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The green revolution is following the ‘green’


California State University, Sacramento boasts online and on campus about their sustainability program and their use of biogas in school’s busses created from its own food scraps.

Sac State has yet to realize that it’s sustainability program and CleanWorld partnership is a subsidy company owned by Synergex, according to its website, “a global company,” and not a local business.

Jeff Martin, the chief plant operator of the former CleanWorld biodigester said, “The company is trying to distance itself from CleanWorld, which has bad reputation.”

Sac State is using CleanWorld for its sustainability program, but as its own CleanWorld web page states, it is not a local business. This contradicts what sustainability manager at Sac State Joey Martinez said, “Sac State as state agency has to supports local businesses.”

Martinez said that the South Area Transfer Station (SATS) biodigester, which receives food scraps from Sac State belongs to CleanWorld. The company in turn sells biogas to Sac State, he said.

Martin, said CleanWorld and Incline Clean Energy were part of the same investor group. Martin’s business card states he is employed by ES Engineering Services, a subsidiary of Montrose Environmental Group.

The biodigester no longer belongs to CleanWorld, Martin said. Neither does the facility processes any food scraps or food waste from Sac State, or at all.

“Because of the odors, CleanWorld was in constance violation with the quality control permits, with food sitting on the side decomposing, so all the people around complained and it lost its permits to process solid waste,” Martin said.

Basically now they only process liquid food, like dairy, and Pepsi products, and fats, oils and grease (FOGs) from local restaurants, he said.

CleanWorld Capital Partners LLC was registered at the California Secretary of State on March 03, 2013, but its status now shows the SOS suspended , which according to California Business Portal means; failure to file the required Statement of Information. Another Limited Liability Company (LLC) with Clean World was filed on Jan 16, 2009.

State records show that in 2012 Michele C. Wong registered CleanWorld as an LLC and, which is suspended as well. Wong did not return calls for interview. It is interesting to know from her own words, why a multi million dollars corporation has that stain in state records where both the LLC and the Corporation are suspended.

According to loan documents obtained from CalRecycle, Michele Wong engaged in business with Clean World Partner, LLC, to provide employment and to divert food waste from local landfills, and none of the requirements are meet at the moment according to Martin.

In a phone interview Wong said that the biodigester was sold in March and is no longer owned by Clean World. Incline Clean Energy is the entity that owns the biodigester Sac State claims to send its waste to located at 8550 Fruitridge Rd. Many questions arise from Martin’s interview that need to be addressed by Wong. At the time of this report, Wong did not respond for interview.

Sac State University Transportation, Parking & Support Services Rosie Tamayo, provided UTAPS’s expenses reflecting three years of invoices paid for compressed natural gas to fuel Sac State ‘Hornet fleet’  https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Nwvtx/1/

Sac State coordinator of parking & shuttle operations Freddy Orozco  said the price of compressed natural gas has not changed for few years.

UTAPS uses Atlas pumps and pays $2.99 ppg, but a simple google search in 95819 Zip Code found that prices as low as $1.61 are found in the area, when asked why UTAPS uses a provider that is more expensive, Orozco said, “Convenience perhaps? Distance to the pumps?”
Signs of acidic rust are visible on the sides of the hydrolysis tanks, “Overcapacity of the tanks causes spillage of the organic material, “ Martin said.

Photo taken during a tour at the South Area Transfer Station, (SATS) Sacramento, Calif. Dec. 01, 2017, (photo by Marivel Guzman)

“The biogister was neglected, and forced to overproduce,” Martin said

One of the tanks capacity is 300,000 tons, it is now used only for (FOG) collected from restaurants and local business like Pepsi and HP Hood Dairy, Martin said. Due that to odor produced by food waste, the neighbors complained to the county, now the SATS is not allowed to process food waste any more. The Sacramento County revoked CleanWorld’s air quality control permit, because it was in constant violation.

“These two tanks will be decommissioned, they are part of phase I of CleanWorld biodigester,” Jeff Martin, site operation manager said. Photo taken during a tour at the South Area Transfer Station, (SATS) Sacramento, Calif. Dec. 01, 2017, (photo by Marivel Guzman)

“Most of the Clean World’s equipment is not used and will be discarded, decommissioned or sold.” Martin said.

“We have the capacity to produce our own electricity, but it is more profitable to convert it to gas and sell it and buy the electricity needed to run the facility, which we get cheaper from SMUD ,” Martin said.

An electricity generator sits inside the facility next to a gas compressor.

Photo taken during a tour at the South Area Transfer Station, (SATS)

Sacramento, Calif. Dic. 01, 2017, photo by Marivel Guzman

There are some green gases that are emitted from the process to produce compressed natural gas. Martin said that an independent laboratory performs the analysis to ensure the integrity of the sample and CRS laboratory reports to the state, then there is another consulting firm who takes the sampling and takes to this lap and send to the state. He does not know the name of the consulting firm, because he has been “here” only three months. This contradict what he said earlier that “we clean the tanks once a year,”
He said he came from Las Vegas where they have 16 biodigesters “big ones,” he said. Sacramento county has one biodigester also. When asked why then the big publicity for CleanWorld, he said, “I do not know, maybe because they were the frontrunners at serving trucks.”

(Insert link to the PDF of Loan documents)

The facility has 4 employers including himself, Martin said. The loan papers obtained from CalRecycle state, Clean World states “the applicant is projected to divert an additional 27,375 tons of food waste annually from California Landfills and create twelve jobs.”

According to Business Wire, CalRecycle is a financial partner for CleanWorld.

Loan documents obtained from CalRecycle, Clean World partners took $3 million from CalRecycle and a $6 million grant from California Energy Commission to set up the Biodigester in the SATS facility and the biodigester in UC Davis university.

