A Revolution in Neighborhood-Scale Renewable Energy
PLACE has patented a neighborhood-scale energy plant that, quite simply, takes food waste from a community (think: food scraps) and turns it into energy, which then grows organic produce for distribution via CSA (community supported agriculture). We will be building our first E-Generation facility into our landmark St. Louis Park project, and we couldn't be more excited about it. As a result, the people and businesses in this community will have incredibly low energy bills, and will have access to fresh, organic produce -- even in the long, cold Minnesota winters. Check out this great video to learn more, and read on!
E-Generation is a portfolio of sustainable energy technologies centered around a neighborhood-scale anaerobic digester, intended to directly interact with residences. The digester will work in concert with solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, micro-wind, and a combined heat and power generator, balanced for optimal “free” energy inputs, to turn food waste into renewable energy. The outputs of the process are organic fertilizer, heat, and carbon dioxide, all of which will be used to grow organic produce in an onsite greenhouse. We estimate that E-Generation will grow enough food for 300 CSA (community supported agriculture) shares, and will provide a number of permanent, living-wage jobs.
Once the St. Louis Park community is inhabited, the facility will accept all its organics, and will provide renewable energy for residents, commercial businesses, and the hotel in an efficient loop. The process can be scaled up to accept waste from the wider neighborhood as well. The city will save a significant amount of money that is currently spent on trucking organic waste far outside the city -- not to mention saving tons of carbon dioxide and fuel.
PLACE has designed the full-scale facility to address the legitimate community concerns of odor control and noise. The E-Generation facility will operate as a sealed, pressurized system. A waste hauler will enter the closed bay, dump into the digester, and leave. The space will be positively pressurized to prevent odors from escaping. A third, redundant odor control mechanism is an onsite greenhouse: the exhaust from the facility (which will contain CO2) will be fed into the greenhouse, along with the fertilizer byproduct of the digestion process, to enhance food production.