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Harvest Power opens Florida AD facility

Anaerobic digestion

Central Florida Energy Garden will produce biogas and fertilizers from organic waste.

REW Staff March 3, 2014

Harvest Power has opened the Central Florida Energy Garden, an organics management and renewable energy facility that is the first of its kind in the U.S., converting organic waste into renewable biogas and natural fertilizers. The anaerobic digester combines a unique set of proven technologies and will divert hundreds of thousands of tons of waste from Central Florida landfills.

Located within the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), the Energy Garden uses anaerobic digestion (AD) – a biological process that relies on trillions of naturally occurring bacteria – to produce renewable biogas. When operating at full capacity, the facility will process more than 120,000 tons of organic materials annually while producing 5.4 megawatts of combined heat and power.

“We are immensely proud of the teamwork that transformed this technically sophisticated project from a vision to a reality,” says Alex MacFarlane, vice president of Project Development. “As North American demand for recycling of organic waste grows, this anaerobic digestion facility is a revelation for what is possible. Designed to the highest standards, we hope it will serve as an inspiration for more communities to divert organics from the landfill.”

Harvest Power’s Energy Garden is designed to help businesses and communities across Central Florida reduce and reuse organic material, increase renewable energy production and revitalize soil to boost local agriculture. Restaurants, hotels and food processors throughout the region are now able to send food scraps to the Energy Garden. Walt Disney World Resort – located within RCID – is the facility’s first customer with additional businesses in surrounding communities signing up every day.

“We’re always looking for innovative ways to conserve natural resources and protect the environment,” said Bill Warren, administrator for Reedy Creek Improvement District, which provides governmental services, including utility systems. “Turning organic waste into clean energy is a logical next step toward realizing long-term sustainability goals.”

Currently, compostable organic material makes up the largest and heaviest portion of the overall waste stream in the U.S., according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The majority of organic material is discarded with waste and hauled to distant landfills. In Central Florida, about 24 pounds of food waste enters a landfill every second – or more than 1,000 tons per day.

Harvest Power is also launching a new campaign in Central Florida, encouraging businesses to divert their food waste from landfills and convert it to renewable energy via the Harvest facility. The “Orlando Or Landfill? Responsible Food Recovery” campaign challenges businesses and consumers to “Choose Orlando” to reduce pressure on landfills and help fuel local renewable energy production. Harvest Power works with a variety of municipalities and private haulers to provide simple solutions for food waste recycling.

More information is available at www.WeChooseOrlando.com.
 

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