Anaergia to design, build, operate California waste-to-renewable energy project

July 20, 2023
Anaergia will help design and build the East County Advanced Water Purification facility to produce renewable power from wastewater sludge as part of a large California water reuse program.

Anaergia Inc. announced that it has been selected as the Energy Recovery Contractor for a new system that will produce renewable power from wastewater sludge at the East County Advanced Water Purification (East County AWP) facility now under construction in Santee, California.

The East County AWP facility is part of an Advanced Water Purification Program that is a partnership among Padre Dam Municipal Water District, the City of El Cajon, the County of San Diego, and Helix Water District. The program is expected to produce up to 11.5 million gallons per day of new local drinking water, enough to supply about 50,000 households for a year.

Anaergia anticipates the Energy Recovery project will also eventually digest food waste along with the wastewater sludge. Anaergia is expected to design and build the waste-to-renewable energy facility and provide long-term operations and maintenance after commissioning.

The project at the facility is expected to produce renewable power from biogas created by anaerobically digesting wastewater solids and potentially locally-sourced organic waste. The project will integrate a waste-to-renewable power system that includes a biogas conditioning system, combined heat and power (CHP) generation, as well as an optional receiving station with storage tanks for organic waste deliveries.

“The Energy Recovery project would maximize the production, beneficial use, and value of biogas while delivering energy savings, infrastructure enhancements, and environmental and community benefits,” said Mark Niemiec, Director of the East County AWP. “To begin with, the AWP facility is creating a sustainable and local drinking water supply while reducing the region’s dependence on imported water. The Energy Recovery project will complement and enhance the sustainability and community resilience benefits provided by the AWP facility: the project will reduce the AWP facility’s use of fossil fuels, improve energy resiliency, and cut costs, which ultimately benefits our ratepayers.”

These technologies will enable the East County AWP facility to make up to 3.1 megawatts of renewable electricity and heat, with potential for future expansion to 4.6 megawatts. The organic waste reception would provide a local outlet for recycling organic waste that is required to be diverted from landfills under California law.

“By including the technologies that create energy from organic waste, the East County AWP facility is doing the right thing for the environment and for the people it serves,” said Brett Hodson, CEO of Anaergia. “This project serves as a model for other facilities. It leverages proven technology, adds resilient infrastructure, and brings economic benefits to the utility. The biogas made from anaerobically digesting this waste will be recovered to generate renewable electricity and heat for on-site use, reducing dependance on electric utilities and cutting costs for these municipalities."