Say Hey, San Jose!

Anaerobic digestion news always seems to come in yin and yang proportions. This week, the good news from San Jose is tempered by bad news from Connecticut.

But let’s focus on the positive. After all, plenty of anaerobic digestion projects have been proposed, but few, er, no commercial-scale, food-waste-to-energy plants exist in the U.S.

photo by oceandesetoiles via creative commonsAnd this seems close to a done deal. On Tuesday, San Jose’s city council gave their go-ahead to a waste-to-energy facility that would go a long way toward fulfilling San Jose’s ambitious goals of keeping all of its waste out of the landfills and reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2022.

Michele Young, organics manager for San Jose’s Environmental Services Department, explained what the plant would do: 

“We’re going to decompose food and yard waste in the absence of oxygen,” Young said. “That produces methane gas, which can be converted into electricity.” That power would be used by the proposed sewage treatment plant, or would be sold back to the grid, she said. Young said the project could reduce the plant’s power bill by up to 25 percent.

Fortunately, the NIMBY factor shouldn’t be significant. The proposed site is between two waste recovery and recycling facilities, so neighbors shouldn’t mind. Oh, and the land is jointly owned by San Jose and Santa Clara.

Still, it can’t hurt to keep your fingers crossed!

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