High-Tech Waste-to-Energy Facility Set to Open in May
by Alex Acquisto (Bangor Daily News) The company behind a state-of-the-art solid waste disposal facility in Hampden designed to convert trash into biofuel has secured enough funding to begin operations in May.
Craig Stuart-Paul, CEO of Maryland-based Fiberight LLC, announced this week that his company has secured $70 million for a municipal solid waste center off Coldbrook Road — $45 million through a tax-exempt bond with the Finance Authority of Maine and the remainder in private equity funds.
The Fiberight model for disposing of waste includes dividing trash into reusable and not reusable materials. The organic waste is then used to make biofuel, which is similar to natural gas, while glass, metals, plastics and paper are sold on the commodities market. Leftover fibrous material can be turned into fuel pellets for heating.
About 80 percent of the waste deposited at the new waste facility will be reused, which means only about 20 percent will end up in a landfill, Municipal Review Committee Executive Director Greg Lounder has said. The MRC is an organization that represents more than 180 Maine towns. READ MORE
Fiberight: A deep-dive into the trash to find the cash (Biofuels Digest)
Excerpts from Biofuels Digest: The bottom line data point for this project — indeed, any project utilizing municipal solid waste as a feedstock for advanced fuels, chemicals or materials — is that the old model of sorting waste into metals, plastics and organics and then combusting organics into electricity is broken. Technically it works, but it can’t make money, and communities face choices between more landfills, long-term subsidies to support waste-to-electrons financial losses, or utilizing advanced technology to extract more value.
The key opportunity in MSW is that 50 percent of MSW is the organic fraction — and Fiberight has found a financial model that works in upgrading this waste stream into biogas, which can be utilized in the higher-value CNG market among other places. As a renewable transport fuel based on cellulosic material, it also qualifies for valuable cellulosic RIN credits.
In part, both Fulcrum and Fiberight discovered that their projects could be compared to infrastructure projects financed by tax-exempt municipal bonds — and both have found their key debt component via that route.
Fiberight CEO Craig Stuart-Paul told Bangor Daily News, that $45 million of the financing came through a tax-exempt bond with the Finance Authority of Maine and the remainder in private equity funds.
Private Equity was provided by a firm specializing in sustainable infrastructure investments. The firm targets mid and smaller sized opportunities in waste, energy, water and agriculture. The target developer offers projects with unique competitive advantages, replicable and scalable project types and strong customer relationships.
The Competitive Edge
High Waste Feedstock Availability at Low Cost – Fiberight takes advantage of low cost and abundant high-energy sources of municipal solid waste (MSW) feedstock from existing supply infrastructure, by locating proximate to waste hauler and collection sites.
Energy / Environmental Impact Gains – Fiberight also sequesters plastic/hydrocarbon fractions for production of cogeneration plant energy using a low emissions process, resulting in its biorefinery plants having the added benefit of being a net energy producer.
Efficient Organic Conversion – Fiberight’s targeted organic processes, pretreatment methods and novel enzyme recycling systems have been perfected, using proprietary technology and IP in a low temperature and a closed-loop water system, to manage costs.
Low CAPEX – Fiberight utilizes an efficient “mini-mill” plant facility, with 50,000 square foot operations, that can be constructed at much lower initial capital investment due to the smaller scale, closed-loop system and streamlined permitting process. READ MORE