W2E’s Flagship WtE Facility

W2E launches model anaerobic digestion facility in Columbia, S.C.
By Matt Soberg | November 01, 2011

W2E Organic Power is building an anaerobic digestion facility in Columbia, S.C., which will be its flagship template for future waste-to-energy (WtE) projects. Construction is expected to start shortly and it is anticipated to begin operating in 2012 at a cost of $23 million. 

The project is a collaboration involving three companies, W2E, Ciycor LLC and Eisenmann, all specializing in various aspects of the renewable energy industry. “We have developed a significant group of partners with waste streams for our system and we look forward to beginning this brand new effort to process waste into energy,” says W2E CEO Daniel Rickenmann. 

Ciycor, a renewable energy and construction company, is a co-developer and financial partner with W2E on the project. “The strength of the project has been greatly enhanced by the addition of Ciycor to the team, and we couldn’t be more positive about the early completion of the Columbia facility,” Rickenmann says.

Eisenmann, an engineering and renewable energy technology firm, will be designing and engineering the anaerobic digestion technology for the facility. Adam Halsband, Eisenmann business development manager, says that W2E and Eisenmann will partner to optimize the facility’s operations.
“The W2E facility is a truly sustainable, renewable energy facility returning the nutrients from the organic waste back to the Earth,” according to Eisenmann. “Closing the loop, the soil amendment produced by the facility will be used for local agriculture as well as commercial and residential landscape applications.”

The organics used for the anaerobic process will be food, grease, waste produce, yard waste and others. The company has received commitments for numerous commercial waste streams from large companies such as Walmart and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Because anaerobic digestion technology is relatively new to South Carolina, the permitting process took some time to complete, however, W2E did receive a solid waste permit from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control in January, paving the way for construction to begin. 
The 3.2-megawatt facility will process approximately 48,000 metric tons of waste per year. A long-term power purchase agreement with Santee Cooper, South Carolina’s state-owned utility, has been obtained for supply of renewable electricity. Additional agreements are being negotiated according to W2E.

“As the first of its kind in the United States, the Columbia facility marks a new way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing an alternative source of energy to the electrical grid,” Eisenmann says. 

With the Columbia facility as its prototype, W2E is planning and negotiating permits and PPAs for other facilities the company hopes to build in the next 24 to 36 months. Additional WtE plants are planned in Gastonia, N.C., and Baton Rouge, La., according to W2E.

—Matt Soberg