The last $1 million  loan obtained from CalRecycle was taken under a different Limited liability Corporation, CleanWorld SATS Biodigester, LLC. (insert link to Secretary of State)

Public Information Officer of CalRecycle, Christina Files, said it is a common practice for public agencies to provide grants and loans to local companies.

Ruihong Zhang, Professor at UC Davis, inventor of the anaerobic technology used in the biodigester by Clean World, said all inventions belong to the institution, “I get 35 percent of the royalties after all expenses are paid.”

University of California, Davis communication manager Andy Fell confirmed professor Zhang’s technology was licensed to Clean World.

UC Davis Senior Licensing Officer Nancy E. Rashid said in a phone interview, “I cannot comment on each licensing negotiation that might be conducted,” because there are confidentiality obligations with licensing agreements.

According to Zhang, all her inventions are patented by UC Davis, and the university licenses those technologies to the private sector. “My research pays off when a private company develops my inventions.”

Rashid said the innovation activities of universities need more partnerships with companies to allow more licensing and commercialization of technology developed at the university, “To be translated to actual products which benefit the public; a win-win.”

Zhang said there are many techniques to create methane from organic waste but, “Mine is better because it takes days to create and not years as landfills produce methane.”

From a previous phone interview, Files said she doesn’t recall any funds from CalRecycle given to CleanWorld, but it is not an uncommon practice to start business with public funds then accept foreign funds to further the development of projects.

According to the Business Wire web page, CleanWorld financial project partners include; Synergex, Five Star Bank, Central Valley Community Bank, California Energy Commission, CalRecycle and California Office of State Treasurer. Business wire also states that key project partners include Otto Construction and Atlas Disposal.

Coincidentally Shawn Garvey, who according to Business Wire webpage is CleanWorld’s Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs is also the the the owner of Energy University, a private university, which first course ever is on skills to write grants, “A first course in Foundations of Federal and State GrantWriting for Renewable Energy Professionals will be offered by June, 2010,” the company says.

Atlas Disposal  was disclosed by Orozco, as one of the compressed natural gas providers for its ‘green hornets fleet.’ Business wire states UC Davis is a project partner and Sacramento Utility District but does not mention Sacramento State.

CleanWorld says it its website that it partner, Atlas Disposal have received a significant amount of public funding for their projects, and CleanWorld received a $6 million grant from the California Energy Commission, $2 million in loans from CalRecycle Market Development Zone (RMDZ) program and exemptions on state sales tax, also that Atlas Disposal received a $300,000 California Energy Commission grant to support construction of the fueling station, which according to Orozco are used to fill the Hornet shuttles.

According to California Energy Commission report, The American Recovery Reinvestment Act of 2009  has 3 years to distribute $49.6 million dollar and $2.7 billion in direct grants and 456 billion in competitive grants received from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block

Grant (EECBG) Program.

The SATS biodigester is directly hooked up with the Atlas ReFuel station on Fruitridge road, just  feet away. Their prices compared to other compressed natural gases stations in the area is second to the highest.

UTAPS uses Atlas pumps and pays $ 2.99 ppg, but a simple google search in 95819 Zip Code found that prices as low as $ 1.61 are found in the area, to when asked why UTAPS uses a provider that is more expensive he said, “Convenience perhaps? Distance to the pumps?”

At Sac State, President Robert Nelsen is actively pushing for “Farm to Fork fundraising,” coincidentally CleanWorld has also a project called Farm to Fork to Fuel, which calls for a deeper analysis: how public funds are used and what are the goals of Sacramento State as a university when is subtly is campaigning for a global organization such as Synergex.

According to Files, by April 1, 2016, businesses that generate 8 cubic yards of organic waste per week shall arrange for organic waste recycling services, as part of AB 1826. By August 1, 2017 an ongoing jurisdiction shall provide information about their organic waste recycling program implementation in the annual report submitted to CalRecycle.

As a state agency, Sac State was aware of this law, Martinez said and the campus started implementing the programs early.

According to data provided by Martinez, Sac State generated 27.88 tons per week on 2016, above the goal. The graph shows a spike of 539.74 Sac State 2015 report, according to Martinez the graphic shows a spike up because Republican Services the hauling company’s scales were broken. (The information could not be confirmed, Republican Services did not respond for interview.)

University of Florida, Biogas a renewable biofuel webpage says that biogas can be produced  from a broad range of feedstocks that are suitable for anaerobic digestion, “Biodiesel production requires feedstocks with high oil content (e.g. waste vegetable oils or virgin vegetable oil from oil seed crops.)”

According to Martin the STATS biodigester only processes fats, oils, grease and organic liquid. The current biodigester permit only allows the SATS to process 100 tons of biomass and doesn’t hold a permit to process solid food waste.

CleanWorld said in its webpage that UC Davis waste food from the dining commons was only 30 percent of the organic material needed for the biodigester to operate.

Fell said that UC Davis has around 30,000 students about the same at Sac State student population, this brings doubts on the report provided by Martinez, where in 2016 the total tons of organic material hauled away went up by few tons. There is not enough food waste to feed the CleanWorld biodigester.

Martin said, that Raley’s was a big contactor for CleanWorld, with tons of lettuce, watermelons, and other tons of vegetables and fruits feeding the biodigester and according to Martinez and CleanWorld’s page, Sac State food waste feeds the biodigester in contradiction with what Martin said.

The State Hornet published two articles regarding meal plans on campus; The no-rollout policy for on-campus meal plans robs students and  Campus meal plans leave students with money to burn, “We students are paying for food we are not getting,” The State Hornet said.

Is Sac State getting kickbacks from CleanWorld to raise the amount of food waste they throw away?

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