March 27, 2008
Florida municipality will transform sludge into renewable energy
In Sanford, Fla., a gasification system will convert wastewater sludge
into thermal energy to safeguard the environment and reduce costs.
By Kristin Atwater
To dispose of sludge, also known as biosolids, the city contracted
with Houston-based MaxWest Environmental Systems to adopt the
company’s gasification system. The system converts sludge from
municipal wastewater treatment plants into renewable “green” energy.
"Compared to the projected cost of natural gas, a fossil fuel, Sanford
will save $9 million over the 20-year life of our contract," said Paul
Moore, Sanford utility director. "This technology has provided us with
the opportunity to save money while managing our waste stream and
protecting the environment."
MaxWest typically builds facilities at wastewater treatment plant
sites, capturing the energy from organic sludge. The gasification
system also can use methane and reduce existing odor problems.
To turn wastewater sludge into energy, the system relies on an
enclosed primary gasifier to produce syngas. In a continuous
integrated process, the syngas is processed in an enclosed thermal
oxidizer to create renewable thermal energy. For Sanford's
installation, the thermal energy will replace natural gas to power a
In larger MaxWest systems, sufficient thermal energy may be produced
to generate renewable, or “green” electric power. In some cases, the
renewable thermal energy also may be used to improve performance of
the wastewater treatment plant.
"Traditional disposal methods for biosolids are becoming more
expensive, publicly unacceptable and potentially harmful to the
environment," said Richard Heien, president of MaxWest. "Leading
municipal utilities are searching for a low-costenvironmentally
friendly solution for biosolids disposal. Our system provides that
solution. It eliminates costly transportation and potential air and
water pollution related to the current disposal practices, landfill
disposal or spreading it on open ground.”
Sanford will be the first municipality in North America to adopt the
MaxWest gasification system. As such, the Sanford treatment site will
serve as a showcase to demonstrate the technology to other
"We are thrilled to incorporate the MaxWest gasification solution at
our South Wastewater Reclamation Center," said Sanford Mayor Linda
Kuhn. "Not only is the MaxWest system cost-effective and efficient, it
enables Sanford to be a leader in green disposal technologies. Our
hope is that the rest of the country will look to us and follow."
Additionally, for states with a Renewable Energy Credit program in
place, the MaxWest system will be entitled to credits for using an
alternative to fossil fuels.
The MaxWest system works well with animal, wood and crop wastes, as
well as other forms of carbon-based waste such as plastic, making
renewable green energy from disposal problems. MaxWest systems are
currently operating at facilities converting wood, chicken and mixed
For additional information about MaxWest Environmental Systems, visit http://www.MaxWestEnergy.com/
On Mar 30, 2008, at 3:23 PM, GRAUNKE,RYAN E wrote:
> "Green Grocer"
> Living on Earth
> March 28, 2008
> A Whole Foods in Connecticut is using biogas from food processing
> plants to power its store with hydrogen fuel cells. The store could
> also digest its own food waste to create biogas. Using fuel cells,
> the applications of biogas are endless: homes, cars, cell phones, etc.
> Ryan Graunke