EPA Officials to MD Business, Government and Food Industry Leaders: ‘Anaerobic Digestion is a Big Deal’

September 30, 2021

EPA Officials to MD Business, Government and Food Industry Leaders: ‘Anaerobic Digestion is a Big Deal’

Bioenergy Devco hosts state and county leaders for briefing on anaerobic digestion at new digester in Jessup

(Jessup, MD) - Maryland business and sustainability leaders convened yesterday at Bioenergy Devco’s soon-to-be operational anaerobic digester in Jessup for a briefing from EPA officials on the environmental benefits of anaerobic digestion (AD). Dana Aunkst, Director of the EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Land, Chemical and Redevelopment Division and EPA Sustainability Coordinator, Melissa Pennington reiterated EPA’s commitment to and investment in AD technology and infrastructure across the country, while summarizing years-worth of Agency data on food waste and anaerobic digestion facilities across the country.

“Over the last several years, we have identified grant funding for AD that is larger than any grant funding I’ve seen in my history at EPA,” said Pennington. “And this is happening because the environmental benefits of keeping food waste out of landfills are clear, as is the generation of renewable energy that can be used in the same ways as natural gas – for power, heat, electricity and compression into CNG, a cleaner form of vehicle fuel.”

Pennington assembled and led the EPA’s AD Technical Team, which included individuals with technical expertise in AD systems from various EPA offices. She is also the author of EPA’s AD collections and annual publications. Considered one of the country’s foremost experts on AD, her participation at this morning’s event is part of a coordinated effort to build capacity for organics recycling across the U.S.

“We (at the EPA) have been saying ‘recycle your organics’ for a long time, and we’re finally seeing the type of investment and infrastructure that can begin making this a reality at scale. It’s a really big deal for the state and region. You can keep food waste out of landfills all you want – but if the infrastructure isn’t there to manage it sustainably – you’ve still got a problem,” said Pennington.

In addition to Bioenergy Devco CEO, Shawn Kreloff, briefing attendees included Dr. Charles Glass, Director of Maryland Environmental Service; Senior Hogan advisor and former state delegate, Andrew Cassilly; representatives from the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Maryland Energy Administration and the Maryland Department of Agriculture; Sustainability heads from Baltimore County, Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County and DC; and executives of some of the state’s largest food processors.

“Utility-scale anaerobic digestion is at the cutting edge of sustainability,” said Cassilly. “Bioenergy Devco’s new digester in Jessup will put Maryland on the map - working at a local level to accomplish global environmental impact.

According to the EPA’s 2018 Facts and Figures report on Materials, Wastes and Recycling, the most recent year for which their data is available, food waste by itself is the single largest material that gets disposed of in landfills today at approximately 24%. In 2018 alone, 35 million tons of food waste was discarded at landfills. The report also identified approximately 118 digesters operating across the country in 2018, responsible for about 82 million tons of food waste diverted from landfills and recycled.

In Maryland, nearly one million tons of food is wasted each year, of which only a small percentage is recycled. As a result, it is typically the first or second-largest component in the state’s municipal solid waste stream.

Referencing Maryland’s new organics recycling law (HB264/SB483), which will require certain commercial entities to separate and divert food residuals away from final disposal in landfills beginning in 2023, Kreloff reiterated Bioenergy Devco’s unique ability to help the state’s food waste generators meet internal diversion goals and exceed the requirements outlined in the new law. “We are proud to partner with businesses and counties across the state to confront climate change head-on. At the forefront of redefining organics management and amplifying organics recycling programs, we’re turning unavoidable food waste into materials that protect the environment and bolster the economy. And we’re creating truly renewable, green energy in the process.”

As awareness across the country and in Maryland grows around the harmful environmental, social and economic impacts of food waste, AD is quickly becoming the preferred, sustainable method for diversion of organic waste from landfills, incineration and land application.

“We’ve known for the past 20 years that we needed a better solution for managing our unavoidable food waste. No compositing facility has been large enough. Our partnership with Bioenergy Devco is a win-win for the company, for our customers and for the environment,” shared Jason Lambros, a Vice President at Coastal Sunbelt Produce.

Bioenergy Devco’s s newest anaerobic digestion facility in Jessup will complete construction and begin operations at the end of 2021. As the state’s largest digester, the facility will be capable of recycling 110,000 tons of organics annually, or 330 tons per day, to produce approximately 265,000 mmBTUs of renewable natural gas for energy and 20,000 tons of rich, fertile soil amendment for agricultural and other land use. The resulting 26,000 tons of carbon dioxide saved from the atmosphere each year has the same environmental impact that a forest area 40 times the size of Central Park provides. The energy produced can power 4,800 homes annually.

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Bioenergy Devco is a global leader in the finance, design, build and operations of anaerobic digesters. With more than 230 plants built in its 23-year history and 150 facilities operated and maintained across 5 countries, Bioenergy Devco’s state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion technology has helped businesses, municipalities and entire regions dramatically change their organic waste ecosystems, reduce waste at landfills and incinerators and produce sustainable, renewable energy. Our unwavering commitment to global and hyper-local sustainability is the inspiration behind BDC’s relentless pursuit of industry-leading innovation. For more information, visit www.bioenergydevco.com.

Media Contacts

For Bioenergy Devco
Jamie Fontaine

For U.S. EPA:
Kinshasa Brown

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