Quantum Biopower unveils Connecticut’s first food-waste-to-energy facility

Renewable Energy From Waste || December 20, 2016

Southington plant will divert 40,000 tons per year of food waste.

Quantum Biopower celebrated the completion of Connecticut’s first food waste to renewable energy facility in Southington with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 15. The ceremony, held on Connecticut Recycles Day, marked the completed construction of Connecticut’s first anaerobic digester.

The state of Connecticut’s food waste diversion mandate, which requires that certain food waste generators producing more than 2 tons of food waste per week or more separate out that waste from their other garbage and send it to a compost facility or digester for recycling, was a driving force in the development and completion of the digester.

“This facility is the result of the convergence of forward thinking renewable energy and waste reduction efforts championed by the state of Connecticut,” says Brian Paganini, vice president and managing director of Quantum Biopower. “Quantum is proud to be the first developer to succeed in this new area and is committed to being a sustainability leader in our local community and the state.”

The Southington food waste to renewable energy facility will receive source separated organic waste from supermarkets, food processors, schools and banquet halls and turn that waste into renewable electricity and compost.

The vast majority of its feedstock is under contract with area food waste generators such as Shop Rite, the Aqua Turf and the Farmington Club.

Quantum Biopower’s digester has been under development for three years and is the first of its kind to be built in Connecticut. Once up and running, the facility will divert 40,000 tons per year of food waste from the waste stream for more environmentally responsible management through recycling. Each year, Connecticut manages more than 2 million tons of trash, 25 percent (500,000 tons) of which is food waste. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) worked with Quantum from the beginning to complete permitting process and both parties are pleased that this day has finally arrived.

“Bringing this facility on-line is consistent with a key focus on the state’s new Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy - diverting organic material from our waste stream. With the help of this first-in-the-state facility we are paving the way for a 21st century approach to management of our trash by turning waste food into affordable energy,” says DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. “This is a ‘win’ for both our efforts to reduce costs of trash disposal and our focus on developing new sources of power.”

Quantum received a $2 million low interest loan from the Connecticut Green Bank toward the $14 million project. The Town of Southington has also partnered in the project by agreeing to purchase the energy produced by the facility to supply various government buildings in town through the virtual net metering program.

The facility is planned to begin operations by the end of the year.