Ecomaine launches food waste recovery programme with biogas production

Ecomaine, a Maine, US-based recycling service provider, has officially opened its new food waste recovery service utilising anaerobic digestion (AD) for biogas production.

The company says the addition of food waste recovery to its portfolio of services will help its member communities reach the statewide recycling goal of 50% by 2021.

“Recent studies have shown that organic materials make up about 40% of our waste stream. Half of that is food scraps. Providing towns and businesses with an easy way to divert this material from the waste stream will help our communities be more sustainable and may save them money,” said Troy Moon, chairman of the board at Ecomaine.

After conducting a rigorous request for proposal (RFP) process this spring, Ecomaine awarded Exeter Agri-Energy and its affiliated collection company Agri-Cycle Energy, both of Exeter, Maine, a five-year contract.

They will pick up the food scraps collected at Ecomaine and transport them to their anaerobic digester for energy recovery or composting.

Ecomaine chose to work with a third-party food waste processor based on the results of its Organics Recycling Feasibility study in 2013.

This report suggested that existing processing capacity in Maine makes it more cost-effective to find a private sector partner than to construct a new facility.

Exeter Agri-Energy combines the power of AD with a state-of-the-art de-packager, which allows participants to collect food waste in the most “ick-free” fashion possible.

Adam Wintle, managing partner at Exeter Agri-Energy and Agri-Cycle Energy, said the company invested in a new waste processing system last November.

“It’s helping us pre-process and shred solids, including grocery store food waste, before they are fed into the digesters to optimise biogas production,” Wintle said.

Exeter Agri-Energy’s AD system uses cow manure and organics to generate enough biogas to power approximately 800 homes.

The zero-energy, closed loop system also generates a liquid by-product used as cropland fertiliser, and solids by-products used as animal bedding or compost product.

Agri-Cycle Energy is a full service food waste collection company providing solutions throughout the Northeast US.

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