Southern California Conversion Technology


Conversion Technology E-Newsletter – February 2018


Los Angeles County Public Works is seeking your input. We are interested in feedback on our e-newsletter and website to determine the type of information and resources that are or would be most useful to you to facilitate the development of anaerobic digestion and other conversion technology projects in the County. Please consider sharing your opinions by taking this brief, ten-question survey. It should take about ten minutes to complete and can be found by clicking here. Thank you!


Alternative Technology Advisory Subcommittee Meeting (ATAS)
March 15, 2018
Alhambra, CA
For more information on this event, please visit the website:

March 5-7, 2018
Denver, CO
For more information on this event, please visit the website:

Southern California Waste Management Forum, Spring Conference
March 7, 2018
Downey, CA
For more information on this event, please visit the website:

BioCycle West Coast
March 26-29, 2018
San Diego, CA
For more information on this event, please visit the website:

SB 1383 Organics Workshop
April 4, 2018
Sacramento, CA
For more information on this event, please visit the website:
April 6, 2018
Carlsbad, CA
For more information on this event, please visit the website:

April 24-26, 2018
Las Vegas, NV
For more information on this event, please visit the website:

SWANA Western Region Symposium
May 21-24, 2018
Palm Springs, CA
For more information on this even, please visit the website:


Anaerobic Digesters as a Tool for Californias Clean Transportation Efforts
One of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions is organic waste, with dairy waste being the largest single source of fugitive methane in California. Food waste and green waste that decompose uncontrollably in landfills produces copious amounts of methane gas, 34-51% of which are not captured by typical landfill capture systems. Proper collection and refinement of these gases, however, can be processed into renewable sources of diesel and other fuels. Anaerobic digestion (AD) converts carbon-rich organic feedstock into biogas containing high methane content. Untreated, biogas can be used directly onsite at the AD facility to generate power or heat. It can also be further processed to be injected into existing gas pipeline systems, as it is chemically identical to fossil-derived methane. This makes biogas most readily available to replace conventional fuels as it does not require any retrofitting to existing combustion engine vehicles. Not only does biogas burn cleaner than conventional fuel, but building AD facilities onsite at a landfill or wastewater treatment plant can mitigate greenhouse gases and odors as well. As the state continues to set aggressive environmental goals, anaerobic digestion facilities are showing untapped potential not only to be used as a regulatory compliance tool, but can decrease greenhouse gas emissions while making the renewable fuel industry more efficient. To read more, click here.

Nothing Wasted: The Waste-to-Energy Revolution in China
The densely populated cities of China can produce 40 million tons of sewage in a year, but only less than 20% of that ends up treated. The rest is exported to landfills, incinerated, or illegally dumped. Only as recently as 2013 have journalists and concerned citizens exposed the issue of untreated wastewater being dumped into farmers fields, polluting the soil and groundwater as well. Incineration has increased tenfold between 2003 and 2013. Chinas 2015 Water Pollution Action Plan aims to fix these issues by setting a 90% toxic-free goal by 2020. As a result, China has shown interest in anaerobic digestion technology from the U.S. However, the current infrastructure would need go through massive changes before it can reap the benefits of a circular economy. For instance, drainage systems currently combine storm water and wastewater, diluting the organic content of the sludge. Some cities solve this issue by adding food waste to wastewater before it is digested. But there is no single solution to the problem. Chinas cities look to create policy and market incentives in a time when expertise on the subject is growing, putting the country in a position to lead the charge in a wastewater-to-power revolution. To read more, click here.

Kroger Adds New Waste-to-Energy System at Manufacturing Plant in Greensburg, Indiana
The Kroger Company in Cincinnati announced recently a successful startup for an anaerobic digester at their K.B. Specialty Foods manufacturing plant in Greensburg, Indiana. Kroger also recently announced an initiative called Zero Hunger| Zero Waste that is intended to end hunger and eliminate waste in its communities by 2025. The latter, to eliminate waste, was a goal set out for their manufacturing plants several years ago. The plant in Greensburg currently diverts more than 90% of waste from landfills per year as a part of Krogers Zero Waste initiative, and will soon house the companys second anaerobic digester. The digester replaces a conventional wastewater treatment system to produce biogas from food byproducts. The first digester that Kroger installed was back in 2013 at a 59-acre Ralphs-Food 4 Less distribution center in Compton, California. This digester has a capacity of 150 tons per day, and converts food waste from the distribution centers grocery stores along with wastewater from an adjacent Kroger creamery into renewable biogas. To read more, click here.

