Largest Dry Fermentation Anaerobic Digestion Facility in the World Opens
Crowd Celebrates Renewable Energy Innovation, Less Landfill in San José
San José, CA – November 25, 2013: A grand opening event took place Friday, November 22 for the world’s largest dry fermentation anaerobic digestion facility and the first large-scale commercial facility of its kind in the United States. The facility in San José will process an estimated 90,000 tons per year of commercial organic waste that would otherwise go to landfill, instead converting it to 1.6MW of renewable energy and 32,000 tons compost.
Owned and operated by Zero Waste Energy Development Company (ZWEDC), the anaerobic digestion facility is a joint venture between GreenWaste Recovery and Zanker Road Resource Management. The companies came together to take organics recovery to the next level—composting organic material to keep it out of landfill while extracting its energy value.
“Our company started to transform the way we look at waste,” said Rich Cristina, President of ZWEDC and host of the event. Cristina told the 600+ crowd, “We saw there was no such thing as waste, no such thing as garbage. We looked at the materials collected and being composted and saw the potential for greatness.”
Another firm, Zero Waste Energy, LLC (ZWE) holds the exclusive license for the patented anaerobic digestion technology in the Americas and Asia with 20 projects in the planning and development phase throughout North and South America, as well as China and the Middle East. The facility is enclosed and ventilated and includes 16 anaerobic digesters plus four in-vessel composting tunnels. Dry fermentation anaerobic digestion is a natural biological process whereby bacteria break down organic matter in an oxygen-free environment. Decomposition occurs in several stages and converts organic matter into a combustible biogas with a high methane content.
Eric Herbert, CEO of ZWE, was on hand to explain the technology. “We’re sitting in an organic waste processing facility,” said Herbert. “We’re doing what nature does, very efficiently in a controlled way. The significance of this facility is the demonstration of this technology in the U.S. on a major commercial scale. But organic waste and its proper treatment and green energy is what this project is all about.”
The ZWEDC facility models how to reduce landfill statewide and worldwide. The high-quality compost produced will be used to enrich soils, and the renewable biogas will provide both onsite power and power for sale to local users of green energy. Development of the ZWEDC facility moves San José closer to achieving its goal of zero waste to landfill by 2022.
City of San José Mayor Reed spoke about the city’s implementation of its Green Vision, saying, “Our Green Vision has ten bold goals. One of those goals is to be a zero waste city. We already do the recycling part. What about the organics, the largest single category going into the waste stream? We knew we needed to be creative and innovative and build something like this.”
U.S. Congressman Mike Honda congratulated everyone involved with the project for helping future generations. “The global production of organic waste is 600 billion tons per day, and here in this valley is how to address that global waste accumulating. Because of this first spot, this kind of sustainable activity can now grow in other parts of the country and other parts of the world.”
CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen delivered the facility’s official operating permit from the State and affirmed, “This it the type of project that Governor Brown and his administration sees as the future of California, attaining not just environmental goals but creating and sustaining jobs, renewable energy, fuel production, and diverting greenhouse gasses.”
The audience in attendance for the invite-only luncheon, presentations, and tours included elected officials from surrounding cities and counties, as well as business and industry groups representing construction, finance, nonprofits, and education.
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About Zero Waste Energy Development Company LLC
Zero Waste Energy Development Company LLC is a joint venture between GreenWaste Recovery and Zanker Road Resource Management and was formed to develop and operate the first large-scale commercial dry fermentation anaerobic digestion facility in the United States. The facility will process and recover energy from source separated food waste and the organic fraction remaining after materials including Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) are processed at GreenWaste’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF) and create two products—biogas containing methane and compost. To learn more about ZWEDC visit www.zwedc.com.
About GreenWaste Recovery, Inc.
GreenWaste is a privately owned and locally operated recycling and diversion company that specializes in the collection and processing of residential and commercial trash, yard trimmings, curbside recyclables, food waste, and construction and demolition debris. GreenWaste has been a pioneer in the recycling industry since its inception in 1991 and has demonstrated leadership in efficient, effective, and environmentally sound collection and processing operations. GreenWaste’s MRF in San José is one of the most innovative processing facilities in the world, capable of sorting and recovering 98% of recyclable materials and 75% of trash for a total facility diversion rate of 88% for household and commercial waste. To learn more about GreenWaste visit www.greenwaste.com.
About Zanker Road Resource Management, Ltd.
Zanker is a privately owned solid waste and recycling company that began operations in 1985 by developing a landfill into a full-service resource management and composting/recycling facility. In 1998, Zanker expanded operations by permitting an adjacent landfill site as a construction and demolition (C&D) debris processing facility. These two facilities process more than 2,000 tons of mixed debris per day. The 1998 expansion also included opening the Z-Best Composting Facility. To learn more about Zanker visit www.zankerrecycling.com.
About Zero Waste Energy, LLC
Zero Waste Energy, LLC (ZWE) is an industry leading development company that designs, builds, and operates integrated solid waste processing facilities using its patented “Smartferm” high solids anaerobic digestion technology, throughout the Americas and Asia. ZWE’s principal goal is to optimize waste diversion and the generation of renewable energy in an efficient and environmentally sound manner. With its extensive expertise and advanced technologies, the company offers innovative mixed solid waste processing and patented anaerobic digestion systems for conversion of organic waste into valuable renewable energy and clean compost. To learn more about ZWE visit www.zerowasteenergy.com.
About San José Environmental Services Department, Green Vision, and the Office of Economic Development
The San José Environmental Services Department (ESD), located online at www.sanjoseca.gov/esd, is responsible for the management of solid waste collection and recycling; watershed protection and pollution prevention; municipal drinking water and recycled water; community sustainability initiatives; and the operation and infrastructure improvements of the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility. ESD creates innovative projects and initiatives that align with San José’s Green Vision (www.sanjoseca.gov/greenvision), a long-term plan to lead our community into a sustainable future. The San José Office of Economic Development is committed to a vital, competitive local economy that increases prosperity for people and companies. For more information, go to www.sjeconomy.com, or follow them on Twitter @sjeconomy, #sjplace.