By Erin Voegele | August 30, 2013 | Ethanol Producer Magazine
Waste-to-energy firm Fiberight LLC plans to break ground on a solid waste recycling plant in Marion, Iowa, as soon as December. Once complete, the facility will process municipal solid waste (MSW) into feedstocks for the production compressed biogas and cellulosic ethanol.
The Marion City Council voted unanimously on Aug. 22 to approve a resolution establishing a resource recovery agreement with the company. According to Craig, Stuart-Paul, chief executive of Fiberight, the waste supply agreement with the city spans 15 years.
While any construction project undertaken during a Midwest winter has the potential to face-weather related delays, Stuart-Paul said that if construction progresses as planned, the waste processing facility will start commissioning in spring.
The waste processing facility takes in MSW and separates out recyclable materials. The remaining waste stream includes a mix of soluble organics and cellulosic materials. According to Stuart-Paul, the soluble organics will be fed into a proprietary high-rate anaerobic digestion system. The resulting biogas will be compressed and used as transportation fuel. The production of bio-CNG is expected to begin during the second quarter of 2014. “We’re actually taking that CNG and fueling the very waste trucks that deliver to the site,” Stuart-Paul continued, noting the biobased fuel could also be used in other city fleet vehicles, with the potential to offer it for retail sale. Once operational, the project is expected to produce approximately 1 million gallons of diesel equivalent fuel per year.
Work is already underway in the nearby town of Blairstown to retrofit the backend process of the existing corn-ethanol plant that Fiberight is converting to cellulosic production. “In the spring we’ll start installed the hydrolysis vessels and other vessels required for the conversion of biomass pulp from the waste processing plant,” Stuart-Paul said. “That means that hopefully by summer of next year, we’ll be producing cellulosic ethanol.”