CleanBay takes partner to run Westover bio-refinery

Methane, electricity and fertilizer from poultry litter

ANNAPOLIS — CleanBay Renewables Inc., which plans to produce natural gas and organic fertilizer from poultry litter at its property on Old Princess Anne Road in Westover, is negotiating a partnership with Evoqua Water Technologies LLC to serve as the facility’s long-term operations and maintenance service provider.

Evoqua is “field-proven” in anaerobic digestion and water treatment technology which will be crucial for the bio-refinery to be successful, the company states. CleanBay anticipates recycling more than 150,000 tons of chicken litter annually and convert it to renewable methane. Along the way electricity will be produced with a nutrient-rich fertilizer.

“After an exhaustive market assessment, Evoqua has proven to be the best solution to help us meet our environmental and economic goals,” said Thomas Spangler, CleanBay Renewables’ executive chairman.

“The expertise they’ve acquired from over 100 years in the water industry made our selection an easy one. We look forward to working together to provide the Delmarva community with renewable natural gas and organic fertilizer they can count on, as well as offer a solution to the poultry industry that contributes toward the environmental sustainability objectives they’ve been working so hard to achieve.”

Evoqua has over 200,000 installations worldwide, with over 2,500 anaerobic digesters in North America. It’s world-class experience and expanding portfolio of products has placed Evoqua as an advisor to municipal, industrial and recreational customers.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to provide our breadth of experience in water treatment and anaerobic digestion to help CleanBay meet their sustainability goals,” said Rodney Aulick, Evoqua’s executive vice president of Integrated Solutions & Services.

“Through this partnership we will not only create renewable energy and organic fertilizer, but we will also take CleanBay’s sustainability one step further by applying our zero-liquid discharge approach.”

CleanBay will redirect poultry litter that otherwise can lead to land and water pollution while simultaneously creating a renewable energy source and an organic fertilizer. Further, the humic acid contained within the organic fertilizer product will enable additional carbon reduction through soil remediation.

“Our process closes the sustainability loop by converting poultry litter into a polished fertilizer product and returning it back to the farming community to support further crop development and healthy soils,” said Donal Buckley, CleanBay’s chief executive officer.

“As we continue to develop new facilities, we will rapidly become one of the largest single sources for organic fertilizer in the country.”

The Westover facility will require an initial fill of water into the anaerobic digester tanks which is part of an approved permit with the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Mr. Spangler said this will be sourced from on-site wells and other non-drinkable water sources and will not affect the local water supply system.

“Each day the plant will produce both organic fertilizer and renewable biogas,” Mr. Spangler said by email.

“During this process, some moisture from the plant will be locked into the fertilizer or evaporated during gas production. The plant will need to replace this loss (less than one percent) daily. By utilizing Evoqua’s zero-liquid discharge approach, all of the remaining water from our process will be recycled back into the plant for reuse.”

The Somerset County Sanitary District has been approached about its non-potable water available from the two Revell’s Neck Road wells that would otherwise require reverse osmosis for it to be placed in the Princess Anne water system — a cost prohibitive process the Sanitary Commission will not undertake.

Founded in 2013, CleanBay Renewables received its first permission to proceed in Westover from the Somerset County Board of Zoning Appeals in January 2015. The land, zoned General Industrial-2, required a special exception to produce chemicals and electricity.

While no construction permits have been issued, CleanBay anticipates groundbreaking later this year.