Thorndon Cook Power
Thorndon Cook Power
Thorndon Cook Power
Nasulo Geothermal Power Station

Carwarp Bioenergy Power Plant

Carwarp Bioenergy Power Plant
  • ClientHarvest Power Pty Ltd.
  • Date2013 to 2014
  • LocationVictoria, Australia
  • Project Value$174,000,000

  • Thorndon Cook Staff
  • Roger Hudson
  • Peter Tearne

The Project

The project consisted of a 35.4 MW gross power plant utilising a boiler / steam turbine generator, following the rankine cycle, and fuelled with biomass from agricultural residues in the form of almond shells and hulls, and spent grape marc. The production of electricity from this fuel feedstock meant that the plant is categorised as a waste to energy development. The plant will comprise a biomass boiler and steam turbine generator with a gross output of 35MW. The plant will export to the grid via a new 40km 132KV overhead line to the Buronga substation in NSW.

The fuel for the plant will be a blend of almond shells and hulls, and grape marc. Woodchip may be sourced on an opportunistic basis.

The power plant is required to have best in class efficiency, and be designed for the highest plant availability, start reliability, efficiency and flexibility of starting and operation.

Plant location is approximately 4km west of Carwarp, (near Mildura) Victoria, Australia.

Our Role

Thorndon Cook staff were involved to provide design engineering services through FEED and feasibility stages, preparation of documents for statutory approval and design specifications and evaluation of bids for the construction company through the epc bid phase.

Although all of the high level design work was completed to the point of contract award, the plant construction did not eventuate because of changing circumstances within the Australian markets.



The major technical challenge for the power plant was the integrating of the fuel handling system with the boiler. An automated fuel handling system was required to minimise site labour requirements and in addition to handling the system also had to have the capability to monitor the quality and amount of fuel being supplied to the boiler so that the plant heat rate could be continuously calculated.

The client also required sufficient fuel to be stockpiled on the site for at least 12 months continuous operation. This needed a fuel stockpile of significant size and considerable design effort was required to ensure the fuel could be stored safely; the biggest risk being an undetected fire caused by the fuel self heating and then burning undetected.

Typical of all biomass power plants, cost is a major issue and one method of mitigating the cost was to ensure the process design resulted in “best in class” efficiencies.


The major innovation for this power plant was the feasibility studies and pre-design work undertaken to develop a method of monitoring the temperature at the core of the fuel stockpile. The proposed system had to be able to continuously monitor the temperature and yet to be rugged and flexible because of the mechanical handling required when unloading and loading the fuel onto the conveyers.

The need for this fire protection was a key requirement of the plant operating licence.

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