N-Viro venture to produce biomass-based fuel

By Erin Voegele
Web exclusive posted Nov. 19, 2008 at 9:42 a.m. CST

N-Viro International Corp., an environmental and materials handling company, has formed a joint venture with SouthSide Environmental Group, a subsidiary of Ohio-based Schimley's Excavating Inc., to jointly construct, manage and operate an N-Viro Fuel manufacturing facility in Mahoning Valley, Ohio. The facility will manufacture a biomass-based coal substitute fuel that will be known as N-Viro Fuel.

According to Robert Bohmer, N-Viro's vice president of business development, the company's technology is a waste-to-energy process that converts various waste products into a coal substitute fuel that can be co-fired with coal to reduce the use of fossil fuels. The fuel will primarily be used to generate electricity.

Bio-organic waste, such as sewage or manure, is put through an alkaline stabilization process. A high pH reactive alkaline material, such as small doses of kiln dust or fly ash, disinfects or pasteurizes the product, Bohmer said. The product is then dehydrated. "You end up with a very dry, very granular pulverized coal-like product that can burn with coal, without modifications to the coal burning power plant's power feed system or coal feed system," he said. The product was tested in January 2007 at Michigan State University.

N-Viro and SouthSide Environmental expect to finalize a site for the project within the next 90 days. Once the joint venture secures the required permits from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, it will begin converting the selected building into an N-Viro Fuel facility, which is expected to take approximately six months. Bohmer hopes the facility will be up and running by mid to late 2009.

N-Viro initially expects to be able to convert 200 to 250 tons of wastewater bio-solids into N-Viro Fuel daily. The facility will have the capacity to increase up to 500 tons per day.

N-Viro owns the technology and will be in charge of the actual processing of the fuel. SouthSide Environmental will assist in local matters, such as obtaining contracts, employee recruitment and logistics.