Geelong-based waste-to-energy startup announces milestone

Capricorn Power, which is commercialising a high-efficiency heat engine, has announced what it calls a “significant operational milestone” today, starting the first phase of commissioning at Austeng’s site.

The news follows a fifth paid feasibility study by a council and feasibility studies with an ASX-listed company, it said, and an announcement last month of a joint venture project agreement on a five-year, $20 million grid innovation program with Ultima Grid Solutions.

Capricorn, with engineering firm Austeng’s support, has submitted applications to the EPA and local council for approval. They expect the installation to be “fully operational as a bioenergy power station” by the third quarter of this year.

Capricorn was founded by inventor and former CSIRO head of Applied & Industrial Mathematics Dr Noel Barton.

The Barton Engine has a claimed efficiency three times that of competing heat engines. It converts thermal energy to mechanical energy and electricity via a “closed-loop recuperated piston-cylinder Brayton cycle.” 

Paired with pyrolysis, it can create dispatchable energy and biochar from green waste. 

Development has been assisted by grants from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre and the Regional Jobs and Investments Package program.

“Our core product requires less than 1 per cent of the space per kilowatt hour output compared to solar PV,” said Mike Hodgkinson, Capricorn’s CEO, in a statement. 

“You could think of this as the commercial and industrial business equivalent of a home solar PV and battery system. It provides customers with decarbonised operations and sustainable, reliable energy ‘behind the meter’ in a containerised solution.”

Picture: A previous generation of the engine (

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