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Partnership with Waste to Energy Canada Promotes Sustainability in CHPS

Columbia Heights Public Schools was recently gifted a biodigester and biomass boiler courtesy of Waste to Energy Canada (WTEC) valued at over $269,000.

Director of Technology, Security & Building Operations Bryan Hennekens presented information about the biodigester to the School Board at its March 24 Regular Business Meeting. Hennekens discussed the goal of how the District can start to turn its organic waste into energy without shipping it off to be properly disposed of.

The District engaged with WTEC – a leader in providing solutions in this area – who came out to tour one of the buildings as a potential site in fall 2019. Representatives from the District then visited sites where WTEC solutions were already in place this past winter and engaged in practical conversations with WTEC about how CHPS could implement a pilot program.

The biodigester and biomass boiler will be housed at North Park Elementary – who has been leading the way for CHPS in sustainability programs and was named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School in 2018. The system is a fully-automated, waterless digester process that is capable of reducing mass and volume of organic waste by minimum of 70 percent. Other benefits of the system include: no grey water discharge is present eliminating the need for drain lines or sewer; no VOCs (volatile organic compounds that easily become vapors or gases) or carbon dioxide emissions; remote monitoring and more!

“The biodigester is a massive gift from WTEC to CHPS and one that we are forever grateful for. This gift allows CHPS to decrease out waste footprint and continue to pave the way for sustainability in schools,” said Superintendent Kathy L. Kelly. “We are excited to implement this new system and continue to serve as leaders in the green movement among school districts.”

How does the biodigester and biomass boiler work?

  1. Empty our food waste and compostable material into the biodigester.
  2. Let the system process for about a day.
  3. The food waste and compostable material is converted into a high biofuel in 24 hours.
  4. The fuel is used to run an integrated biomass boiler.
  5. The resulting heat is delivered to the existing heating system.

 Biodigester Process

“The biodigester will be a powerful learning tool for our students and staff. It is an exciting technology that will help our learners discover the role engineering will play in the quest for further shrinking our carbon footprint,” said North Park Principal Jeff Cacek.

“We are working toward a long and valuable, collaborative partnership with WTEC in support of our students and their learning,” the Superintendent noted.

Hennekens noted the District is responsible for the cost of the system design, equipment delivery, the 10-year maintenance agreement and site prep for installation.

WTEC is a technology driven company, focused on providing off-grid holistic infrastructure solutions, that deploy logical, proven, economical, modular/scalable, technology platforms. They are focused on community independence, security, home, family and the next generation.