[Digestion] USA Industrial Food Derived BioGas Plants?

Juliette Bohn jbohn at HWMA.net
Wed Oct 6 12:18:22 PDT 2010

Hello all, 


Currently, in North America there are only a handful of food waste
digester projects (planned and existing).  The city of Toronto has two
stand-alone food waste digesters processing food waste from the
residential sector.  One of them (the Newmarket plant)  has been shut
down and re-opened at least once due to odor problems.  I am not sure if
it is currently operating or not.  The Dufferin Organics processing
facility (also in Toronto, Canada) has been the only stand-alone
digester continuously operating in North America to date. They are
currently planning to build a second digester facility and expand their
operations.  In the US, the East Bay Municipal Utility District in
Oakland, CA has been co-digesting commercial food waste with sewage
sludge for the last 5 years or so. They are still in the pilot phase of
this project (+/- 40 tpd) and are working diligently on pre-processing
treatment trains appropriate for municipal food waste.   In Davis, CA
there is the pilot high-rate two stage digester system - I believe
someone else sent an article about this. They have not yet run it
continuously, but are working to get a commercial system installed to
prove the technology. The Inland Empire Utilities Agency has been
co-digesting manure with food waste and fats, oils, and grease for
awhile now.  They are now re-commissioning a waste water treatment
digester to digest food waste. Cedar Grove composting in Washington is
also installing a food waste digester - they have permitting completed
and have selected a technology through the RFP process. They expect to
break ground on the project in the near future.  There is also a project
in southern Oregon - I just caught wind of this one - I believe it is in
Corvallis, OR.  I think they have permitting and a technology selected
as well.   There are a few other projects in the early planning phases,
as well as projects that handle homogenous industrial food waste streams
(i.e., onions or brewery wastes) if you are interested to know more,
send me an e-mail.


And last, but certainly not least, Humboldt County is working to develop
a regional food waste digester facility. This facility is being
developed by the Humboldt Waste Management Authority - a joint powers
authority that manages the solid waste for the county.  I am the project
manager for this effort. Currently, we are about to release our CEQA
permitting documents and hope to have our permits in place early next
year so that we can go to an RFP.  We have financing plans, a site, and
groundswell of support from the community.  We plan to accept commercial
and industrial food wastes in the first phase of development.  Again, if
you wish to know more, please contact me directly.


As for the heart of your question about construction methods and
contractors/engineers used, you might try to contact the Dufferin plant
or the Davis/On site Power group - although this information will not
likely transfer to other sites.  The gist of the situation is that there
are MANY digester technology vendors who want to get their toes into the
US market.  They are willing to design/build/own & operate or any
variation of that arrangement. Construction methods will depend on the
system chosen (i.e. dry digesters are very different from wet, also
different form a high solids systems etc.), as well as the facility
site, and the application. In our case, local engineers will likely be
utilized for the site preparation, electrical connections, and pipe
fitting etc. The construction of the digester system itself will
probably be handled by contractors chosen by the technology vendor. 


Municipal food waste digestion is spreading like wildfire here in the
US, and it is only a matter of the early adopters getting systems off
the ground and providing cost and operating data for the technology to
take off.  There are carbon offset protocols in place, and in CA the
state waste management agency (CalRecycle) is developing a programmatic
EIR to assist in the development of increased food waste digester


There is a lot more to tell, so if you would like to follow up, please
feel free to contact me directly.   I am happy to talk with you about
the project proposed for your area, as well as discuss some of the
current technological and political discourse surrounding this type of







Juliette Bohn

Program Analyst  

Energy and Waste Management

Humboldt Waste Management Authority

1059 W. Hawthorne St.

Eureka CA, 95501

(707) 268-8680

From: digestion-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org
[mailto:digestion-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of evans
Sent: Monday, October 04, 2010 11:26 AM
To: digestion at lists.bioenergylists.org
Subject: [Digestion] USA Industrial Food Derived BioGas Plants?


I was wondering if anyone would be able to tell me if there are any
committed plans to build food derived industrial biogas plants in the
It is my understanding that there is not much experience with this sort
of endeavor in North America and zero precedents for America. 

I am looking for case studies of city-scale industrial biogas plants as
there are developers in my area who wish to build this kind of project
I would like to assist in this effort but am having difficulty in
locating credible North American case studies. 

Projects do not have to be completed and any information would be
helpful, but I am looking for data that refers to construction methods
and contractors/engineers used.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


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