Real estate development company Forest City, Cleveland, has partnered with Quasar Energy Group, also of Cleveland, to launch the Collinwood BioEnergy Anaerobic Digestion (AD) System.
The plant, located at a brownfield site at a former General Motors plant on the east side of Cleveland, is a 1.3 megawatt anaerobic digestion (AD) waste-to-energy system. The system uses the AD process to break down organic waste residuals from local businesses to produce electricity that will be sold to local utility company Cleveland Public Power (CPP).
The system, which was introduced to the public during a ceremony July 9, 2012, will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 582 homes, natural gas for 113 homes, or compressed natural gas to fuel 838 cars per year, according to Quasar. Forest City made a $5.5 million investment in the Collinwood AD system at the GM property. Forest City owns the property and has been trying to develop it for commercial use.
John Ratner, Forest City vice president of sustainability solutions, says the company entered into this venture “as a way to capitalize on our existing skill set, as way to revitalize existing land within our portfolio and in an effort to hedge our exposure to volatile and dirty fuel sources.”
Quasar also has built and operates AD systems in the Ohio communities of North Ridgeville, Zanesville, Wooster and Columbus. Mel Kurtz, president of Quasar, said the Collinwood location houses the eighth digester in Ohio and estimates there are 176 AD systems in the U.S. currently.
“This is an example of how we take something out of the waste stream, create a good product—which is electricity in this case—and we do that in a way that reduces our carbon footprint and is friendly to the environment in regard to our landfills,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.
Ivan Henderson, commissioner of CPP, said the project fits with the utility company’s goals and has an impact on the local economy. “What a great win; what a great project,” he commented.
One company that is providing organic waste material for the AD system is Cleveland-based Pierre’s Ice Cream. Shelly Roth, president and CEO of Pierre’s, said this is one of the measures her company is taking to reduce waste.
“We wanted to incorporate many important features that were keeping us competitive and successful for the future, and we also wanted to make sure we were upholding and enhancing our quality, enhancing food safety, efficiency and the very important initiative of sustainability,” said Roth. “Our buildings and processes were designed to conserve energy and water consumption while reducing waste.”
Other ways Pierre’s has taken to reduce energy and conserve waste, according to Roth, include:
- capture hot and cold air created during the manufacturing process to heat and cool rooms;
- energy efficient equipment such as boiler and freezer equipment;
- use of insulated paneling in building which maintains temperatures and reduces energy consumption;
- strategic placement of windows and skylights to make use of natural light;
- motion sensors to control lighting;
- optimize utility consumption through programmable equipment control panels;
- installed special pumps and equipment designed to reduce water consumption and process waste; and
- recycling of corrugated packaging, plastic and paper products.
The digester tank at Collinwood has a capacity of 980,000 gallons. It takes an average of 28 days for the waste liquid to undergo the AD process to produce methane. Biosolids; fats, oils and greases (FOG); and food waste are all acceptable inputs for the system. In addition to the electricity produced, a CNG fuel station is expected to soon be operational to provide alternative fuel for trucks.
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