Entsorga West Virginia breaks ground on waste-to-fuel plant

By Katie Fletcher | January 11, 2016

On Jan. 6, Entsorga West Virginia LLC held a groundbreaking ceremony near Martinsburg for its first resource recovery facility utilizing mechanical biological treatment (MBT) in the U.S. The process will convert waste into an EPA-recognized engineered fuel, a solid recovered fuel (SRF), which will be used as an alternative or supplement to fossil fuels.

Entsorga WV is a joint venture between Apple Valley Waste Technologies LLC, Entsorga USA and Chemtex International, and this facility has been in the works for about six years.  Over that time span, local and state approvals were acquired for the siting of the solid waste management facility. The fact that this is the first deployment in the U.S. added some additional time, according to Frank E. Celli, director of Entsorga and chairman of the board with Apple Valley Waste.

“Our HeBiot technology is a patented proprietary technology however, not new,” Celli said. “We have deployed the exact technology in multiple plants in Europe.”

Now, the company has successfully brought its process to the U.S. “The State of West Virginia and Berkeley County did a great job of performing a robust due diligence process including some trips to Europe to see the operating plants,” Celli said. “After thorough engineering and financial review the project received the necessary approvals. Financing these types of facilities can also be challenging but through the tax exempt bond issuance by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority and the help of Houlihan Capital and B.C. Ziegler and Company things ultimately worked out.”

The project is being financed with $25 million in tax exempt, private activity bonds issued by the WV EDA on behalf of Entsorga West Virginia LLC.

Celli attributes the reason the technology has not been deployed in the U.S. yet to the waste industry being historically technology resistant largely due to the company’s substantial landfill infrastructure.  “Until recent years, the demand for alternative options had not matured,” Celli said. “With the corporate and government efforts toward sustainability with specific focus on reduction of greenhouse gasses (GHG) associated with both landfilling waste and fossil fuel dependency gaining momentum, the timing is right for the deployment of our technology.”

By utilizing the HEBioT MBT system, Entsorga WV will recover biomass, plastics and other carbon-based materials from Berkeley County’s mixed municipal solid waste (MSW) stream and convert them into clean-burning SRF. According to Entsorga, its MBT technology creates an EPA-recognized engineered fuel, meaning that facilities using this specific SRF, as an alternative fuel, will not be subject to the EPA incinerator rule (Commercial/Industrial Solid Waste Incinerator Rule).

The residential waste used to create this fuel will be collected by Apple Valley Waste. “The Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority is extremely enthusiastic about the Entsorga project,” said Clint R. Hogbin, the authority’s chairman. “The project represents the future of solid waste management, as this new facility may enable Berkeley County to become the first in the state to exceed West Virginia’s 50 percent landfill diversion goal for its residential waste stream.”

When processing the MSW, Entsorga WV will remove other valuable recyclable commodities such as ferrous and non-ferrous metals utilizing its proprietary system. “The proprietary system of air circulation through the bio-oxidation hall is the key attribute and fundamental to achieving the necessary calorific value of the organic fraction of the waste,” Celli said. “This, along with the customized software providing automated operation for every aspect of the facility, are differentiating factors.”

According to Entsorga, the fuel is ideal for co-processing plants such as cement kilns and steel mills as a source for the production of renewable energy. This plant’s end market is two miles away at the Essroc cement plant, which will use the fuel in conjunction with coal in the production of Portland cement. The companies have entered into a long-term contract for the provision and acceptance of the SRF. At capacity, the plant will be capable of producing approximately 50,000 tons of SRF annually, which will be delivered to the Essroc facility with walking floor trailers.

The waste-to-solid fuel plant is expected to be operational in early 2017. The campus will be composed of approximately 90,000 square feet of steel and concrete structures. According to Celli, there will be approximately $9 million in equipment including a large bio-filter located adjacent to the building. Additionally, a minimum of 100 temporary jobs will be created during the construction period of the plant and up to 20 permanent positions once it is operational.

Celli said at capacity this facility will divert almost 100,000 tons per year from landfills in the region. The reduction of waste that will be disposed of in landfills as a result of the Entsorga facility will result in a GHG emission reduction of 28,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide.

“This facility will be the first of its kind in the United States and represents the future of waste disposal in our country,” Celli said. “Utilizing our technology, we can divert significant volumes of waste from landfills while helping reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.”

Celli adds that the company’s process can be accomplished without subsidy or additional cost to the consumer. “It is unique and will help revolutionize the solid waste industry in the United States in years to come,” he said. “We are currently in discussions with multiple parties to explore the opportunity to develop additional plants in the upcoming year. We offer a solution that can be useful to both the private and public sector and are enthused about the opportunity ahead of us.”