The MARRVE project is wrapping up and we are so excited to get it up and running. Since July of 2019 we have been building a push wall and tip floor at the old Recycling Center by the Transfer Station. This is where the solid food waste will be delivered and processed through the Scott Equipment T42 Turbo Separator. Food waste will come in by truck either loose or packaged. The loose food will be dumped on the tip floor then scooped up and run through the T42. The packaged food waste (inedible for multiple reasons) will be taken out of trucks at the truck docks and then run through the T42, packaging and all.
The T42 is specially designed to take packaged waste and separate the packaging from the food inside. It does this will paddles that break open the package and spinning the food out. The packaging will come out the end and the spinning food waste will drip through the bottom. When the food falls out it is then pumped to tankers that will deliver the material to the WRRF (Water and Resource Recovery Facility).
The WRRF has had some upgrades to receive this material. Old tanks were rehabilitated and insulated to hold up to 65,000 gallons of material with expansion possible to 130,000 gallons in the future. New pumps were installed to stir the material and dose the material into existing anaerobic digesters. These digesters will break down the food into natural fertilizer while creating renewable natural gas. This gas can then be used to fuel vehicles, create electricity or heat your home.
Check back soon, we hope to have the T42 up and running sometime in January.
What Is MARRVE?
The Muscatine Area Resource Recovery for Vehicles and Energy program (MARRVE) will receive organic waste and convert it to renewable natural gas that can be used by Compressed Natural Gas vehicles. This fuel is the only carbon negative footprint vehicle fuel that removes more carbon from the environment than it puts out when burned in an engine. There are several ways to make carbon negative fuel.
Reduction in landfills is another benefit of food waste diversion as 18-22 percent of landfill material is organic waste, the single largest component in landfills and the most accessible. When food is diverted it is easily converted to a usable product either through composting or anaerobic digestion. Starting programs in our communities to recycle these materials is the next logical step in a larger recycling effort. With the success found in current sustainability programs, food waste diversion is quickly becoming standard operation with economic, environmental and societal benefits in what is known as the triple bottom line.
Our project is starting with the construction of a high strength waste (HSW) receiving station. This station will receive FOG (Fats, Oils and Greases) from commercial kitchens that utilize grease traps and grease interceptors. These devices must be cleaned regularly to ensure the sewer systems will not become plugged creating sanitary sewer overflows and back-ups into homes and businesses. This material is fed to our anaerobic digesters where it creates methane gas. This gas is collected and will eventually be processed into compressed natural gas that can be used to fuel vehicles.
The HSW station will also receive waste food scraps from homes, businesses and industries. During the manufacturing process of many food products, food in containers are not suitable for sale due to health concerns or due to food quality standards. These must be destroyed as they are not suitable for human or animal consumption and end up in landfills. Muscatine will utilize a depackaging machine to open the packaging, remove the organic material, and recycle as much of the package as possible.
Once we receive the material, it will be stored for metered injection into the digesters at the Water & Resource Recovery Facility that operate to clean municipal wastewater. The combination of these materials produces biogas (methane and other gases) as well as biosolids, a nutrient rich fertilizer that is applied to farm ground to naturally replenish nitrogen and phosphorus to the soil.