Dry-Fermentation Anaerobic Digestion Facility | City of San José
Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration

In November 2013 the world’s largest dry fermentation anaerobic digestion facility and the first large-scale commercial facility of its kind in the United States was completed in San José, California. Dry fermentation anaerobic digestion is a natural biological process whereby bacteria break down organic matter in an oxygen-free environment. The process converts organic matter into a combustible biogas. The facility in San José, California will process an estimated 225,000 tons per year of commercial organic waste that will otherwise go to landfills, instead converting it to renewable energy and 35,000 tons of compost and bulking material.

Owned and operated by Zero Waste Energy Development Company, the anaerobic digestion facility is a joint venture between GreenWaste Recovery and Zanker Road Resource Management. The companies are taking organics recovery to the next level-composting organic material to keep it out of landfill while extracting its energy value. The facility models how to reduce landfill statewide and worldwide. The high-quality compost produced will be used to enrich soils, and the renewable biogas will provide both onsite power and power for sale to local users of green energy. Development of the facility moves San José closer to achieving its goal of zero waste to landfill by 2022.

Julie Wright prepared an Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration for the construction and operation of the dry fermentation anaerobic digestion facility in compliance with California Environmental Quality Act. Organic waste used in this process will consist mainly of food waste, source separated organics, and organic residue from other Municipal Solid Waste processing facilities. Environmental analysis for the facility required a complex air quality and greenhouse gas analysis due to new emissions associated with the equipment to process the organic waste. The past usage of the project site also presented unique conditions due to the former landfill below the new facility.

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