Anaergia announces startup of Omnivore biogas project

By Anaergia Inc. | September 29, 2014

The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Sept. 26 to mark the successful start-up of the operation of its new Omnivore biogas production system, supplied by Anaergia Inc., and funded in part by the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research program.

Municipal wastewater treatment is typically an energy intensive process, and many facilities utilize biogas that is produced as a by-product of treatment to generate energy and offset a portion of their electrical needs.  The electrical generation installation costs can be prohibitive unless biogas production rates are relatively high. Treatment facilities may accept additional waste streams to increase biogas production, such as food waste and fats, oils and grease, but the existing anaerobic digesters which produce the gas often cannot be loaded with this external feedstock, and so this typically requires construction of additional digester capacity.

The start-up of the VVWRA Omnivore project is significant to the CEC and to Anaergia because it demonstrates how wastewater treatment plants can increase digester loading and biogas production using existing infrastructure. The innovation includes Anaergia’s high solids mixers and recuperative thickener, which change an ordinary digester into a high-solids Omnivore digester. The Omnivore retrofit enables VVWRA to triple the digester’s solids content and biogas production rate. VVWRA will convert the additional biogas into electricity to meet part of the wastewater treatment facility’s electrical demand.

Though Anaergia has provided high solids digestion technologies to meet the needs of customers in Europe, the VVWRA retrofit is the first in North America.

Logan Olds, the general manager of VVWRA, said, “Our goal is to demonstrate that we can operate our existing infrastructure more efficiently.  With recuperative thickening or even with traditional digesters, the ability to co-digest an additional waste stream can bring added value to the facility, whether it be through minimizing tipping fees or by producing power from the additional methane that is generated as a result of the decomposition.”

Andrew Benedek, CEO of Anaergia, added, “The residents of Victor Valley now benefit from the unique attributes of our Omnivore system.  This proven solution is something that should please everyone who cares about the environment.”