Special events, restaurants and other commercial businesses in the Monterey region of California have found a way to close the compostable waste loop and produce usable electricity at the same time. The electricity is produced via dry fermentation anaerobic digestion (AD) units that came online this spring at the Monterey Regional Waste Management District (MRWMD) in Marina.
The pilot AD project is a public-private venture between MRWMD and Zero Waste Energy (ZWE), a California-based engineering technology firm that markets the SmartFerm dry digestion system. William Merry, MRWMD general manager, met representatives from ZWE at the BioCycle Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling Conference in Madison, Wisconsin in 2011. “For a couple years prior we had been considering the next step in diversion and were interested in AD for organic matter,” Merry recalls, noting that AD could help the District attain higher waste diversion. “We decided to try this small-scale pilot, which was relatively low risk and low cost.”