Some digesters just burn off the energy produced, without using it. Others are inadvertently designed in a way that prevents much energy from ever being produced. We know that energy revenue makes all the difference, so we design our facilities to absolutely maximize the amount of energy that is produced, day in and day out. And in our own operations, we make daily decisions designed to maximize that energy revenue. That's what makes our operating costs so low. We call this approach Energy First.
Every anaerobic digestion plant produces large amounts of energy, which translates into large amounts of revenue in a well-designed facility.
Technically, the plants actually produce biogas, an incredibly-flexible energy source that can be put to a wide range of uses, including:
- production of industrial-grade heat and steam
- replacement of natural gas; and
- fuelling of any type of vehicle fleet
Build the Right Kind of Digester
One of the pillars of Energy First is our unique Second-Generation Digester technology. It has a huge impact on energy production.
We build Second-Generation anaerobic digesters. They produce up to 50% more energy for every kilogram of waste received, and that's a huge advantage. They're also inherently much more stable and easier to manage.
What's a Second-Generation digester? Our digestion process is separated into two phases, each of which must be completed in separate vessels in the plant. Raw wastes are broken down into very simple compounds in the first phase. This initial step is required to make waste by-products available for methane production in the second phase. Here's the key--each of the two steps requires a significantly-different temperature and pH environment inside the vessel, to produce optimal results.
First-Generation digesters, (designed to process very consistent and simple materials like bio-energy crops), force both phases into a single vessel, leading to greater instability and lower rates of energy production when dealing with complex waste streams.
Second-Generation Digesters are the best choice for mixed commercial organic wastes, and for municipal 'green bin' collection programs, simply because these waste streams are so variable.
You should expect better than yesterday's technology. We don't build first-generation digesters for complex wastes.
Burning conventional fuels to generate electricity or to fuel vehicles releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This it true whether it's coal, oil, propane, or natural gas that is burned.
Using biogas from one of our facilities is different. Our facilities contribute to greenhouse gas reduction and are eligible for carbon credits in jurisdictions where they are available.
The biogas produced in our facilities is a renewable resource. Vehicle fuel produced from a biogas facility is very similar to natural gas in character, but is called RNG, or renewable natural gas. We'll never run out of it so long as there is organic plant and animal waste material available for us to process.