STAR Energy pledges to get 85 percent of organic waste from west Louisville for 17th and Maple biodigester
Suggested alternative to ship waste out would require 15,000 tanker trucks annually on neighborhood streets
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LOUISVILLE (Sept. 24, 2015) – STAR Energy today pledged to get 85 percent of the organic waste needed for its planned energy-creating biodigester near Heaven Hill Brands’ Bernheim Distillery from sources in west Louisville.
The company, which will get more than 70 percent of the organic waste for the 17th and Maple biodigester from next door at the Heaven Hill distillery, agreed to seek at least half of the remaining food waste, fats and oils and other organic material from existing west Louisville sources.
“We hear your concerns about bringing organic waste into your neighborhoods,” said Steven Estes, president and CEO of STAR Energy Holdings, a Fort Wayne, Ind.-based company that creates green energy solutions. “STAR Energy is committing today to seek as much of the remaining organic waste as possible from west Louisville sources to ensure a diverse mix of bacteria to fuel the natural process that creates energy.”
Numerous food processing facilities, restaurants, groceries and other businesses in west Louisville are potential partners in providing organic waste that’s currently shipped out of those neighborhoods to landfills or dumped into the city’s sewer system, Estes said.
Alternative would add 15,000 tanker truckloads annually to neighborhood streets
Estes addressed suggestions from some people to ship the stillage from Heaven Hill distillery to another area of Louisville, which would require trucking it through the streets of the California neighborhood.
Based on production levels at Heaven Hill, this approach would require more than 15,000 tanker truck trips annually – more than 60 every working day – though the streets of surrounding neighborhoods, Estes said.
“The increase in neighborhood traffic, the greater impact on city streets and the added diesel fuel and fumes are not good for west Louisville,” Estes said. “Our planned facility will treat waste created in West Louisville in west Louisville to create clean energy for homes and businesses.”
Other energy investments planned for Louisville region
STAR Energy will invest an estimated $40 million in the planned biodigester near Heaven Hill distillery, using state-of-the-art technology from General Electric that’s working successfully and safely in more than 200 communities across America and around the world, Estes said. No fires or explosions have been associated with those facilities.
STAR Energy will pump millions of gallons of spent grain “stillage” created at the Heaven Hill distillery underground to sealed, airless tanks to produce methane, the same kind of safe, natural gas that’s used in homes today. The distillery waste is currently flushed into sewers and treated at the Morris Foreman Treatment Plant in west Louisville.
The biogas harvested at the 17th and Maple facility won’t be stored in large quantities or shipped out in tanker trucks, but instead will be pumped directly back into the underground LG&E gas pipelines that run throughout our community to provide energy to homes and businesses.
STAR Energy plans to invest tens of millions of dollars more in Louisville, building multiple biodigesters and solar energy projects in the region over the next several years, Estes said.
“We are focusing on areas where organic waste is created today, not just in west Louisville but in locations throughout Louisville,” Estes said. “We are looking at locations already zoned for industrial use and to partner with nearby businesses that generate large volumes of organic waste.”
Green-energy technology is rapidly expanding across the United States with scores of similar biodigester facilities planned and underway in communities seeking to reduce food waste from landfills and sewers, according to the American Biogas Council.
“Louisville can be a leader in environmental responsibility and green-energy creation,” Estes said. “STAR Energy wants to be part of turning today’s waste into tomorrow’s energy.”