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Public Comment Sought on Maui Sludge Drying/Biogas Facility

The County of Maui has selected Maui All Natural Alternative or MANA as the operator of a proposed renewable energy and sludge drying project at the Wailuku – Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility.

MANA site rendering. PC: courtesy MANA/EISPN.

The biogas facility would utilize equipment to digest energy crops grown on former Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar company plantation lands, and sourced locally from Central Maui Feedstocks.

The product, renewable methane or biogas would be used to fuel a combined heat and power engine for electrical power generation.

The project is not designed to export electrical energy to the grid. Instead, the goal of the project is to provide locally sourced renewable energy to assist the County in providing a long term sustainable solution for bio-solids management.

Maui All Natural Alternative, LLC submitted an Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice to the County of Maui, Department of Environmental Management, seeking approval.

The county had published a request for proposal in early 2016 seeking a company to design, build, own, operate and maintain a renewable energy and dryer project through a power purchase agreement and sludge drying service contract.

The County selected MANA to provide the services of the RFP and has entered into a 20 year service contract for the Project.

According to the EISPN, the Kahului facility currently procures energy from the Maui Electric Company’s grid “at a significantly high price” despite unusually low cost of fossil fuels. Additionally, the energy used is largely nonrenewable.  The document also states that the facility has a high cost associated with the processing of municipally generated wastewater biosolids.  The biosolids are presently being mixed with green waste to produce compost at the Central Maui Landfill.

According to the document, the entire facility with all associated equipment will be located on the west side of the existing aerobic blower building and well within the confines of the Wailuku – Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility.

A 30-day public review and comment period ends on July 24, 2017.