In December 2013, Zero Waste Energy Development Company LLC (ZWEDC) opened the first large-scale commercial dry fermentation anaerobic digestion facility in the United States, largest in the world. ZWEDC was formed in 2011 by privately owned and locally operated companies GreenWaste Recovery, Inc. and Zanker Road Resource Management, Ltd.. With the goal of taking organics recovery to the next level, ZWEDC desired not only to compost organic materials keeping them out of landfill, but also to extract the energy value from the organics stream. ZWEDC conducted extensive investigation into existing technologies and ultimately selected a patented high solids dry anaerobic digestion and in-vessel composting technology. Zero Waste Energy, LLC, a California based company and partner of the GreenWaste Recovery and Zanker Road companies, holds the exclusive license in North America for the the patented Kompoferm IVC Plus in-vessel compost technology and provides design, permitting and systems integration for the project under that license. ZWEDC has the exclusive contract to process the City of San Jose’s wet organic commercial waste to produce clean, green renewable energy in the form of electricity or for vehicle fuels, simultaneously producing a high quality compost product.
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a bacterial fermentation process that operates without free oxygen and results in a biogas containing mostly methane and carbon dioxide. AD is also the principal decomposition process occurring in landfills. Biodegradation of organic material occurs in nature principally through the action of aerobic microorganisms. Ultimately, complete oxidation of the carbonaceous organic materials results in the production of carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). Anaerobic microorganisms degrade the organic matter in the absence of oxygen with ultimate products being CO2 and methane (CH4) collectively called “biogas.” Anaerobic micro-organisms occur naturally in low-oxygen environments such as marshes, wetlands, and in the digestive tract of ruminant animals.
You can read more at their website: http://zwedc.com/
ZWED is built on the former Nine Par landfill, formerly apart of the Owens and Corning landfill, before it was closed and sold to Richard Christina, who re-opened it in 1982. The land was given to the city of San Jose (or possibly the WPCP) as a buffer to the water pollution control center [now called the Santa Clara Regional Waste Treatment facility]. In the 80’s it was the site of “midnight dumping”, where companies would illegally dispose of their toxic waste materials (including tons of hazardous semiconductor chemicals from the former booming tech industry that in Santa Clara County) at that location.
The landfill is a toxic dump site, as documented in a “Site Investigation” conducted by Golder Associates Inc., in 2010. The report shows that the Nine-Par site cannot be built on because it is hazardous, but the City of San Jose excludes the Site Investigation on its 2011 Environmental Impact Report and builds anyways.
The facility is now leaching over 21,000 ppm TCE into the groundwater and into the air [safe ranges between 30-80 ppm]. There is so much TCE, it is being detected in the air.
What is TCE? – TCE is a hazardous semiconductor waste product that causes neurological deformities and birth defects. It is the chemical in the 1980’s Fairchild disaster.http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/09.11.97/toxic-9737.html
15 years later, hundreds of people were affected, children were born with birth defects. Many residents didn’t even drink the TCE, they were simply exposed to a nearby underground TCE tank that had leaked.
The water board had however brought to our attention that the old Nine Par Landfill, where ZWED sits on, is presently the biggest threat to bay waters. Its TCE levels has exceeded safety threshold for many years, as a result of being a toxic waste dump. This compound can cause birth defects, as what happened in 1980s Fairchild Disaster in San Jose.
San Jose City knew about this, but approved ZWED anyways against environmental safety. The city is supposed to have contracted a 3rd party contractor to clean up the site, tentatively completed by June 2016. Ken Davies is the San Jose staff responsible for the clean up project.