County and regional planners need to find innovative solutions that reduce landfill waste, preserve and protect water supplies, while reducing costs as well. Here is where chicken litter waste, clean coal scrubbing technology, private investment merge.
Also, with electric rates rising 30% in Pennsylvania and a large battle looming between developing natural gas via the huge Marcellus Shale deposits and the environmental concerns about keeping our water supply safe, there are three companies involved in taking our waste and converting it into energy.
ENGINUITY ENERGY LLC has proposed an Ag-Energy biomass energy plant in Steelton, PA. The plant will be fueled by agricultural byproducts such as chicken litter and its proposal has been submitted to midstate steelmaker ArcelorMittal Steelton for their review.
The Hampden Township-based Enginuity Energy LLC submitted a proposal to ArcelorMittal in Dec. 2009 to build the facility on its land, according to Township records. At the Steelmaker’s request, borough council and borough officials were briefed on the proposal. "The results of this proposal should be announced soon," commented Enginuity Energy VP, Richard Madeira. Two years ago Madeira departed Siemens AG, a global provider of technology and energy services, to join forces with Jim Elash and Jim Mooney to start Enginuity Energy.
So what is so unique about Enginuity Energy? Their technology is certainly innovative, but also their use of proven brainstorming techniques such as Blue Sky Planning sessions, their team helps companies evalute their organization's goals and their facilities as they relate to; the core business, facility needs, finance and environmental impact of companies they are working with.
Once these goals are understood a team of professionals will take the company through Program Feasibility, Project Design, Project Implementation and Systems Start Up. When the project is finished, this same works with their client to design a Sustainable Service Program to keep your facility running at its highest level of efficiency until it is ready to re-start what they define as the 'e-cycle.
Enginuity Energy is partnering with REM Engineering of Roswell Georgia to utilize REM’s patented gasification technology, called “Ecoremedy”, as the key component in their biomass energy plants. This technology converts bio-mass materials into clean steam and power. The byproduct of the gasification process, is recovered nutrient that can be recycled and converted to cash for its use as a soil additive or fertilizer.
When asked about the emissions created by the gasification of the bio-mass, Madeira commented, "the emissions of an ecoremedy plant are extremely low because materials such as chicken litter, which is the proposed solution at the ArcelorMittal location, naturally contain high concentrations of urea and calcium, both key ingredients in existing emissions scrubber technology long used by coal fired electric plants. When gasified, the material actually scrubs itself"
"What is unique about the gasification technology is that it can utilize a wide variety of agricultural and industrial waste products, converting them into clean steam energy, which runs turbines," Madiera continued. "It allows the installations to be located in very diverse regions and not require fuel to be shipped in. It converts local waste products such as cow manure, chicken litter, logging waste, food processing residue and spent mushroom substrate (SMS) into energy. These present big environmental challenges to local and regional decision makers and planners."
Where the waste products are not high in urea and calcium, Best Available Technology (BAT) will be employed to provide safe emissions that meet EPA standards.
Madeira gave four reasons why this technology is huge plus for many municipal applications.
· The Deregulated Electric Market in PA now requies that a percentage of all electricty be produced by renewable energy sources.
· The abundance of naturally occurring bio-mass material in the state.
· The ecoremedy technology is easily adapted to fuel sources, regions and site applications.
· It creates jobs.
For a 10 Mega-watt installation, which cost $35-$36 million, there will be 125-150 jobs created for 18 months during the planning and construction phase. They are sourcing materials and labor from the state as much as possible. Once the plants are in operation, they will employ 15 full-time people. "The downstream job creation is less tangible, but the lessening of the environmental impacts to the Chesapeak Water Basin by lowering water polluting agricultural waste will take some of the pressure off these industries," commented Madiera.
"The recovered nutrient from the gasification process can also be used for a natural fertilizer and the footprint for most installations is small, only 4 acres in most cases. These are perfect solutions for the municipalities that are licensed to and do provide electricity for their communities." According to the PA Municipal Electric Association, there are 34 municipalities in Pennsylvania in this category.
The final piece of the puzzle that Enginuity Energy seems to have put together is the financing. They have secured investors who will pay for the installation, thus owning it. The municipality will not have to put out the cash or finance it and the investor group will reap the benefits of the long term cash flow.