Tenn. city to implement PHG Energy waste-to-energy system

By PHG Energy, | July 26, 2012

PHG Energy, a Tennessee-based alternative energy company, announced today an agreement with the city of Covington, Tenn., to convert waste to energy using PHG’s downdraft biomass gasification equipment and technology.  The environmentally friendly system converts a wide range of waste materials or renewable biomass to a low-emission substitute for natural gas or other fossil fuels.

Covington Mayor David Gordon found opportunity with the PHG system to reduce the landfill and transportation fees for 360 tons of previously landfill-bound waste material the West Tennessee city of approximately 9,000 residents produces each month.  PHG integrates established commercial technologies into one innovative system that simultaneously eliminates waste and produces heat that will be used for feedstock drying and the production of electricity.

“Covington may be a small city, but we’re constantly looking toward the future in our thinking and planning,” said Mayor Gordon. “We want to embrace technology that fits our situation, and this system lets us turn waste into an opportunity. Working with PHG is a win-win for Covington. It helps our environment and it helps our city financially.  Simply put, we’re doing the right thing, in the right way, for the right reason.”

“We looked closely at a PHG gasification facility in a nearby city, and thoroughly vetted the company before entering into this agreement.  This system is a terrific financial solution to transportation costs and tipping fees we’ve been paying to get rid of waste, and keeps thousands of tons of material out of landfills each year.”

Covington has been awarded a $250,000 Clean Tennessee Energy Grant from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau for the waste-to-energy system.  Total cost of the project is $2.25 million, with $2 million of funding obtained through the Tennessee Municipal Bond fund in the form of a general obligation bond issue.

PHG’s biomass gasification waste-to-energy system will be built adjacent to the wastewater treatment plant on city owned property. The waste to be used, approximately 12 tons per day, is primarily composed of woody biomass from the city’s collections. The use of biosolids from the treatment plant is also being investigated as a possible fuel for the gasifiers.

PHG’s technology combines a state-of-the-art downdraft gasification system with thermal oxidation equipment and a 125 kilowatt Organic Rankine Cycle power generator, manufactured by General Electric, to produce electric power.  ORC generators offer low operating and maintenance costs while running without the need for constant attendance by an operator. Combustion of producer gas within the thermal oxidizer provides heat to power the system while maintaining emission levels comparable to the use of natural gas.

Utilizing the clean energy system designed for Covington will prevent release of 425 tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year by reducing energy usage related to waste water treatment, as well as fossil fuels used in waste disposal transportation.  According to information provided by the Environmental Protection Agency,  that reduction is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions expected annually from 75 automobiles, or the carbon dioxide emissions created through energy use in more than 33 homes.

“Mayor Gordon and the city’s aldermen deserve credit for having the foresight to implement a solution that helps the environment and makes good financial sense,” said Tom Stanzione, president of PHG Energy. “By eliminating the fees associated with transporting and disposing of these waste products, and supplying electricity for the plant, this system will provide Covington a substantial net savings during its operational lifetime.”

Construction of the system is slated to begin in November of this year and will take several months to complete.