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[GreenYes] Re: Bioreactors and "green energy"?


Thanks, Eric, for posting this. It¹s my good old hometown, Columbia, MO!

Sure would be nice if Peter Anderson were still on this list serve to get
the conversation heated up. Imagine, 2.5% of a city¹s energy needs in 10
years time! There is no mention of operating costs (which must mean this
baby will run cheap), but $1.6 million to build the unit is pretty
inexpensive (which really makes me wonder about the philosophy of low bid
public procurement). Also, only 40,000-50,000 gallons of water a day.
Hmmmm...green energy, huh? I wonder if they calculated the amount of energy
saved through recycling, composting and waste reduction of the same
material.

All funnin¹ aside, we are entering a new phase of technology experimentation
in this land of plenty. We all need to be on our toes. Recycling and
composting is now seen as old school.

db
--
David Biddle, Executive Director
<http://www.blueolives.blogspot.com>
Greater Philadelphia Commercial Recycling Council
P.O. Box 4037
Philadelphia, PA 19118

215-247-3090 (desk)
215-432-8225 (cell)

<http://www.gpcrc.com>

Read In Business magazine to learn about sustainable
businesses in communities across North America!
Go to: <http://www.jgpress.com/inbusine.htm>

on 2/13/07 10:30 AM, Eric Lombardi at eric@no.address wrote:

