Biodigester planned for North Elba project

In New York, US, BioFerm Energy Systems/Viessmann Group has been selected as the anaerobic digester technology provider for a community organic diversion project expected to begin this year.

An estimated 900 tonnes of organic waste from nearby residences, restaurants and grocery stores are currently sent to area landfills in North Elba each year. Once the BioFerm technology is installed, this same waste will instead be diverted to the town's biodigester, slashing greenhouse gas emissions associated with the region's organic waste and creating green energy.

The biogas produced inside the North Elba digester will be combusted by a combined heat and power system (CHP), in turn generating approximately 290,500kWh of renewable electrical energy per year. This is the energy equivalent of powering almost 30 homes every year from the town's food scraps and leftovers.

The biodigester project will reduce North Elba's carbon footprint, cut its 'tipping fee' costs, and create sellable end products. In 2011, North Elba spent close to $230,000 (€205,000) in tipping fees—the cost associated with dumping waste in the landfill.

The project at North Elba is being made possible through a $1.06 million grant from the Regional Economic Development Council as part of NYSERDA's (New York Energy Research and Development Authority) Cleaner Greener Communities programme.

Plans are also in the works for future phases of the project to construct a composting facility and greenhouse alongside the biodigester to take full advantage of the nutrient-rich, post-digested material and the thermal energy produced by the CHP. The liquid fertiliser and compost created from these additions will contribute to the sustainable facets of this biodigester project.

The Lebanon project will deploy what PHG Energy believes is the world’s largest downdraft gasifier. The new design has been vetted through a rigorous testing process for more than two years at PHGE’s research facility. A standard PHGE gasifier can convert up to 12 tonnes of feedstock per day to fuel gas, while the Lebanon model will process up to 64 tonnes per day without substantially increasing the footprint of the plant.

 Once completed, the project will mark the 14th gasifier installation for PHGE. 

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