Green Bank invests $2M in Southington digester project

Hartford Business Journal || June 2, 2016

A Southington company has received a $2 million loan from the Connecticut Green Bank to build a $12 million food-waste-to-energy-plant. When complete, the $12 million project will produce up to 1.1 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power up to 800 homes.

The Southington facility will be the first of its kind in Connecticut. In addition to power, the plant will produce 10,000 tons per year of compost and soil amendment materials. Fuel for the facility, approximately 40,000 tons/year, will come from organic waste generated by restaurants and other large food waste producers (as defined by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection).

Bryan Garcia, president and CEO of Connecticut Green Bank, said the Southington project has the potential to set an example for other communities interested in sustainable energy while helping to recycle food waste that otherwise would be incinerated or taken to landfills.

The development of this project works in conjunction with a state law that requires businesses generating two tons of food waste each week to recycle that food waste material within 20 miles of their facilities. The Southington area includes several businesses that fall into that category.

Brian Paganini, vice president and managing director of Quantum Biopower Holdings Inc., said the development of the Southington digester project will fill a critical infrastructure gap in the state where large food-waste generators will have the option to recycle their food-waste material, ultimately lowering recycling costs while producing clean renewable energy and organic compost.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection estimates that 13.5 percent of the state's waste stream consists of food, equivalent to nearly 322,000 tons per year of food being thrown away. As a state, Connecticut has a goal of attaining a 60 percent food waste recycling rate by 2024.