An Atlanta-based company is betting on a sustainable, unending supply of raw material as feed stock, to create a renewable energy source. Human and industrial wastes will soon be processed into a solid, called “E-Fuel”, a replacement for coal or other fossil fuels.
The company, EnerTech Environmental, says it has received $42 million in funding to continue engineering and completion of a commercial-size plant in Rialto, CA, shown in the picture. Four more plants are in the planning stage as funding for the projects is received. The company says it now has $57 million in venture capital.
Turning watery human and industrial waste into a usable product, according to the firm, poses a unique problem. EnerTech calls it’s technology SlurryCarb, the natural process that turns organic material into fossil fuel. Heat and pressure are used to split off carbon dioxide, removing the water that was trapped in cell walls. Once the water is removed, E-Fuel is the final result.
The City of Los Angeles poured $500 million into a pair of plants some 20 years ago, only to have them pulled, according to the Los Angeles Times. It seems the sludge erupted in flames after corroding valves. EnerTech claims to have the answer to that problem.
The Rialto plant is expected to go into operation this December, converting 683 tons of sewage sludge into E-Fuel every day. Five nearby communities will contribute the raw material.
The article doesn’t say anything about odors that may emanate from the plant during operations. If you’ve every lived downwind of a sewage treatment plant, you get the idea. I don’t think I’d want to live anywhere near this place, would you?