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Posted by Industry News on Jun 19, 2013

The Business Journals // Jun 19, 2013

Food waste-to-energy may be Massachusetts's fastest growing advanced energy sector in the coming years, according to an article from the Boston Business Journal. State officials have focused on fostering the organic waste energy industry in the state. The new policies include provisions like requiring that companies producing more than one ton per week of food waste take the organic waste out of the traditional waste stream. Provisions like this are expected to boost investment in anaerobic digesters across the state. Boston Business Journal quotes Ken Kimmell, commissioner of Governor Patrick's Department of Environmental Protection:

"What we're hoping to do is create a very strong market signal that will bring private capital in to build digesters. There are a number of companies already looking for sites (here) to build digesters."

Massachusetts lags, relatively speaking, to many states in the country. There are currently only two digesters in the state. The city of Columbus, Ohio has two anaerobic digesters, both operated by quasar energy group.

Massachusetts is making it easier on private investors as well. The state legislature recently updated its codes to ensure that owners of anaerobic digesters could sell power back to grid. The state has also been setting up standards and procedures for building and operating digesters, which had previously been an "uncharted process" according to Boston Business Journal. Already several projects, including one run by NEO Energy and one from Harvest Power, are in development. Boston Business Journal reports:

"Ask [Harvest Power CEO Paul] Sellew about what's driving the business, and he'll rattle off the positive factors. There's the new construction and jobs in communities near the origins of the food waste, and the elimination of long-haul shipments of the trash to far-off landfills or expensive incinerators. The power plants are more reliable on cloudy or windless days than solar panels or wind turbines."
"We'll build one, demonstrate the model, show everyone how it works," Sellew said. "At that point, you'll see a rollout in Massachusetts."

Read more here.