Matthew Hayden joins Optimal Group, bringing previous experience in developing renewable Co-generation projects using Capstone Microturbines.

Optimal Group is excited about Matthew Hayden joining the Melbourne based team in a Business Development role. With a history in developing projects using both biogas and natural gas across southern Africa, Matthew, brings a new edge to the Optimal team and looks forward to contributing on projects throughout Australia.

In 2008, Matthew undertook a biogas project in rural South Africa using waste at small homesteads for a deforestation project using small scale biogas. The project was developed under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism as an avoided deforestation project and the team installed small 6 cubic meter digesters into households that had access to the daily waste from one cow and kitchen waste.

The success of the first project led to further opportunities and shortly Matthew’s team were being asked to develop projects at dairy farms, using dairy waste, and at swine farms, using flushed swine waste.

“We continued to develop the projects under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, to claim emission reductions, and a significant portion of these projects was to use the methane rich biogas for the generation of onsite power” explains Matthew.

During the required due diligence, for the appropriate equipment for the generation of electricity at the farms, the team came across the Capstone range of Microturbines which they realised, were perfectly suited to biogas applications. Initially they chose the 65kW Microturbine as the technology of choice and incorporated the Microturbines for installation on each farm.

This led to a long and interesting association with Microturbine technology. The main reason for the choice of the technology, over reciprocating gas engines, was the long service intervals and largely unattended operation.

“The locations of the farms were remote, and we did not want to develop a service team that had to be travelling long distances every week for servicing an oil hungry gas engine” said Matthew. 

The ability to recover heat from the turbine exhaust ultimately made the choice an obvious one. In reciprocating engines this heat is spread between the exhaust, the engine cooling water and the lube oil cooler. In Microturbines all of the waste heat is available in the turbine exhaust. Over the years the development of onsite power generation projects moved into areas of using natural gas and LPG for onsite power generation at commercial facilities for the generation of steam, to displace natural gas, and for industrial drying.

“The Microturbine technology again proved to be highly appropriate” Matthew states. “After many years of visiting Australia, I have decided to emigrate from South Africa and set up home with my family here”. 

“I had had previous commercial discussions with both Kane Ravenscroft, Sales Director and Craig Dugan, CEO at Optimal Group, who had hosted South African potential clients for site visits. We visited Collins Square and Murray Goulburn as Australian examples of what was possible for development using the Capstone Microturbines. Optimal Group assisted in developing projects in South Africa so when the decision the emigrate was made joining Optimal was an easy fit.”

“I am very happy to be able to take the work, experience and knowledge that I have gained while working across South Africa and apply it to emission reduction and onsite power projects across Australia using biogas, natural gas, LPG and very shortly hydrogen.”

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