New Utah facility will turn food waste into renewable energy

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  • Swiss Price, UT
    Feb. 8, 2019 3:27 p.m.

    Hope they use methane powered trucks to haul the waste. CNG trucks burn methane not diesel or gasoline. My Silverado burns both gasoline and CNG. I only run on CNG when I hit the Wasatch Front .

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Feb. 8, 2019 12:52 p.m.

    @procuradorfiscal - Tooele, UT
    According to the owner, the facility is a "public-private partnership between ALPRO Energy & Water and the South Davis Sewer District, with a full endorsement and significant support of the Governor’s Office of Energy Development (OED)."
    It would be an interesting read to look at a list of family members and friends of Utah and Federal politicos that are profiting from the "public-private partnership" that foisted this sure-to-fail enterprise on US and Utah taxpayers.
    The news release at the groundbreaking ceremony for this facility called it "the result of an exciting public-private partnership" -- liberal-speak for "tax-supported."

    Yeah- except this is a Utah GOP/Republican/Crony deal. You can't blame this on Feds or libs. Face it, Utah GOP members love to rail against libs wasting taxdollars, but look the other way and even encourage it when Republicans can pocket the profits.

  • desert dweller SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Feb. 8, 2019 12:14 p.m.

    this isn't the first time that this particular process has been brought up and invested in and found to be a total failure

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Feb. 8, 2019 11:25 a.m.

    A couple of thoughts.
    1) Isn't methane a serious pollution problem? Cows and sheep are bad in the eyes of environmentalists. Right?
    2) Another bin and another depot mean another diesel-powered truck making the route through our streets. In some places they already have wet garbage, recycling, yard waste, furniture and Freon appliance programs - that's FIVE trucks making the rounds on garbage day. Great, if you sell diesel engines. Not so great for the air.
    3) The food scraps are doing the work in the landfills now. If you take that away, the rest of the trash will just sit there longer without breaking down. Fifty years ago we used to dump trash out by the airport. What's that area like now? How did we perform with our primitive processing methods? Is a change needed? At what cost?

    Alas, the imperious immediacy of interest will take over in the name of green, creating unintended negative consequences. It is time to take a deep breath and keep the checkbook closed. Small scale - privately funded - careful analysis of the results.

  • BOD Stansbury, UT
    Feb. 8, 2019 9:56 a.m.

    Sad, 45 years ago I visited a solid waste recycling facility in Rome, where the food waste was converted into animal food. Then, the reason recycling in the USA was not feasable was, that the paper industries refused to use the recycled paper pulp. In Italy the industries were receiving tax credits. Central composting solid waste in theNetherlands was stopped due to ammonia air emissions.
    The question here would be what is happening with the nitrogenous waste, since only carbonaceous waste is converted into methane and carbon dioxide, while N-waste (part of proteins) is converted into ammonia.
    Are we going to dump this ammonia waste (an oxygen robber and fertilizer for alga) into our open waters, like Salt Lake City and the Central Valley sewage treatment plants have been doing for decades?

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 8, 2019 9:45 a.m.

    Uh oh. Better not tells OC. her green new deal plans to outlaw methane

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 8, 2019 7:59 a.m.

    Re: "BTW. Are any Utah officials connected with this?"

    Of course. It couldn't exist without crony-capitalist government support.

    According to the owner, the facility is a "public-private partnership between ALPRO Energy & Water and the South Davis Sewer District, with a full endorsement and significant support of the Governor’s Office of Energy Development (OED)."

    It would be an interesting read to look at a list of family members and friends of Utah and Federal politicos that are profiting from the "public-private partnership" that foisted this sure-to-fail enterprise on US and Utah taxpayers.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 8, 2019 7:28 a.m.

    Re: "I sincerely hope that there is no expectation that tax payers will support this well-intended, but misguided approach to waste conversion."

    Vain hope.

    This is the culmination of one of Obama's "shovel-ready" projects from 10 years ago. It is not just tax-subsidized, but taxpayer-supported, as well. There is no other way to make the economics work out.

    The news release at the groundbreaking ceremony for this facility called it "the result of an exciting public-private partnership" -- liberal-speak for "tax-supported."

    The primary purpose of this and all "green" enterprises is the enrichment of politically-connected parasites at the expense of politically-impotent taxpayers.

  • What in Tucket Provo, UT
    Feb. 8, 2019 6:34 a.m.

    Sounds like a worthwhile program. I think it has been tried before, but maybe they have new ideas to make it work. Since half the food we buy goes to waste, think carrot tops, peelings, etc. they have plenty of material. Moreover half the food we eat we get from restaurants so they should have plenty of material also.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 8, 2019 6:16 a.m.

    This article managed to avoid every important question raised by this type of business.

    Remarkable

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Feb. 8, 2019 5:49 a.m.

    Every few years Utah seems to have an energy scheme like this. The big question is; Is this successful anywhere else in the country? If so, I wish it well. If it's another for profit using tax dollars Utah scam, then I guess we'll know in a few years. BTW. Are any Utah officials connected with this?

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 7, 2019 9:41 p.m.

    "....take in about 700 tons of food waste daily. .... in the near future, that number will double to about 1,400 tons."
    ==========

    I share some of the same misgivings mentioned in other comments, but I'm willing to withhold judgement since I assume the principals involved aren't so stupid that they'd spend the time, effort and millions dollars that have obviously gone into this endeavor without a reasonable expectation of success.

    However, the most amazing aspect of this story to me is the amount of daily waste as quoted above.

    It's nice to see the effort to make better use of the waste but it would make even more sense to reduce the waste on the front end.

  • D. Brown Fountain Green, UT
    Feb. 7, 2019 9:04 p.m.

    This $43 million facility is an unnecessary redundancy. Modern landfills already harvest methane from these same food scraps that decompose via anaerobic bacteria in the landfill. Moreover, we already have a low cost infrastructure in place to move, sort, recycle, and store municiple waste-- and yes, to capture, clean, and to distribute methane.

    It makes no financial sense to achieve the same end product through a substantially more expensive process. I sincerely hope that there is no expectation that tax payers will support this well-intended, but misguided approach to waste conversion.

  • old cuss 101 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 7, 2019 6:16 p.m.

    The writer needs to verify and articulate the process and economics involved in this undertaking. As presented, the economic viability of the project raises eyebrows. Is there some sort of tax advantage or government subsidy involved in this?

    It sounds like it is equivalent to the anerobic digesters used in municipal sewage treatment plants where organic waste is decomposed, essentially "brewed" by bacteria, primarily into methane and carbon dioxide with some odiferous hydrogen sulfide as gaseous products and "undigestible" material as the residual.

    The common diluted natural gas product is about half methane (low BTU content) and is corrosive given the H2S component which requires either cleaning or tolerant utilization equipment with high maintenance cost to make use of it.

    There is a limited market for the solid residuals. Carbon content notwithstanding, after sterilization, best use is as a soil enhancer, nitrogen being the most desired element. Most local waste treatment plants incur significant costs to dispose of the solids.

    It seems that they have "Digester gas" and "sewage equivalent solids" to dispose/sell. What makes this business viable?