Anaergia to design, build and operate organic waste-to-renewable energy project in San Diego County

Anaergia has been selected as the energy recovery contractor for a new system that will produce renewable power from wastewater sludge at the East County advanced water purification (AWP) facility now under construction in Santee, California, US. Anaergia anticipates the energy recovery project will also eventually digest food waste along with the wastewater sludge. Anaergia is expected to design and build the waste-to-renewable energy facility and provide long-term operations and maintenance after commissioning.

Anaergia to build organic waste to renewable energy facility for large San Diego-area water purification project in July 2023

The East County AWP facility is part of an AWP programme that is a partnership among Padre Dam municipal water district, El Cajon city, San Diego County, and Helix water district. The programme is expected to produce up to 11.5 million gallons per day of new local drinking water, enough to supply about 50,000 households for a year.

This project at the East County AWP is expected to produce renewable power from biogas created by anaerobically digesting wastewater solids and potentially locally-sourced organic waste. Anaergia plans to integrate a waste-to-renewable power system that includes a biogas conditioning system, combined heat and power (CHP) generation, as well as an optional receiving station with storage tanks for organic waste deliveries. These technologies will enable the East County AWP facility to make up to 3.1MW of renewable electricity and heat, with potential for future expansion to 4.6MW. The organic waste reception would provide a local outlet for recycling organic waste that is required to be diverted from landfills under California law. The law is designed to reduce planet-warming methane emissions, which are created when food and other organic wastes are landfilled.

Anaergia CEO Brett Hodson said, “This project leverages technology, adds resilient infrastructure, and brings economic benefits to the utility. The biogas made from anaerobically digesting this waste will be recovered to generate renewable electricity and heat for on-site use, reducing dependence on electric utilities and cutting costs for these municipalities.”

“The energy recovery project would maximise production, beneficial use, and value of biogas while delivering energy savings, infrastructure enhancements, and environmental and community benefits,” said director of the East County AWP Mark Niemiec, “The AWP facility is creating a sustainable and local drinking water supply while reducing the region’s dependence on imported water. The project will the community resilience benefits provided by the AWP facility: the project will reduce the AWP facility use of fossil fuels, improve energy resiliency, and cut costs, which benefits our ratepayers.”

Anaergia energy recovery project complements other portions of the new East County AWP facility, including the facility’s anaerobic digesters, which are fitted with its OmniMix mixers, designed for co-digestion applications.