In the U.S. State of New York, Governor Cuomo has launched a $40 million anaerobic digester project on Long Island. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in August 2016, is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 40,000 tons annually, equivalent to removing 8,125 cars from the road. Included in the plan is the utilisation of harvested fuel by the waste management fleet.
The new anaerobic digester will be operated by American Organic Energy at Long Island Compost’s 62-acre facility in Yaphank, Suffolk County and will process over twice as much food waste as currently processed at any existing privately-owned food waste digesters accepting offsite food waste in New York State. The project will accept approximately 120,000 tons of food waste, 30,000 tons of fats, oils and greases, and 10,000 tons of grass clippings from the Long Island region annually that would otherwise have been transported and dumped into landfills, contributing to harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The digester will convert these waste streams to clean energy, clean water to be used for plant processes, and solid-based fertilizer.
Anaerobic digestion is a biological process that occurs when organic matter is decomposed by bacteria in the absence of oxygen. During the decomposition process, the biogas released can be recovered, treated and used to generate energy in place of traditional fossil fuels.
The biogas produced by the site will first be used to run the digester and the existing facility. Long Island Compost also plans to convert the biogas to renewable natural gas (biomethane) that will be used to fuel its trucks on-site, reducing diesel consumption by 200,000 gallons annually. An additional 1.9 million gallons of diesel per year will be offset by injecting the remaining renewable gas produced by the digester into the National Grid natural gas pipeline on Long Island. This will enable the gas to be used to fuel compressed natural gas vehicles in other areas.
Heiner Markhoff, President and CEO, water and process technologies for GE Power & Water, said, “To achieve greater regional and national sustainability, we are seeing a growing trend underway in which municipalities and industries across the country are focusing more of their efforts on energy neutral resource recovery solutions to reduce their environmental impacts and boost local economic development, including producing more of their own on-site cleaner water and energy.”
The State has awarded the project a $1.3 million grant through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
(Source: Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative)