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Changing the Perception of Waste Disposal

BioEnergy Insight: By Frank E. Celli

In an effort to transform the waste disposal industry, Entsorga West Virginia, LLC (Entsorga WV) will be the first to introduce its proprietary system of Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) to the US. This technology has been successfully deployed throughout Europe, where Entsorga has provided facilities in five countries that currently process approximately one million tons of municipal solid waste annually. Entsorga’s HeBioT technology utilizes a combination of mechanical and biological treatment of waste in order to produce an EPA recognized alternative, renewable fuel source called SRF.

The Entsorga facility in Martinsburg, WV, which broke ground on January 6, 2016, will achieve approximately 80% landfill diversion and provide an alternative fuel (SRF) to the Essroc Cement plant that will be used in conjunction with coal as a fuel source for the production of cement. Once complete, the facility will receive and process approximately 110,000 tons of unsorted municipal solid waste that has historically been landfilled. Utilizing a combination of automated sorting equipment, enhanced biological composting, and mechanical refinement, the HeBioT process will ultimately remove recyclables, produce a clean alternative fuel.

Reducing carbon emissions

As the demand for landfill diversion and reduction of fossil fuel dependency grows, Entsorga’s MBT technology helps meet these demands by extending the life of existing landfills, limiting the expansion of new landfills, increasing recycling rates and providing a sustainable alternative fuel source. The use of SRF will result in fewer carbon emissions than coal or other fossil fuels when used in cement kilns, steel mills, power plants and other industrial applications.

The process will offer a viable alternative to municipal and private landfill operators for the disposal of waste. Landfills in some parts of the United States are dangerously close to reaching their capacities. Densely populated areas often need to transfer their waste considerable distances due to a lack of availability, drastically increasing disposal costs and adding a strain on already stressed municipal budgets.

Despite the enforcement of more stringent regulations for landfill construction, contamination can occur through leaks or spills. A reduction in landfill use limits the potential for these environmental issues. Although the number of landfills has decreased in recent decades the size and distance to active landfills has dramatically increased. Trucks need to travel further to disposal sites increasing damage to roads and other infrastructure. The addition of more conveniently located MBT facilities will help alleviate both of these financial and environmental impacts.

The project is being financed with $25 million ($23M) in tax exempt, private activity bonds, issued by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority on behalf of Entsorga West Virginia.

As the US continues to increase its waste diversion and sustainability goals, the emergence of new technologies is the pinnacle to achieving a more sustainable future.

Entsorga’s HeBioT MBT technology represents a significant part of the future of the changing waste industry.

The Martinsburg West Virginia project is just the first of what Entsorga envisions to be a network of facilities providing a safe, environmentally efficient solution to the issue of waste disposal in the United States.

The project is expected to be operational in early 2017.

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