Akron Composting Plant is now the Akron Renewable Energy Facility
What was once the City of Akron Composting Plant is now the Akron Renewable Energy Facility. In late October, city officials and KB BioEnergy, Inc. held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the $32 million transformation of the plant where 100 percent of the sewage sludge from the city's wastewater treatment plant (about 15,000 dry tons/year) will be anaerobically digested to generate electricity. The Akron Renewable Energy Facility is owned by the City of Akron and operated by KB BioEnergy, Inc., formerly known as KB Compost Services, Inc. It was funded in part with a $9.6 million federal renewable energy tax credit. Akron provides the sludge and gets the electricity produced. KB BioEnergy, Inc. uses BioFERM/Schmack Biogas AG technology. The former composting plant, which was operated by KB Compost Services, is being decommissioned.
Phase I of the AD facility was a pilot project launched in 2007 to determine the feasibility of using the Schmack Biogas AG high solids AD process as a means to manage the solids. The pilot facility was designed to process one-third of the annual solids; the biogas fueled a 335kW combined heat and power (CHP) engine. Phase II incorporates the Schmack Biogas technology used in Phase I, but on a larger scale. The plant has two tanks-- each measuring 68 feet in diameter and 26 feet high and capable of holding 704,000 gallons of sludge pumped in from the sewage plant on the east side of the Cuyahoga River. The sludge is heated to 95 degrees F and remains inside the domed tanks equipped with a double membrane layer for 28 to 29 days. Biogas will fuel three 600 kW CHP units. Like Phase I, the expected parasitic load will be around 10 percent of the power generated. The remaining power will be used to reduce operational costs at the wastewater treatment facility. The digestate will be dewatered and processed through an in-direct dryer, resulting in material that will be 95 percent or higher dry solids. These "pellets" will meet the Class A "Exceptional Quality" biosolids standard. Approximately 15,000 cubic yards will be produced annually.