Operations are officially underway at the nation’s first High Efficiency Biological Treatment (HeBioT) renewable resource recovery facility in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
BioHiTech Global Inc., a waste management technology and services company based in Chestnut Ridge, New York, says it has begun the second phase of plant commissioning and progressing operations at its HEBioT facility. The second phase includes receiving limited amounts of waste and beginning runs of the facility’s patented mechanical biological treatment (MBT) technology called HEBioT for producing an EPA-recognized solid recovered fuel (SRF).
The limited processing runs are expected to result in the production of SRF in the coming weeks, with the facility reaching full operations early in the second quarter of 2019.
BioHiTech recently completed the first phase of plant commissioning, including the facility's reception area, overhead bridge cranes and its primary mechanical sorting equipment.
The Martinsburg HEBioT facility is expected to generate $7 million of high margin revenue annually while diverting as much as 80 percent of the waste that enters the facility from landfills, BioHiTech says.
"The initiation of revenue generating operations at this first facility of its kind in the United States is a pivotal moment for our company and an important step forward in the movement to lessen the environmental impact of waste management,” says Frank Celli, the CEO of BioHiTech Global, in a press release. “This flagship facility will add significant high margin revenue and will serve as a model for how BioHiTech can cost-effectively create positive environmental change throughout the United States. By bringing this facility across the finish line, we are now at the starting line for sustainable long-term revenue growth with a roadmap to build significant value for our stockholders."
The majority of the waste, which will be delivered as feedstock to the facility, is covered under a 10-year put-or-pay agreement with local waste hauler Apple Valley Waste, based in Kearneysville, West Virginia. The hauler is owned by Gold Medal Group, a regional waste management services company based in Deptford, New Jersey, which is backed by Kinderhook Industries.
The facility will use its HEBioT solid waste processing technology, which has been successfully deployed at seven facilities located throughout Europe to process more than 1 million tons of solid waste per year. Entsorga Italia, S.p.A., Tortona, Italy, developed the technology, which BioHiTech controls the exclusive U.S. development rights for in 11 northeastern states and the District of Columbia. BioHiTech says the HEBioT process recovers almost 80 percent of municipal solid waste by integrating Entsorga USA Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) sorting equipment with patented MBT technologies into a dedicated, fully enclosed processing facility.
How it works
The HeBioT process has four basic steps: reception, pre-screening, biological treatment and refining. Once the material is tipped into an indoor aerated reception pit, the process of moving through the plant is fully automated, with no waste being exposed to the outside environment and no workers in direct contact with the waste processing. Instead, they work from an operator room and monitor the process as overhead cranes handle the rest.
Cranes grab the waste and place it onto conveyors, where it passes through a fast rotary screener and is channeled into two flows. The materials that pass through the mesh screen are small enough to continue in the process, while those that don’t are considered oversized. The larger material is removed and saved to be reintroduced during the final phase of the process.
Cranes then move the smaller waste to the biostabilization area and place it in batches on top of floors with a ventilation system. Air is drawn through the floor to support the waste with oxygen. The process takes about seven to 10 days. From there, the material moves on to the mechanical refinement section of the facility, where the oversized materials are reintroduced and recyclable materials are removed. Anything that can’t be used to make SRF is either recycled or disposed in a landfill. Once the unusable materials are removed, the material is ground up into SRF, which is a shredded mixture than can range in texture.
All of the SRF that the Martinsburg facility produces is subject to a 10-year take-or-pay agreement with Alpharetta, Georgia-based Argos USA LLC, one the largest producers of Portland cement in the U.S. Argos will utilize the SRF as a partial replacement for coal used in the cement manufacturing process.
Looking toward the future
BioHiTech is the largest owner of the Martinsburg facility through a majority-owned subsidiary company with a 78 percent controlling interest in its operations. Gold Medal Group owns the remaining minority stake in the subsidiary.
"We are excited to be a part of this important project which marks the beginning of positive change in the way we can manage waste in this country. The Martinsburg facility will allow Gold Medal to divert over 60,000 tons of the municipal solid waste we collect in the area from landfills annually at no additional cost to those residential and businesses customers we service,” says Mike Schmidt, the executive vice president of Gold Medal Group. “This landfill diversion, as well as the creation of a renewable fuel that can be used locally, helps to solve two environmental problems while serving as a model that BioHiTech and Gold Medal can replicate throughout our current business footprint. We look forward to working together with BioHiTech to roll out this technology in the US and reduce the burden that waste generation has on our environment."
BioHiTech is currently seeking final approvals for another HEBioT facility in Rensselaer, New York. A more detailed description of the HEBioT solid waste processing technology is available in the video below.