biofuels has built and will own and operate the boiler system, there has been no up-front capital needed from the City to adopt this new technology.”
Darryl Outhwaite from WA Biofuels said the boiler will consume about 400 to 500 tonnes of woodchips a year, and the project had been able to support local employment in plumbing, electrical, engineering and forestry.
“It takes about two hours for the region’s timber plantations to regrow the amount of fuel that we need to heat the leisure centre for a year,” he said. “It’s not only renewable, but the trees planted also provided great landcare benefits in the form of clean air, water and biodiversity.”
Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said the renewable approach to heating the pool was just another way Albany was embracing being a Clean, Green and Sustainable community.