New waste to energy plant will convert compost into biochar

August 31, 2015 1 By Amanda Giasson

A new biomass gasification plant is to be built by PHG Energy in Tennessee.

According to Tennessee-based waste to energy (W2E) technology company, PHG Energy (PHGE), it has been chosen by Sevier Solid Waste in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to construct a new biomass gasification plant that will be capable of converting over 30 tons of composted material a day into thermal energy. It will also produce a valuable high-carbon biochar, which is charcoal that is produced from plant matter and can be stored in soil for the purpose of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Waste to Energy

The energy from waste facility will help lower the carbon footprint of the SSWI plant by more than 450 tons.

Sevier Solid Waste, Inc. (SSWI) runs a garbage composting plant that processes over 100,000 tons in municipal solid waste at year. The waste comes from Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Sixty percent (60%) of the municipal solid waste that is processed through the plant is turned into compost.

The director of SSWI, Tom Leonard, said that “This new installation will help us reduce the amount of compost we need to transport by converting it into a biochar material, creating a new revenue stream for us.” Leonard added that “The energy from the gasification system will be used in a thermal oxidize promoting odor control in the building.” He also said that the installation will enable the company to postpone other upgrades, and that the new plant will provide a significant savings from their present operating and disposal costs.

According to PHGE, the new installation will help to reduce the carbon footprint of SSWI by more than 450 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

The cost of the waste to energy facility is $2.25 million.

PHGE will build the W2E plant in Pigeon Forest as a general contractor and will provide the gasifier, thermal oxidizer, and material handling equipment. PHGE reports that an estimated 90% of the biomass that is gasified in its thermo-chemical process becomes fuel gas. Only the leftover residue is the biochar. SSWI plans to sell the biochar to a local industrial user as a renewable source of fuel to replace coal consumption.

A $250,000 Clean Energy Tennessee Grant has been awarded through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to the Pigeon Forest waste to energy project, which costs $2.25 million.

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