Sanford, Fla., Fires Up Sludge Gasification Facility

A MaxWest gasification system, first approved by the city of Sanford, Fla., in 2008, begins operating on May 21 at Sanford’s South Water Resource Center.

The occasion also marks the official dedication by the city of its new Water Resource Center.

The MaxWest system will gasify Sanford’s treated wastewater sludge to provide renewable “green” thermal energy to replace energy from natural gas for the city’s sludge dryer. The energy in sludge is converted to heat safely and economically, according to the company's press release.

Because it is scalable, the gasification facility has sufficient capacity to meet Sanford’s expected growth over coming decades and also to serve as a disposal site for other nearby cities and private waste haulers.

This technology will provide Sanford with a long-term, green solution for sludge disposal while saving millions of dollars in natural gas fuel costs. Sanford’s 20-year contract with MaxWest also provides long-term energy price stability. And, as the system grows, the opportunity to produce renewable green electricity is available.

The city of Sanford has grown considerably over the last 25 years as the Central Florida region has expanded.

Paul Moore, Sanford’s utility director, says, “We’re pleased to be leading the country in using waste-to-energy technology by being the first to utilize the MaxWest gasification system to convert our biosolids into green energy.” The MaxWest system is not only cost-effective, but it is carbon neutral and reduces emissions of greenhouse gases compared to other disposal methods.

“For MaxWest and for the wastewater treatment industry, this a major milestone.” said Bill Baker, vice president for Marketing, Maxwest, “The Sanford gasifier will serve as the MaxWest operational education center for interested municipalities across the country. We’re ready to show it off!”

The gasification systems are also used in commercial operation for animal and industrial waste. The company has several projects in design or under development in Florida and other states, including plans to gasify horse “muck” in Ocala/Marion County, Fla., the “horse capital of the world.”