AmericanFarm.com

Construction set for plant to convert litter into electricity

By BRUCE HOTCHKISS
Senior Editor

WESTOVER, Md. (Nov. 15, 2016) — A $25 million dollar industrial plant designed to turn poultry litter into electricity and return most of what’s left to the farmers as nitrogen and phosphorous soil amendments is slated to be built in Somerset County. Md., starting next spring.
It will be the first of four — already in the planning and design stage — to be constructed on Delmarva.
Officials of Clean Bay Renewables. a three-year-old company, envision perhaps as many as 10 plants in the region somewhere down the line.
The fully integrated system relies first on technology known as thermophilic anaerobic digestion. That technology, which is not new, creates the methane which powers generators to produce electricity.
What is new and indeed groundbreaking and is incorporated in the system, is known as NR, struvite nutrient recovery. It captures the nitrogen and the phosphorous continuing to circulate in the water and converts the nutrients, in each case, to granulated or pelletized organic fertilizer.
The process uses no incineration or spray irrigation.  The water circulates continuously and requires no disposal.
The 30-acre Somerset County plant, to be constructed on a 100-acre industrial-zoned tract, will be capable of processing 250 tons of litter per day. That would be sufficient to power 5,000 homes.
Clean Bay Renewables’ project was conceived by two Maryland entrepreneurs, Jason Levine, chief executive officer, who lives in Rockville and Thomas Spangler, senior Department of Defense official and electrical engineer, who lives in Annapolis.
Dr. Shawn Freitas serves as CleanBay’s chief technology officer.  He holds a PhD and master’s in both environmental engineering and project management.  He is a biochemistry/biophysics graduate and has deep experience and knowledge in biomass to liquids processes and technologies.  
They have gathered around them a team of professionals and contractors intimately aware of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort. 
Among them is Robert Rauch, president of Rauch inc., an Easton Md., based engineering design and construction management consultant. Rauch inc. will provide the engineering design and development service for the project.
Rauch’s affiliated company, RDR Environmental LLC, will serve as the general contractor for the project.  In that effort, and for the various construction and engineering disciplines required for the project, he has tapped a majority of local and area subcontractors for the Somerset County job.
Clean Bay Renewables and its investors hope to have the Somerset plant on line by the spring of 2018.
The project has received thumbs-up for the manure-to-energy plant from PJM, the utility grid operator serving Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and 11 other states, and has the support of the Somerset County Economic Development Commission.
Clean Bay Renewables officials are optimistic of approval as well from other county and state authorities. They note that it complies with Maryland’s Phosphorus Management Tool regulations, and protects local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay from excess nutrients. As to the future, a formal summary of the project by the company offers this:
“We are in discussions with industrial partners for the development of two more co-located plants, and are performing site selection in Delaware and Maryland for the development of second and third independent facilities.
“Our standard project scale is 5 megawatts, costing $25M. To date, CleanBay has raised over $1.5M covering operating expenses and pre-construction development. We have also secured commitments from the Bank of Delmarva, Salisbury, Md. and NCALL, a Community Development Financial Institution located in Dover, Del., to finance the debt requirements of our first project.
“In addition to CleanBay’s equity investors and partners, our implementation partner Globomass of Ireland has committed the additional required project capital.
“CleanBay is continuing discussions with equity partners for the initial follow-on and future projects to total 50 megawatts throughout the Delmarva and then the rest of the Mid-Atlantic.