Bob Shallit: Unveiling April 19 for N. Natomas waste-to-energy system
A Sacramento startup company is about to debut what it’s calling the nation’s most efficient commercial system in the country for converting food waste into energy.
Three-year-old Clean World Partners last month began operating its first system at the North Natomas plant of American River Packaging, with a public unveiling of the operation set for April 19.
Another Clean World system is starting up in June at Sacramento County’s south area transfer station and two more are set to open in the region by the end of the year, says Michele Wong, the company’s CEO.
That’s just a start, says Wong, who reports international interest in a system that’s based on “anaerobic digestion” technology developed at UC Davis.
“Everybody wants to see these things up and running,” she says of the three-tank systems. “I can’t tell you how many tours we’ve done” at the Natomas site.
The key attraction: Client companies can avoid the costs of storing and transporting their food waste to landfills – and generate power at the same time.
Beyond that, Wong says, the Clean World systems can be scaled to meet the precise needs of client firms and they can be installed quickly – within six to eight weeks after being ordered.
The initial system in Natomas – built at a cost of $2 million to $3 million – will process about 7.5 tons of food waste hauled to the site daily from Campbell’s Soup and other local processing facilities.
It also will process about a half ton a day of non-recyclable corrugated cardboard supplied by ARP.
The conversion process will produce enough natural gas to meet about one-third of ARP’s energy needs, says Wong, who also runs Gold River software firm Synergex International.
Wong became Clean World’s CEO last year after being recruited by company founders Warren Smith and Greg Hayes, and now is optimistic about the company’s future.
“It’s a very exciting space,” she says, “because there’s so much potential not only to make money but also to do good for the environment.”