Waste management company Bioenergy Devco will open a new anaerobic digestion facility in Howard County that will create renewable energy, offer new jobs to local residents, and reduce Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Anaerobic digestion, as explained by Bioenergy, is the natural breakdown of organic materials “in the absence of oxygen.” Similar to composting, the decomposition occurs when microorganisms break down organic matter in completely closed-off containers. The methane gases created during this process are collected in the containers, which keeps them out of landfills and the atmosphere.
The new anaerobic digestion facility is strategically located next to the Maryland Food Center campus in Jessup, which is home to dozens of the state’s wholesale food distributors, including Edward G. Rahll & Sons, Hungry Harvest, and Congressional Seafood. The facility will collect food waste from these nearby businesses to facilitate the natural decomposition process that Bioenergy CEO Shawn Kreloff likens to “an industrially-sized cow stomach.” Once the food ferments, a pipeline-grade renewable natural gas is produced, as well as a nutrient-rich substance that can be used in place of compost or mixed in topsoil.
With recent legislation requiring businesses to divert food waste from landfills and incinerators, the anaerobic digestion facility will have a significant impact in Maryland. By locating itself near wholesale food distributors, Bioenergy leads the way in providing a sustainable and cost-effective alternative energy source for heat and electricity. The site is expected to provide enough energy to power 4,800 homes throughout the area, with BGE helping distribute the natural gas. Bioenergy will also create up to 50 new jobs in the region and prevent nearly 125,000 tons of landfill waste per year.
“We are excited to offer a more efficient and environmentally responsible path for large-scale organic recycling,” Kreloff said in a statement. “We are honored to have our flagship facility here in the state where the community and its leaders understand that what’s good for the environment can also be good for business.”