Biogen Expands with Scottish Anaerobic Digestion Acquisition
Biogen is a food waste management company that was recently purchased by Ancala Bioenergy. The company now has a total of eight anaerobic digestion plants in its network all across the UK. The latest addition is the acquisition of the 1.5 MW Millerhill facility located in Edinburgh care of Kelda Water Services. Biogen will be working with Midlothian Council and the City of Edinburg Council to collect residential food waste as well as waste from commercial and industry to produce enough energy to approximately 3,300 homes along with producing biofertilizer. The site on which the anaerobic digester is to be installed is part of the larger Millerhill site which was converted into an environmental business park, which is home to several waste treatment facilities. Millerhill was designed to help with the Scottish Government Zero Waste Plan goals of 70% waste recycled and 95% waste diverted from the landfill from 2025. Biogen operates a total of eight waste transfer stations where, collectively, 250,000 tons of food waste is converted into 11 MW of energy. To read more, click here.

Biochar Could Benefit Anaerobic Digestion of Animal Manure
Findings from Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists explore the potential of biochar as an accelerating material to make anaerobic digestion of dairy manure more efficient. According to Eunsung Kan, one of the researchers, manure is a rich source of methane-producing bacteria which can be used to convert manure to methane in volatile conditions. Potentially, this could increase efficiency since methanogenic bacterias ideal operating conditions produce methane in such a narrow window. Anaerobic digestion of manure results in undesirable conditions that are difficult to control such as an acidic environment which can slow down the conversion process. The principal author of this research paper, Hyun Min Jang, says biochar derived from manure can act as a buffer that can help maintain optimum pH levels while supporting bacterial growth. The lag phase can potentially be decreased, which can translate to lower initial investment cost, water consumption, utility costs, operating costs, and land requirements. To read more, click here.

Sewage Plant Project Would End Landfill Green Waste Composting
For nearly 23 years, Maui EKO systems has provided the residents of Kahului with compost derived from the islands green waste and county sewage sludge. However, they may be out of business as early as the end of next year due to Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility. The facility is proposing an anaerobic digester that will produce and refine biogas to heat and power the treatment plant itself. Waste heat will be used to dry biosolids. The project is led by Maui All-Natural Alternative, a company owned by Anaergeia Services. Residents voiced concerns about the plants impacts during a community meeting held at the local elementary school. Anaergia and county officials projected an output of 4.5 kWh of electricity per year, charging at 29 cents per kWh. Residents expressed their concern over the charge which is double the price from wind farms and fossil-fuel generated power. The residents also worried about air quality and odors additionally claiming that it is not the most cost-effective option for taxpayers. To read more, click here.

Metro Portland Announces New Plant to Turn Food Scraps Into Energy
Negotiations for a new anaerobic digester have begun in Metro Portland in a bid to turn food waste into energy. In the past, Portland has had difficulty recycling any food waste from a composting site that prompted numerous odor complaints to a project that never moved forward. Annually, food waste makes up the largest portion of garbage that ends up in a landfill. Earlier in January, a panel of Metro Portland officials selected Waste Management to develop the new anaerobic digester with negotiations currently under way. Waste Management will pre-process food scraps into a bio-slurry that will be taken to a wastewater treatment plant in North Portland near the existing wastewater treatment plant. To ensure there is enough material for the feedstock, Metro Portland is developing a mandate requiring large businesses and institutions to separate their food scraps. If approved, the mandates first phase would start in March of 2020 and apply to companies and groups that produce more than 1,000 pounds of food waste per week. To read more, click here.

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