West Allis-based Advanced Waste Services Inc. has reached an agreement with the Forest County Potawatomi Community to be the exclusive provider of feedstock material for the anaerobic digester that the tribe plans to build near its casino in Milwaukee.
The anaerobic digester is a renewable energy facility that will convert the feedstock material into energy, which will be sold back to Wisconsin Energy Corp.
Advanced Waste Services is an environmental services company that offers clients customized, sustainable solutions for collecting, transporting, treating, recycling and disposing of hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Sustainability drives the company's mission in helping clients eliminate waste and risks associated with waste, transform waste into resources, and define and achieve sustainability goals, said marketing manager Joe DeNucci.
The feedstock delivery work for the Potawatomi renewable energy facility fits well with Advanced Waste Services' sustainable business practices.
"(Sustainability is) really about preserving the resources we have today and making sure they're there in the future, whether that's about environmental resources, whether that's about capital and business growth, or whether that's keeping people employed, keeping jobs here," DeNucci said.
At AWS, client services start with an "Earth conversation" so the company can learn about a client's specific sustainability goals related to their business, community and environment and figure out the necessary steps to make those goals a reality.
AWS was selected by Potawatomi as part of a team of companies that won a project bid, according to Jeff Crawford, attorney general for the tribe.
"As we were doing our due diligence for the Milwaukee biogas generation (anaerobic digester) facility, we needed to put together bid packages, and we invited companies to submit bids, and AWS was part of a team that submitted a bid that ultimately prevailed," Crawford said.
Crawford acknowledged the crucial role of AWS in converting waste to energy resources.
"Obviously, they provide a good and necessary service for southeastern Wisconsin, and we think that their relationship with us will go a long way in terms of dealing with wastes and putting them to good, sustainable uses," Crawford said.
The feedstock supplied by AWS will be composed of organic materials such as food, beverage and animal liquid wastes. The animal liquid wastes will be comprised of animal processing waste and meat renderings from animal processing facilities.
"For us it's an expertise of ours, so (the tribe is) looking to us to make it a very easy process to transport feedstock material to help them generate energy," DeNucci said.
The renewable energy facility's anaerobic digester will break down these organic materials into methane gas that will power engines to continuously generate about 2 megawatts of energy. This energy will be sold back to Wisconsin Energy Corp.
The food, beverage and animal liquid wastes will mostly come from new clients who AWS hasn't been able to accommodate with waste solutions. DeNucci said dairy and meat industries will make large contributions to the feedstock and avoid risks in the process.
For example, businesses in the dairy industry have previously used land application to get rid of their wastes, causing risks of runoff into streams, groundwater contamination and air pollution in some cases. The alternative waste removal option presented by the renewable energy facility will now eliminate these risks, which echoes the mission behind AWS to erase risks, transform wastes into resources, and help clients meet their sustainability goals.
DeNucci projects that during the first year of the energy facility's operation, AWS will supply approximately 175,000 gallons of feedstock per day, equivalent to at least 30 tanker trucks responsible for delivering the feedstock.
In preparing to supply feedstock, the company is currently working to generate interest among prospective clients. AWS will test the material of each client to ensure it has the correct chemical oxygen demand content of organic material and contains no contaminants or pollutants.
DeNucci believes the company's developing relationship with the Potawatomi Community has potential to attract food and beverage companies concerned about sustainability to southeastern Wisconsin, which will translate into more jobs and revenue for the region.
"I think it's awesome what Potawatomi is doing, and our ability to partner with them on this is great because it's going to really put Milwaukee on the map in terms of being leaders in achieving sustainability in the food and beverage industry," DeNucci said.
Construction for the anaerobic digester facility will break ground this fall and is slated to launch operations in August 2013.