Turning Waste into a Resource Empowers Several Locations in Colorado
From sewage to food and agricultural waste, towns that process this feedstock effectively can gain many economic and environmental benefits to become more sustainable.
The emission of methane gas from sewage treatment plants, farming operations, and landfills aren’t merely a detriment to the environment and surrounding communities—they are, more poignantly, a costly missed opportunity for creating economic benefits. Processing waste for resources is by no means a new practice in the sustainability industry, but many communities still stand to gain from more widespread application of these practices.
The wastewater treatment plant in Grand Junction, Colo., takes in 8 million gallons of raw sewage — what’s flushed down the toilet and sinks. Processing this sewage produces a lot of methane, which the plant used to just burn off into the air.
The process was “not good for the environment and a waste of a wonderful resource,” says Dan Tonello, manager of the Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Now, using more infrastructure, the facility refines the methane further to produce natural gas chemically identical to what’s drilled from underground. Grand Junction has been replacing an aging fleet of garbage trucks and buses with natural gas vehicles, fueled mostly by the human-sourced gas from the treatment plant.
“We’re looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars a year being saved by implementing this process,” he says.
Europe has been extracting natural gas from organic waste for about a decade, and now it’s starting to pick up in the U.S.
And there are other sources beyond human waste. Right now, for instance, food scraps are being collected from restaurant, grocery stores and large food manufacturers all over Colorado’s densely populated front range. There could be 25 to 30 semi loads of food waste coming in per day, which is then mixed with manure from a local dairy farm. The Renewable Natural Gas is then delivered by the same pipelines used to deliver fossil fuel natural gas.
If all the organic waste in the country were gathered, current technologies could produce enough natural gas to replace about half of the diesel fuel used in U.S. transportation.
Team Gemini’s use of Combined Heat and Power, Anaerobic Digestion, and Water Treatment create an all-encompassing solution to these issues—a suitable combination of these technologies creates renewable electricity and thermal energy; eliminates air, water and ground pollution; and protects communities from harmful consequences of increasing waste generation. Combined with other technologies from our Bio Refinery range of solutions, other resources can be created like biofuels, high- and persistent-quality compost and fertilizer, and more.
Supporting and developing a closed-loop, 100%-sustainable infrastructure is among Team Gemini’s primary endeavors. Many technologies ultimately contribute to this goal, including protecting and treating valuable water resources and implementing sustainable agriculture.
In an effort to make more communities sustainable, Team Gemini works closely with commodity-intensive industries, municipalities, and other stakeholders to implement viable technology configurations that result in economic and other benefits. A closed-loop system allows businesses to minimize their operating costs and maximize their potential revenue streams, depending on which technologies they choose.
To learn more about Team Gemini’s diverse technology solutions, visit http://teamgemini.us/technologies/. Consider subscribing to our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the loop about key updates.
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