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Connecticut’s first food waste biogas plant nears finish

By Anna Simet | November 25, 2016

A Connecticut biogas plant is nearing the finish line and will start up by the end of the year, according to Brian Paganini, vice president of Quantum Biopower.

After about three years of development, Quantum will begin startup by the end of the year, Paganini said, potentially reaching fully operations in March. “The plant meets some of the state’s goals with its program to divert food out of the waste stream, and it meets a critical infrastructure gap in Connecticut, which has a goal to reduce, reuse and recycle 60 percent of its food waste by 2024.”

The fully-automated plant, sited in Southington, will take in 40,000 tons of food waste annually—about 150 tons per day—and via low solids anaerobic digestion, will generate 1.2 MW of power that will be sold to the city of Southington under a 20-year power purchase agreement. Customers sending waste to the plant include Lake Compounce amusement park and Yale University.

Connecticut was the first state to regulate food waste disposal when it passed a 2011 law that bans commercial food waste from landfills. It requires commercial food wholesalers or distributors, industrial food manufacturers or processors, supermarkets, resorts or conference centers that generate an annual volume of 104 or more tons per year, or two or more tons per week, of source-separated organic material to ensure its materials are recycled if it is located within 20 miles of a permitted recycling facility that can accept the materials.

Paganini said there has been much enthusiasm surrounding commissioning of the plant, which is Quantum Biopower’s first project. “Being a first in Connecticut, we’re all very excited about it, including folks on the legislative and regulatory side.”