Monthly Archives: March 2013

Down To Earth: Using Garbage To Generate Electricity

By Briana Bermensolo
March 27, 2013

MARINA, Calif. – Anaerobic digesters are part of a California pilot program — one of the first of its kind in the country — to turn trash into electricity.

Each digester holds food waste and cow manure.

Jeff Lindenthal has spent the past year working with German engineers to bring the technology to Marina.

“The balloon that you see on top of the device here collects the methane, so the methane gas has been accumulating,” said Lindenthal.

When enough methane gas accumulates, the generator turns the gas to electricity.

The Waste Management District is gaining national attention for speeding up nature’s decomposition process.

“For example, we had a whole pumpkin sitting on top of the pile when it went into the digester. When we opened the door, the pumpkin was gone. It was just a pile of seeds left in its place,” said Lindenthal.

240 tons of food waste, every three weeks, 5,000 tons a year that would otherwise end up in landfills.

Each unit generates 100 kilowatt hours of electricity; that’s enough to supply 100 homes on a daily basis. But right now, it’s not being sold because it’s still a pilot program.

This article originally appeared on KION Central Coast News on 3/27/13.

By |March 27th, 2013|ZWE News|Comments Off on Down To Earth: Using Garbage To Generate Electricity

San Jose Triples Business Waste Recycling in Six Months

By Ben Messenger

Businesses in San José, California have tripled their recycling rate from 22% to almost 70% in the six months to December 2012 as the result of a new collection system.

According to the City of San Jose, the new waste collection services began in July last year and are provides a two container wet/dry sort for businesses.

Wet items include organics, such as food waste, used napkins and paper plates, and landscape trimmings. Dry items include everything else, including glass, paper, plastics, cardboard, and scrap metals.

Additionally, the waste collection has also changed to a single hauler system under a franchise with the City of San José. Previously, the City said that its 8000 businesses selected and negotiated their own garbage and recycling services among more than 20 different City-approved haulers.

In 2011, the City said that it conducted a competitive bid process, bringing in Republic Services (NYSE: RSG) and Zero Waste Energy Development (ZWED), which is developing a number of anaerobic digestion biogas plants in California, to collaborate and develop services and infrastructure that would both escalate the business community’s rate of recycling and reduce carbon output.

In order to process the increased volume of business waste, Republic expanded its San José material recovery facility to an 80,000 square foot (7400 square metre), multi-stream processing centre capable of sorting 400,000 tons (363,000 tonnes) of mixed wet and dry materials every year.

According to the City of San Jose, the facility stands as the largest recycling facility in the world.

ZWED’s facility addresses the waste to energy component of the ‘Green Vision’ and the company is currently constructing North America’s first commercial scale dry waste digester facility in San José, which will take the organic stream generated by the business community and convert it to biogas.

The […]

By |March 11th, 2013|ZWE News|Comments Off on San Jose Triples Business Waste Recycling in Six Months

Marina, California: Pilot Anaerobic Digester For SSO

The Monterey Regional Waste Management District (MRWMD) and Zero Waste Energy, LLC (ZWE) held an open house in late January to unveil a pilot-scale dry anaerobic digester installed at the MRWMD’s integrated waste management complex (just north of the City of Marina) to process up to 5,000 tons/year of commercial source separated organics (SSO). When BioCycle visited several weeks later, construction was being completed on the fully enclosed aeration bay for organics receiving and storage. All of the other components were installed, including four SmartFerm digesters, the monitoring and process control skid, biogas collection bladders, percolate capture and recirculation tank and a combined heat and power unit supplied by 2G Energy. The system is designed to generate 100kW of electricity or up to 3,200 cu. ft./ton of biogas with 58 to 60 percent methane content.

MRWMD’s Board approved an agreement with ZWE to furnish and install the system under a 5-year demonstration program. ZWE financed the system completely in exchange for the tipping fee revenue for the food waste and yard trimmings processed in the digester, along with revenues from the electrical power sales to the adjacent wastewater treatment plant. “We were looking for a site to install a demonstration plant, and this opportunity came up with MRWMD,” says Dirk Dudgeon, Senior Vice-President of ZWE. From the District’s perspective, having the digester facility on site provides an opportunity to gain experience with this technology.

“We did a commercial waste characterization study last summer of materials coming to our landfill,” says William Merry, General Manager of MRWMD. “About 40 to 50 percent of the waste in the loads we audited were organics. Even though the District’s landfill has about 150 years of capacity and the District is […]

By |March 1st, 2013|ZWE News|Comments Off on Marina, California: Pilot Anaerobic Digester For SSO