The City of San Bernardino is home to ~217,000 people, while San Bernardino County has a population of ~ 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 by creating baseload renewable energy, nutrient and carbon recovery, as well as generating valuable solids which can be composted. With the passing and now enforcement of California’s new landfill diversion law, SB 1383, waste-to-energy facilities will become increasingly important to meeting the state’s goals.
The goal of the San Bernardino Waste-to-Energy project is to provide a valuable facility for resource recovery, energy production, and financial benefits to the region by turning pre-consumer food waste into feedstock, ultimately producing beneficial products and materials.
The facility consists of three digesters, with a total liquid capacity of approximately 1.8-million gallons and additional space available for the expansion of future digesters. The methane rich biogas is fed through two, 1.3 MW engines, ultimately creating caseload renewable electricity that will provide stability to the local power grid. The exhaust from the engines is treated to meet California air quality standards as well as noise restriction requirements. Heat is recovered from the engines and recycled to maintain optimum temperatures in the digesters to maximize efficient operational conditions.
Finally, the project obtained a 2.6MW utility grid interconnect. The project is supported by a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Southern California Edison. The site layout is designed to handle additional feedstocks to further increase volume and revenue, while sending excess biogas to heat recovery or to the flare.
The below graphics outline the project’s inputs and outputs.