Largest U.S. Onion Processor Unveils Biogas Plant

California’s largest onion processor will receive $2.7 million to build an anaerobic digester system to turn waste product into electricity and cattle feed.

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Cleantech.com reports the grant is being funded by Southern California Gas Company and will help Gills Onions of Oxnard, Calif., save approximately $700,000 a year in energy costs.

Gills is the largest processor of fresh onions in the U.S. and generates 300,000 pounds of onion waste each day.

The system mechanically extracts juices from onion waste, which then ferments in an anaerobic digester. The biogas that results powers two 300-kilowatt fuel cells. This is where the money savings comes from. According to Southern California Gas, the power is equivalent to the demand of 460 homes and represents up to 30,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year.

The $2.7 million award comes from the state’s Self-Generation Incentive Program, which says Gills’ system is one of the largest installed since the program began in 2001.

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