Utah’s First Anaerobic Digester Facility Opens in North Salt Lake

by | Feb 11, 2019

anaerobic digester facility

(Photo: The Wasatch Resource Recovery held an open house for the public on February 7. The facility is preparing begin accepting organic waste. Credit: Wasatch Resource Recovery)

A new $43 million anaerobic digester facility opened to the public this month in North Salt Lake, Utah. Wasatch Resource Recovery can turn solid food waste and liquefied organic waste into pipeline grade natural gas.

Operated under a public-private partnership between ALPRO Energy & Water and the South Davis Sewer District, Wasatch Resource Recovery (WRR) will take in about 700 tons of food waste daily to start, expanding to 1,400 tons in the near future, the Deseret News reported. The facility is the first and only one of its kind in the state, according to the news outlet.

Phase 1 of construction on the facility includes the erection of two anaerobic digesters, each built to hold 2.5 million gallons of food waste. After those digesters have been filled, construction will begin on two additional circular digesters for a total of four.

WRR says that any business producing organic waste can participate. They can process food waste from restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, caterers, breweries, food processing-manufacturing plants, cafeterias, hospitals, schools, universities as well as glass bottled, aluminum canned, and plastic bottled beverage sellers or distributors, the site says.

“Toters, dumpsters or self-contained compactors can be used for collection. Liquid wastes would be stored onsite and hauled regularly via tankers,” the site notes. “Businesses can simply separate their food waste from recyclable and landfill waste by placing smaller collection containers in areas where food waste is produced. These containers can be emptied into the larger container — just like your garbage is — and will then be hauled to the digester.”

Biogas gets captured and purified before being converted into renewable natural gas (biomethane), WRR explains. Then the biomethane is fed into a nearby gas pipeline and sold as renewable energy. A byproduct from the process is a nutrient-rich, carbon-based fertilizer that can be used to grow crops, according to the facility.

The Deseret News reported that the facility plans to begin test its machines this week, when the first food waste delivery arrives.

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