New Brick Plant is a World Leader in Resource Efficiency
A $44 million investment in Victoria is now returning great benefits for the environment and local home builders.
Thanks to smart technology and thoughtful planning, the new Austral Bricks plant at Wollert promises to be one of the most resource efficient of its kind in the world. “We are investing in the Company’s future prosperity and the future of the environment for all Australians,” Brickworks MD Lindsay Partridge said when the project began in 2006.
The plant now produces enough low cost, premium quality bricks for more than 12,000 typical Melbourne homes. It’s been built close to current and future clay and shale reserves in nearby open quarries, and almost all minerals extracted are useable in construction. It’s also situated within coo’ee of Melbourne’s new developments, reducing the haulage footprint of the brick products.
A careful combination of scale, automation, efficient design, 24/7 operation and using variable-speed electric drives (in place of hydraulic or pneumatic drives) means that electricity consumed is one third less than that of a comparable conventional plant. The kilns also use less gas, and their heat is the only energy needed to dry the new bricks.
Working in tandem with less energy consumption, a state-of-the-art granulated limestone scrubber on the kiln stack reduces greenhouse gas emissions to well below legal limits. And the limestone waste is then recycled as an additive in concrete masonry units. Water used in the brick making process is all harvested on site and stored in deep reservoirs.
Production waste is returned to the mix, while post-production waste is collected and crushed for return. Even worn machine parts are sent for recycling. Once finished and checked for quality, brick packs are simply polyester strapped for transport to building sites, eliminating the need for full plastic shrink-wrapping and timber pallets.
Like the best stories, this one has a very happy ending. After the quarries around the Wollert plant have been mined, they will be filled with organic waste and clean filled, before being replanted with an ‘eco-system’ of native grasses and trees.
For enquiries regarding our sustainability policies or initiatives please contact us on 02 98307800.
Article by John Pagsolingan
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