Through public-private partnership, Catawba County is teaming with a local lumber processing company that is located on county-owned land adjacent to the landfill. The company provides wood waste to a neighboring pallet builder that uses the materials to produce new pallets. In the future, wood waste will also be gasified at the future bioenergy facility and used to generate electricity, while steam heat will be harnessed and used by both companies to dry wood.
Through the bioenergy facility, the county will explore additional ways to capture and beneficially use heat, steam, and other byproducts. Proposed ecocomplex components include a greenhouse; recycled plastic pelletization and anaerobic digester facilities; and industrial businesses, such as a local brick production company. CDM Smith is conducting preliminary engineering for the digester facility, which will process wastewater, as well as animal and food waste, into biogas to create electricity.
Inspiring Lasting Solutions
The ecocomplex concept has garnered positive attention—public outreach has attracted local industries and municipalities who are interested in using green energy. Local elected officials are recognizing the benefits of this model and are excited by the prospect of a system that recovers and reuses as much as possible. In addition, due to the project’s sustainable nature, it is eligible for federal stimulus funding.
Edwards concludes, “What we are doing here is employing industrial ecology to protect natural resources and our environment, and in doing so, we are generating electricity and heat from renewable resources. And, we are able to control solid waste management costs, providing waste collection services at an economical rate. This is a good thing for the environment and community.”