The City of San Bernardino is home to over 217,000 persons while San Bernardino County has a population of approximately 2.2-million people. The amount of food waste generated is significant and has put stress on the traditional methods of disposal such as landfills, composting facilities, and municipal solid waste facilities.
With recent studies indicating that approximately 36-million tons of food waste goes un-utilized and only about 3% of this food waste volume is recovered — the project will prove beneficial in the form of energy, nutrient, and carbon recovery as well as composting. If not, most food will end up in landfills or other disposal methods that provide little to no value to the community.
Developed on a 5.42-acre site, the San Bernardino Waste-to-Energy project goal is to provide a valuable facility for resource recovery, energy production, and financial benefits to the region by utilizing food waste resources as feedstock — producing beneficial products and materials.
The facility accepts pre-consumer food waste and processes the waste to produce several beneficial products and materials — with the development of a food-waste-to-energy digester facility utilizing anaerobic digestion, gas capture and processing, and electricity production from gas-powered generators using the methane-rich biogas.
The facility plans to have two digesters, each with a liquid capacity of approximately 1.8-million gallons and additional space available for the expansion of future digesters, helping to produce approximately 2.6 MW of electrical power using the biogas-powered engines. The exhaust from the engines will be treated to meet strict California air quality standards as well as noise restriction requirements. Heat will be recovered from the engines and recycled to maintain optimum temperatures in the digesters to maximize efficient operational conditions.
Finally, the project will be equipped with a 2.6MW utility grid interconnect. Two (2) 1.3 MW engine generators will be installed and the Project is to be operated to produce enough biogas to fuel the engine generators up to 2.6 MW. The project is supported by a 20-year power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison. The site layout is designed to handle additional feedstocks to further increase volume revenue, while sending excess biogas to heat recovery or to the flare.
While some of the outputs are valuable and have immediate beneficial use, others, such as air emission and effluent to sewer, require additional treatment to meet current air and water standards. The below graphics outline the project’s inputs and outputs.