San Jose, California announced yesterday a plan to develop the country's first organics-to-energy waste biogas facility on a 40 acre plot of land. The kinks of the plan are still being worked out, but if all goes well, the facility will be constructed and operated by Zanker Road Biogas.
If built, the Zanker Road facility will take up to 150,000 tons of organic waste and redirect it from landfills to the waste-to-energy plant. The resulting energy will either be used to power the adjacent San Jose/Santa Clara Pollution Control Plant or it will be sold back to the main electrical grid. San Jose's organic waste facility will use a practice common in Europe--dry anaerobic fermentation--to generate biogas and compost. Instead of processing wet waste, the Zanker Road project will process the dry portion of the area's solid waste stream. Dry solid waste usually ends in landfills. As the first facility in the U.S. to use the technology, the San Jose plant will reduce pressure on the already constrained organic recycling program in the San Francisco Bay Area.
No word yet on when construction will begin if the project is approved, but the Zanker Road project has the potential to bring San Jose closer to its goal of diverting 100% of its waste from landfills. The project could also act as a proof-of-concept for other cities around the country considering dry anerobic fermentation.
[San Jose City Government (PDF)]