Long before the benefits of “green” energy and the negative effects of greenhouse gases such as methane were realized, the Monterey Regional Waste Management District developed one of the first landfill gas-to-electric energy plants in the nation. Presently, the project’s four generators provide approximately 5 megawatts of clean alternative power, meeting all of the District’s own power needs and electricity for nearly 4,000 homes.
Almost 30 years later the District is again leading the way with turning waste to energy, this time with a “SmartFerm” anaerobic digestion system, a state-of-the-industry food scrap and organic material composting system. It will be the first application of the SmartFerm technology in the US.
The District’s Renewable Energy Projects Landfill Gas to Energy Project
For nearly three decades, the Landfill Gas to Energy (LFG) project has provided the industry across the nation and internationally with innovative leadership. The LGF project provide both environmental and economic benefits to our local communities.
- Landfill Gas Most Controllable of Green House Gases
- Captures > 9,000 tons of methane per year, removing emissions equivalent to 33,760 vehicles
- CO2 Offset from avoiding use of fossil fuels > 27,000 tons per year
- Project Revenues exceeding Expenses
Anaerobic Digestion Compost Pilot Project
In partnership with Zero Waste Energy, the MRWMD is hosting an anaerobic digestion (AD) compost pilot demonstration project with “SmartFerm” technology. The four “AD” modules in the SmartFerm system will process 5,000 tons of organic material per year, including a combination of food scraps and landscape trimmings.
Just 21 days to convert food scraps and other organics to energy
Inside the AD modules, this organic material will initially undergo aerobic composting followed by an anaerobic composting processes to release and capture methane gas. The methane gas will then be combusted to produce electricity in an engine generator mounted alongside the digestion modules; enough electricity to power approximately 50 homes.
In this project, the electricity will be supplied to the adjacent Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency facility to help power their operations resulting in a unique public-private-public partnership.
Zero Waste Energy