> Greetings all,
>
> The language of change are like the pixels that form an image. Thus, the
> landfill industry is in the process of defining itself as a ³green energy²
> contributor to our society ? and we all know how warm and fuzzy that idea is
> these days.
>
> This recent article (below) paints the picture for the public of what the
> landfill industry wants a ³bioreactor² to be viewed as. They have the EPA in
> their corner supporting them, and they will probably get the majority of the
> DNR¹s across the nation to support them as well because they are painting a
> pretty picture here? a solution that doesn¹t make anyone change their
> lifestyles ? a solution that makes the problem go away AND produce a social
> good ? green energy. Plus, it appears to be a genuine improvement over the
> dry-tomb landfill (and that is another issue I think we need to discuss
> later). We have our work cut out for us if we are to be successful in keeping
> the bioreactor landfill from hurting the Zero Waste future society we all
> envision.
>
> I want to create a list of the ³Top Five Reasons the Bioreactor is a Trojan
> Horse² ? in other words, it may look like a gift, but in fact hidden from view
> are the following threats? and on top of my list is
> (1) the ³Life-cycle methane capture rate² ? is it really only 20% with the
> best available technology today? If so, then I think we should be calling
> bioreactors ³GHG Belching Machines²;
>
> Anyone else have any candidates for the Top Five list?
>
> Eric
>
> <http://columbiamissourian.com/>
> Whiff of green energy lurks in city landfill
> Plans call for first landfill bioreactor in Missouri
> By STEVE BARTEL
>
> February 12, 2007
>
>
>
> How a bioreactor landfill works
> According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a bioreactor landfill
> is one that ³operates to rapidly transform and degrade organic waste.² In a
> traditional landfill, waste is dumped into a ³dry tomb,² covered and allowed
> to decompose naturally in the absence of oxygen, which inhibits the process.
> The anaerobic bioreactor proposed for the Columbia landfill will use the same
> system but inject 40,000 to 50,000 gallons of water per day into the tomb,
> called a ³cell.² The water will be recirculated through the cell to facilitate
> the growth of bacteria that will rapidly decompose organic material such as
> paper, food scraps and wood, freeing up more space for incoming waste and
> producing more methane, which can be used as fuel.
> There are plenty of places to find cutting-edge research and technology in
> Columbia. One place you might not think to look, however, is inside a giant
> pile of trash.
>
> Columbia is expected to finalize a contract this week with Jefferson City¹s
> Frank Twehous Excavating Co. to begin construction on what could become the
> first landfill bioreactor in Missouri. At nearly $1.6 million, Twehous¹ bid is
> about $260,000 less than the closest competitor, Fretco Inc. of Warrensburg.
>
> The methane gas produced by the bioreactor and existing traditional fills is
> estimated to account for about 2.5 percent of Columbia¹s energy needs in 10
> years, when the facility would be operating at full capacity.
>
> The methane would be converted into about 17,010 megawatts of electricity per
> year, or enough to power 1,739 homes.
>
> ³This has been a project that¹s been on the table since 2000,² said Richard
> Wieman, solid waste utility manager at the Columbia Sanitary Landfill. ³It¹s
> designed to study how well (bioreactor technology) works or doesn¹t work.²
>
> Other bioreactors, such as those located at the Waste Management­Outer Loop
> Landfill in Louisville, Ky., have seen considerable success. The Kentucky
> facility opened its first two bioreactors in 2000 and has since added three
> more, covering over 40 acres and capable of holding a total of 5 million tons
> of trash. Using 130 wellheads and a new experimental collection system called
> multi-plane, the facility captures about 3,600 cubic feet of natural gas per
> minute, which is used to heat a nearby General Electric manufacturing
> plant.Gary Hater, bioreactor program director at the Louisville facility, saw
> his operations personnel assume management of the on-site bioreactors from the
> research team just last year.
>
>
> (TYLER METZGER/Missourian)
> ³We¹ve progressed out of the experimental stage,² he said. ³It¹s working well
> with operations personnel, and we¹re at a point where we¹re making sure our
> operations are correct. This is proof that this system is doable.²
>
> Risky business
>
> Starting a bioreactor isn¹t as easy as digging a hole and filling it with
> water and trash. There are certain risks associated with any landfill,
> including the escape of gas, stability issues due to the shifting of
> decomposing material, and leachate, potentially hazardous liquid that could
> breach the liner at the bottom of the landfill and enter the water supply.
>
> The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is responsible for approving the
> design and construction of a new landfill to ensure it meets environmental
> safety standards. Because this project is the first of its kind in Missouri,
> no such procedure existed for bioreactors until Jan. 16 of this year, when the
> federal Environmental Protection Agency approved the DNR¹s authority to allow
> the bioreactor in Columbia.
>
> ³We¹re learning, in a way,² said Jim Hull, director of the DNR¹s Solid Waste
> Management Program. ³We¹ve never approved a bioreactor before. The main things
> we¹re looking for are an appropriate site and an acceptable design.²
>
> Hull expects the permit request from the city ³any time,² and has sent members
> of his staff to bioreactor design training and on tours of bioreactor sites in
> other states to prepare them for the review of the Columbia design. When the
> application is received, a team of engineers, hydrologists and soil experts
> will have up to six months to approve or reject the design proposed by Camp,
> Dresser & McKee Inc., the Cambridge, Mass.-based consulting firm hired by
> Columbia to oversee planning and construction of the bioreactor.
>
>
> The proposed bioreactor would also be a first for Lisa Harrison, the CDM
> project manager in charge of the bioreactor design and construction.
>
> Harrison expects to have the landfill cell? the earthen construction that
> holds the trash ? finished by the end of this summer, at which point waste and
> high-density polyethylene piping would begin to fill the dry tomb. After about
> two years of trash has accumulated, pending DNR approval, water would begin
> flowing through the pipes and the decomposition rate would rapidly increase,
> if everything goes as planned.
>
> John Bowders, of the MU Department of Civil Engineering, said the effect of
> water-aided decomposition can be dramatic.
>
> Settlement, the reduction of the amount of waste in a cell, is usually around
> 5 percent to 20 percent over 30 years in a dry tomb. When a bioreactor is
> activated, the settlement figures can be from 30 percent to 50 percent over
> five to 10 years. That means the height of accumulated waste in a cell could
> be reduced from 100 feet to as little as 50 feet in a few years.
>
> The decomposing waste in a landfill cell doesn¹t just disappear, however. The
> organic material is converted into a problem that has plagued landfill
> operators for a long time ? natural gas.
>
> From trash to useful gas
>
> Zhiqiang Hu of the MU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering said
> that although it is difficult to name all the bacteria involved in landfill
> decomposition, the primary group is called methanogens. As they break down
> organic material, methanogens produce methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more
> potent than carbon dioxide and a major factor in climate change, according to
> the EPA. Due to the accelerated rate of decomposition in a bioreactor, methane
> gas is produced at a much higher rate than in dry tomb landfills, which
> already are the primary source of human-related methane emissions in the U.S.
>
> The Columbia Sanitary Landfill is equipped with technology enabling the
> capture of landfill gas, preventing damage to the environment and providing an
> opportunity for a new fuel source. The landfill has been collecting methane
> since 1994, but not in sufficient volumes to produce electricity. The methane
> is currently burnt off, or flared.
>
> ³It¹s simply a matter of getting enough garbage in place to make (methane
> collection) an economical project,² Wieman said.
>
> With the continued filling of existing cells and the possible increase in
> methane production from the proposed bioreactor, Columbia would stand ready to
> harness the natural gas as an alternative source of energy. The new design can
> accommodate four engines capable of converting the captured gas into
> electricity. Wieman plans to start with two engines and add more as the rising
> level of stored waste produces more gas. Coupled with the city¹s recent
> agreement to purchase electricity produced from natural gas at the dry tomb
> landfill in Jefferson City, this new source of fuel would put Columbia well
> ahead of alternative energy goals mandated by voters in a 2004 ballot
> referendum.
>
> If the plans receive DNR approval, Columbia will join a handful of cities
> around the world in spearheading bioreactor technology.
>
> ³I see nothing in its way right now,² Wieman said. ³DNR has been very
> positive. It¹s fun to be a part of this experiment and leading technology in
> Columbia.²
>
>
>
> back to the top
> <http://columbiamissourian.com/news/print.php?ID=24180#top#top>
>
> .
> Copyright © 2007 Columbia Missourian
>
>
>
>
>
> Eric Lombardi
> Executive Director/CEO
> Eco-Cycle Inc
> Boulder, CO. USA
> 303-444-6634
> www.ecocycle.org
>
>
> >
>





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