MARTINSBURG — Located on Grapevine Road adjacent to a well-established recycling center on 12 acres is a 55,000 square-foot building under construction that is designed to turn household and municipal solid waste into solid fuel.
The cost of the project by Entsorga West Virginia (EWV) is $19 million.
Emily Dyson is the director of science research and development for BioHiTech Global, which has acquired 17.2 percent equity interest in Entsorga West Virginia.
Dyson has been working on the project for the past six years.
“This is a very large indoor composting process that will use municipal and household solid waste to make a supplement for coal,” Dyson said.
Dyson said the primary customer in Martinsburg that will be using the alternative fuel source is Argos Cement.
Argos Cement is considered to be the most sustainable cement producer in the world, according to Dow Jones.
By using the HEBioT mechanical biological treatment (MBT) system, Entsorga WV will recover bio-mass, plastics and other carbon-based material from the mixed solid waste stream and convert them into a safe alternative fuel source.
The entire facility, which covers 55,000 square-feet, is automated using a crane and conveyor system.
“There is no human handling of waste,” Dyson said. Approximately 12-16 employees will be hired.
As municipal and household waste is delivered to the facility, large items such as, cardboard and plastics are removed to be added later.
Glass, rock and metals will go to the landfill.
The remainder of the waste will be virtually made into compost and put in windrows inside the building to oxidize.
Dyson says the windrows that are in the building are monitored for temperature and humidity and are left for the micro-organisms to do their job.
“It may take 10 to 14 days before it becomes a finished product,” Dyson said.
Once the process is complete, cardboard is added, all metals are pulled out and the product is ready to be delivered to the cement company.
Dyson said the end product becomes a light crunchy paper that will be transported to Argos to be used the same as coal.
In essence, the municipal solid waste received will be converted to a clean burning alternative fuel, solid recovered fuel or SRF, which will be used by large energy users as a supplement to fossil fuels.
“It reduces 30 percent supplement use of coal and reduces greenhouse gas emissions,” Dyson said.
Argos is similar to the value of coal.
“Eighty percent of the waste collected is diverted from the landfill, and that is pretty significant,” Dyson said.
She says the whole country is running out of space for landfills.
Dyson said Entsorga WV received a letter from the USEPA approving the product as alternate fuel trough the patented MBT system.
Entsorga West Virginia is a joint venture between Apple Valley Waste Technologies, Inc., Entsorga Italia and Chemtex Global, New York.
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