Patrick-Murray Administration Awards $400,000 for Anaerobic Digestion Facility at Dartmouth Landfill
Greater New Bedford Refuse District Pilot to Reduce Waste Stream, Boost Renewable Energy
BOSTON – Friday, February 15, 2013 - The Patrick-Murray Administration, through the agencies of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Results Program (CERP), has awarded two grants totaling $400,000 to the Greater New Bedford Regional Refuse Management District and CommonWealth New Bedford Energy LLC to help develop a pilot program for the anaerobic digestion of food waste, fats, oils and grease and sewage sludge.
The proposed digester facility would be located at the Crapo Hill landfill in Dartmouth and the biogas produced by this pilot plant will be used to generate electricity through the gas-to-energy facility already located on-site.
“The Crapo Hill landfill is the perfect location for this digester project because it will pull food out of the waste stream, implement an innovative technology that produces renewable energy and increase production at the existing gas-to-energy facility on-site,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “This project is consistent with the Commonwealth’s energy and environmental goals.”
The funding is provided by Massachusetts CERP agencies – the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). CERP works to advance environmental protection by promoting the development of appropriately sited renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Massachusetts.
MassDEP awarded $200,000 from its Sustainable Materials Recovery Program, which is funded through Alternative Compliance Payments received under DOER’s Renewable and Alternative Portfolio Standard programs. MassCEC also provided $200,000 from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust, which was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1998 as part of the deregulation of the electric utility market. The funding will go toward capital project costs, which are estimated at nearly $1 million.
“Food waste and organics make up 25 percent of the Commonwealth’s waste stream, and one of our goals is to reduce the disposal of organics by 450,000 tons per year by 2020,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “This project will help us reach that goal, while it produces a valuable biogas that can be utilized as electricity by the refuse management district.”
“Anaerobic digestion is an example of how Massachusetts’ leadership in renewable energy extends beyond wind and solar,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton. “Systems like this reduce the amount of organic waste that ends up in our landfills, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels to generate electricity, and increase our renewable energy capacity here in Massachusetts. It’s a win-win-win.”
“DOER is pleased to support this project with Alternative Compliance Payment funds, which are designed to support projects that bring new renewable generation to Massachusetts, contributing to our Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard,” said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia. “We are pleased to partner with MassDEP and the MassCEC to support efforts that transform organic wastes into new sources of fuel that further the Commonwealth’s clean energy and greenhouse gas commitments.”
The Greater New Bedford Regional Refuse Management District plans to set up the pilot digester to take up to 12 tons of materials per day and convert it into 650,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. The bio-energy facility would accept food waste and organics (50 percent), fats, oils and grease (25 percent) and wastewater treatment sludge (25 percent). If the pilot program is successful, the facility could expand the capacity to 120-150 tons per day.
The project will produce major cost savings for refuse district members, New Bedford and Dartmouth, though their revenue-sharing agreement with the private partner landfill gas operator, CommonWealth New Bedford Energy (CNBE). Currently, CNBE owns and operates the 3.3 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy power plant that produces renewable energy, which is delivered into the regional power grid via a local NStar electrical interconnection.
“The Greater New Bedford Regional Refuse Management District supports MassDEP’s efforts to divert food waste from landfill disposal. The grants from MassDEP and MassCEC will provide significant assistance with developing anaerobic digestion capabilities, in partnership with Commonwealth Resource Management, at our regional landfill,” said District Executive Director Scott Alfonse. “The District strives to preserve landfill capacity for those waste streams that can’t be re-used beneficially. This project will help divert an additional waste stream that would otherwise be disposed of in the landfill.”
“One of the greatest environmental challenges faced by communities is the disposal of solid waste,” said Sen. Mark Montigny. “Community residents are likewise faced with the challenges of rising energy costs. This program not only beneficially addresses both of these issues, but also fosters a greener environment and viable economic development.”
“It is great news that this technology is going to be used in the South Coast,” said Rep. Antonio F.D. Cabral. “Between the energy generated at this new anaerobic digestion facility and the wind power staged out of the South Terminal, Secretary Sullivan and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center are helping to turn the South Coast into a true pioneer for alternative energy.”
The proposal may also involve a number of innovative, closed-loop uses of the liquid digestate byproduct, which could include pumping the liquid back into the closed landfill cells to reactivate the gas production there. If the liquid is used to rejuvenate gas generation in the closed landfill areas, power output could be increased to 1.3 million kWh per year.
The residual solids from the digestate process could also be used as a supplemental feedstock for the yard waste composting operation already under way at the landfill.
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.
DOER develops and implements policies and programs aimed at ensuring the adequacy, security, diversity and cost-effectiveness of the Commonwealth’s energy supply within the context of creating a cleaner energy future.
Created by the Green Jobs Act of 2008, MassCEC is dedicated to accelerating the success of clean energy technologies, companies and projects in the Commonwealth – while creating high-quality jobs and long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts. Since its inception in 2009, MassCEC has helped clean energy companies grow, supported municipal clean energy projects and invested in residential and commercial renewable energy installations, creating a robust marketplace for innovative clean technology companies and service providers.