Sevier Solid Waste is planning to build a biomass gasification plant, its second major project this year in an effort to become a zero waste facility.
Sevier Solid Waste has hired PHG Energy to build a new biomass gasification plant capable of cleanly converting more than 30 tons of composted material daily into thermal energy while producing a valuable high-carbon biochar.
“This new installation will help us reduce the amount of compost we need to transport by converting it into a biochar material, creating a new revenue stream for us,” said Tom Leonard, director of Sevier Solid Waste, Inc. “The energy from the gasification system will be used in a thermal oxidizer promoting odor control in the buildings and will allow us to defer other upgrades. This represents a significant savings from our current disposal and operating costs.”
The Sevier Solid Waste facility on Ridge Road in Pigeon Forge processes more than 100,000 tons of garbage annually from the Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. 60% of waste processed is made into compost.
The carbon footprint of the facility will be reduced by over 450 tons of CO2 emissions each year, according to EPA calculators.
Gasification plants by PHG Energy employ a thermo-chemical process that converts biomass to a combustible fuel gas. Around 90% of the biomass that is gasified in the PHG Energy system becomes fuel gas, and the only remaining residue is the charcoal-like biochar, that Sevier Solid Waste will sell to a local industrial user as a renewable source of fuel to displace coal consumption.
The cost of the project is $2.25 million and utilizes a $250,000 Clean Energy Tennessee Grant through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. PHG Energy will provide the gasifier, thermal oxidizer, material handling equipment and build the facility as general contractor. It will showcase the company’s Large Frame gasifier, believed to be the world’s largest downdraft unit and capable of more than 60 tons per day throughput. It will be completed in 2016.
“This project is important to us for several reasons,” PHG Energy President Tom Stanzione said. “This is our second municipal project to receive approval this year and demonstrates the growing confidence in our technology. We have a strong research and development commitment to converting municipal solid waste to energy and reducing landfill usage, and this is another significant step in that process. It is also very important to us that we have been able to prove the commercial value of our biochar as a commodity, and that it has become a positive factor in the economic equation of our systems.”
PHG Energy partnered with ARiES Energy, a leading provider of energy consulting services, to develop the project. ARiES has already successfully installed power monitoring and power conditioning systems successfully at Sevier Solid Waste, and this project further demonstrates the value of integrated energy and waste systems.
In July 2015, Sevier Solid Waste celebrated the completion of a building funded by a $300,000 Recycling Hub and Spoke Grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation that will house a new recycling hub to capture metals and plastics.