Lebanon breaks ground on waste-to-energy plant

A groundbreaking ceremony in Lebanon, TN, kicked off construction of a new gasification plant at the city's wastewater treatment facility.

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NASHVILLE, TN, Nov. 17, 2015 -- A groundbreaking ceremony in Lebanon, TN, kicked off construction of a new gasification plant at the city's wastewater treatment facility. Tens of thousands of tons of sewer sludge, used tires and industrial wood waste will be processed there each year, producing electricity to help power the treatment plant and diverting those materials from area landfills.

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L-R: Chris Koczaja (vice president of implementation and engineering at PHG Energy); Tom Doherty (environmental specialist with Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation); Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead; Lebanon Councilman Fred Burton, Ward 2; Lebanon Councilman Rob Cesternino, Ward 3, and Jeff Baines (public works commissioner for the city of Lebanon)

"This facility is going to be a model for waste-to-energy partnerships," Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead said last week, "as well as the first stage in moving our city completely away from dumping waste into landfills."

PHG Energy of Nashville is designing and building the new facility for Lebanon. The installation will mark the 14th commercial downdraft gasification unit going on line for that company, and will include utilization of the world's largest downdraft gasification unit with a full capacity throughput of 64 tons per day.

Gasification is a clean thermo-chemical process that breaks down biomass-based material in a high-heat and low-oxygen environment. There is no incineration or burning involved in the process. The only residue after production of synthetic fuel gas is a carbon biochar that has multiple agricultural, industrial and direct fuel uses. The syngas is used to power an Organic Rankine Cycle generator, which will provide for the gasification operation's internal needs, and deliver up to 200 Kw directly to the operation of the waste plant.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has awarded the project $250,000 in funding through the Clean Tennessee Energy Grant program, and facilitated a subsidy of 70% of the $3.5 million financing's interest cost through the Federal Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds program.

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