BioEnergy Technologies to build AD facilities

By Lisa Gibson
Posted October 8, 2009, at 11:38 a.m. CST

A new Sumter, S.C.,-based bioenergy company will design, build and possibly own and operate on-site anaerobic digestion systems at farms or food processing facilities that generate a large amount of biowaste and high-energy density waste, such as fats, oil and grease.

Established this past summer, BioEnergy Technologies LLC will work with interested partners to convert agricultural and food waste into methane, for conversion into electricity and heat to be used at the facilities, according to the company. Excess electricity could be sold to the grid, as well, according to Rachel Barnett, marketing and public relations representative for the company. The first location has not been established yet but the company hopes to announce it by the end of the year. BioEnergy is in discussions with a number of food processors, farmers and utilities. Feasibility studies are being conducted and results should be ready in three to six months, Barnett said.

BioEnergy Technologies will focus mostly on South Carolina and North Carolina for customers, as the company has a location in Raleigh, N.C. Costs of the systems could vary, depending on size and desired end product. BioEnergy will design and build for the customers to operate, or design, build, own and operate at the company locations, depending on the customers' needs. "We're looking at different ways to do this," Barnett said. "We'll look at it on a case-by-case basis."

The company is partnering with Austrian-based AAT, which has used anaerobic digestion in Europe for 26 years at more than 120 facilities, and ECOregion, which pioneered the first biogas facility in North America, according to BioEnergy. Once operational, a typical facility can produce 1 megawatt, enough to power 700 homes, according to Barnett. A 1.5-megwatt system would generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes, she added. "We've had a tremendous amount of interest," Barnett said. "It's been really great."

Energy production through anaerobic digestion is the company's priority now, she said, but services could expand in the future. "That's what we'll focus on at this point," she said. "We'll see what the future brings."