A 10-year effort has come to fruition for a local business.
On Monday, A1 Organics in Eaton, Colo. — the region’s largest commercial composting and organic recycling company — announced it had entered an agreement, worth tens of millions of dollars, with a renewable energy business to develop what could eventually be the largest anaerobic digester project in the U.S.
The anaerobic digestion system will convert organic feedstock, or substrate, and dairy cow manure into raw biogas.
That raw biogas will be processed into pipeline-quality renewable natural gas, and then be supplied to a municipality, according to officials with the company.
Bob Yost, spokesman for A1 Organics, said the company had been trying to develop an anaerobic digester project for about a decade.
In its partnership with Heartland Biogas, LLC — a wholly owned subsidiary of EDF Renewable Energy — A1 Organics will also be developing fertilizer-grade products from the digester’s by-products, Yost said.
Called the Heartland Biogas Project, it is now under construction near LaSalle, Colo. — about 15 miles south of Eaton — with biogas deliveries scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2014.
The project — Colorado’s first commercial anaerobic digester — will produce 4,700 MMBtu of biogas daily, according to a statement released by A1 Organics.
Such production levels will place the Heartland Biogas Project among the nation’s largest, if not the largest, Yost added.
To produce its natural gas and other products, A1 is actively negotiating with and seeking new generators of digestible organic substrates, such as feedlots or dairies.
Yost noted that company officials aren’t yet naming the municipal power authority that has entered into a long-term gas purchase agreement for the Heartland Biogas Project, and also said an exact dollar amount for the cost of the project isn’t being released yet.
Company officials, though, were upfront recently regarding their excitement for the endeavor.
“We are proud to be an integral part of this exciting and innovative project that is not only focused on providing the next level of sustainable and beneficial options for recycling of organic wastes, but also the creation of renewable energy and beneficial by-product,” said Chuck Wilson, president and CEO of A1 Organics. ❖