California partnership to develop organics-to-energy system

By Lystek International Ltd. | November 20, 2017

Biosolids and organics solutions provider, Lystek International Ltd., recently announced that it has been awarded a $1.5 million-plus grant through the California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge Program. The mandate of the EPIC program focuses on funding for the creation of new energy solutions, fostering regional innovation, and bringing clean energy ideas to the marketplace.

Approved through unanimous vote on Nov. 8, the project sees Lystek partnering with Goleta Sanitary District and the University of California in Santa Barbara to deploy an environmentally and economically sustainable organics-to-energy system. Highly innovative, the project will demonstrate that source separated food waste, and potentially other organic waste streams, can be pre-treated and processed to produce a high-quality biogas, which can ultimately be used as a fuel source for electrical energy generation. In addition, the resulting by-product of the treatment (biosolids) can be treated with the Lystek Thermal Hydrolysis Process and converted into LysteGro biofertilizer for the agricultural market.

“Lystek has a proven track record of bringing advanced technology to the wastewater service sector and this proven experience was important to the California Energy Commission in its granting of the award,” says Jim Dunbar, general manager, Lystek OMRC-FSSD. “Our partnership with Goleta Sanitary District and the University of California is an ideal opportunity to show the opportunities for resource recovery from existing organic waste material and the conversion into a sustainable and renewable energy source.”

Each of the partners have a specific role and bring critical value to this unique project. Lystek will construct and operate the demonstration unit; Goleta will be the host site and provide logistical support; and, the University will be the source of the feedstock (food waste from school cafeterias) and, potentially volunteer participation from students and faculty. The pretreatment technology will be constructed as skid-mounted, mobile units for processing source-separated organics and biosolids and will have cogeneration capabilities thereby further increasing the energy generation from the wastewater treatment system.

“The Goleta Sanitary District is excited to be a part of this unique demonstration project with Lystek,” says Steve Wagner General Manager, Goleta Sanitary District. “The ability to partner with a proven technology provider such as Lystek gives us future options as we look to alternatives in traditional energy sources.”

“This is another example of how the public and private sectors can work together in solving our environmental challenges,” he added.

Lystek is adept at executing P3 style partnerships with a proven track record as seen in its 150,000 ton, state-of-the-art, Organic Material Recovery Center, located at the Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District in California. 

Opened in August 2016, the OMRC-FSSD has celebrated its first full year of successful operations and it is rapidly contributing to the company’s overall ability to divert hundreds of thousands of tons of biosolids from North American landfills annually, in favor of higher and better uses. The facility opened with a baseline volume of 14,000 tons per year from the FSSD and it is rapidly securing additional volume commitments from numerous, other Bay Area agencies, including Santa Rosa, San Francisco and others.