Food In Canada

Feds invest in one of a kind anaerobic digester

By Food in Canada staff   

Regulation Research & Development government funding Waste

The federal government announced last week that it will invest $1.6 million to help Seacliff Energy Inc. construct a new facility to transform waste into clean energy and fertilizer.

Green outcomes

The investment will help Seacliff build an anaerobic digestion facility to transform vegetable waste from local farms and greenhouses into:

• electricity that can be sold to the Ontario power grid,
• heat that can be sold to greenhouses, and
• organic matter that can be sold as natural fertilizer.

What makes it unique in North America, reports a story in the Windsor Star, is that it will be able to also take the more acidic tomato plant waste.

Construction has already begun and is expected to create 10 jobs, as well as one part-time and three full-time permanent positions. The digester is expected to generate $2 million in annual company revenue by 2010 and is expected to open in the fall of 2009.

How it works

The two-stage agriculture biodigestion technology is a Canadian first. It works like a cow’s stomach, which works in stages, breaking down up to 40,000 metric tonnes of waste, consisting of up to 50 types of material, by using different bacteria and temperatures.

The single-stage digesters that are currently used in Canadian municipal landfills work more slowly and they can generally only break down one type of waste at a time.

Lower tipping fees

Food processing plants normally pay tipping fees to landfills for taking their waste. Seacliff will charge lower tipping fees, which will save the food processors money while reducing expansion at landfills. Landfills are becoming a problem in the area because there are so many food-processing plants.

This project will also remove the equivalent of 5,217 tonnes of CO2 per year. This calculation is based on the CO2 produced by all parties involved in the project.

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