Wilsonville, Oregon: Food Scraps Digester Proposed
An anaerobic digester with capacity to process 50,000 to 70,000 tons/year of commercial food waste is being proposed in Wilsonville by Sustainable Organics Recycling Technology (SORT) Bioenergy. Wilsonville is in the Portland metro area. Currently, a portion of commercial food scraps from the metro area are hauled to the JC-Biomethane’s AD facility in Junction City, about 85 miles from Wilsonville. SORT’s proposed site is adjacent to Republic Services’ Wilsonville campus, which includes a garbage transfer center. SORT would work with Republic to help transport material to and from the facility. Republic could use methane produced at the AD plant to power some of its truck fleet. Alternatively, the AD facility could produce about 2.4 megawatts of electricity per hour. The city of Wilsonville will review SORT’s application, ultimately bringing it before the City Council for approval sometime in the spring. If approved, construction on the project could begin in December 2016, clearing the way for it to open in 2018.
Washington, D.C.: Landmark Year For U.S. Renewable Energy Evolution
New energy technologies in the U.S. made further critical advances and locked in long-term gains in 2015, according to a new study from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. Among other achievements, energy efficiency continued to rise and renewable power generation set new records. Among the study’s findings:
Investment in energy efficiency continues to pay dividends for the U.S. economy. American energy productivity increased by 13 percent from 2007 to 2015.
Renewable energy is a prominent part (20%) of the U.S. 2015 power production, with 222 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity across the country, a 57 percent increase over 2008 levels. Hydroelectric and pumped storage represent nearly half at 102GW. Wind is the second-most prevalent renewable technology, totaling 75GW at the end of 2015, roughly triple its installed capacity at the end of 2008. Solar has been the fastest growing, at 60 percent annually since 2008 to bring its total capacity to 28GW.
Geothermal, biomass, biogas and waste-to-energy additions have grown at a slower pace, with 3.2GW added collectively since 2008. Capacity for biomass, biogas and waste-to- energy reached a total of 13.5GW in 2015, 15 percent above 2008.
Since 2007, the U.S. has invested $445 billion into renewable energy and energy smart technologies, enabling integration of variable sources of power generation into the grid.
New combined heat and power build was up 25 percent in 2014 (the latest year for which numbers are available) due to greater industrial demand.
Melbourne, Australia: Victoria State Grant Program For Small-Scale AD
The Australian state of Victoria is providing grants for anaerobic digestion (AD) pilot projects to keep organics out of the landfill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The grant funding gives support to local governments and businesses to install small-scale, on-site AD technology for organics recovery and to produce renewable energy. The grants are designed to address barriers to adoption of AD by demonstrating the viability of organics recovery and processing using technologies that can easily be replicated. Victoria State seeks to increase recovery and processing of food waste. Based on 2012 data, only 10 percent of the more than 300,000 tons of food waste generated by Victorian commercial and industrial sectors were recycled. Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville told Bioenergy Insight the funding will support businesses that produce organic waste onsite and have identified alternative technologies as a future opportunity, adding that AD also presents opportunities for economic development with the potential to create jobs and drive investment in Victoria’s waste and resource recovery industry.
Criteria for grant eligibility include that a technology has already been selected, no more than 1 MW will be produced and that the heat and energy will be used for on-site operations. Input materials, “preferably food waste,” must be sourced from the applicant’s own operations (volumes can be increased if needed from nearby sources if this makes the operation more viable).
Green Bay, Wisconsin: Brown County Expands Food Scraps Drop-Off Program
Brown County recently expanded a pilot program that uses drop-off sites to collect residential food scraps, which are taken to the University of Wisconsin (UW) Oshkosh’s anaerobic digester on the Oshkosh campus located about 50 miles away. The county added a third site to the existing two. The drop-off sites are at the recycling transfer station, the solid waste transfer station and Brown County UW-Extension. Drop-offs are accepted during the hours that these facilities are open. The program is open to all Brown County residents who collect food scraps and food-soiled paper in their homes. Certified compostable bags used by households are accepted. No commercial organics can be brought to the drop-off sites.
Mark Walter, Business Development Manager with Brown County’s Port and Resource Recovery Department, told Wisconsin Public Radio that the first two sites received 7.5 tons of organic waste in the program’s first year. He estimates organics comprise about 25 percent of what is currently landfilled in the county. Residents are asked to register when using the drop-off site to enable the county to track usage of the sites. Having households register also enables the county to provide updates and information to participants. Brown County’s recycling revenues and fees fund the drop-off sites and transportation.