From Boulder Weekly – June 15, 2017:
By Christi Turner
Billions of microbes, and a $100 million waste-to-energy project, quietly dying
Bob Yost stands beside windrows of finished compost, one of the by-products of the Heartland anaerobic digester facility. The large domed digestion tanks stand in the background.
Neat rows of tanks, each with a capacity of 1.7 million gallons, tower above the plains. Three lagoons border the site to the west and north. Pipes of various sizes interconnect the tanks, along with the intake facility, unseen underground pipes, a tapered smaller tank, compressors and other mechanisms, creating a single organism. An unassuming rectangular building, small beside the tanks, houses the control room that oversees the entire site. To the far northern end is one last pipe, which connects to an interstate gas pipeline.
We’re in LaSalle, 60 miles northeast of Boulder in Weld County, the heart of the state’s oil and gas production. But this isn’t another oil and gas site: it’s an anaerobic digester. With its six “bioreactor” tanks, the facility is capable of turning vast amounts of agricultural and food waste into biomethane, a win for both waste diversion and renewable energy. It’s the only facility of its kind in Colorado, and the largest in North America.