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Warren Firm Gets Patent For Waste-to-Energy System

A Michigan environmental technology company has received a United States patent for a revolutionary system that will lower energy costs  for municipal-based waste water treatment facilities and food processing plants that produce organic waste by converting waste products to energy and other useful by-products.

Hesco Sustainable Energy received the patent for the IBES (Integrated Biomass to Energy System) in May and is now ready to introduce its product to the marketplace.

Hesco is a Warren-based environmental technology company, specializing in municipal water and wastewater treatment technology, and the industrial instrumentation and process optimization fields.

Disposal of wastewater biosolids has been primarily accomplished in three ways: incineration, landfill or land application as fertilizer. Typically, due to economic reasons, most plants only convert waste into Class B biosolids which are applied as fertilizer. Due to heavy regulations, the type of land available for application is scarce and is not available for use for years after the application.

IBES, incorporating an innovative Two-Phase Anaerobic Digestion process greatly reduces the volume of biosolids and in the process creates methane and a high quality Class A byproduct.  These biosoilds are subject to much less stringent disposal regulations and are readily available for use as fertilizer on agricultural crops.  The methane is collected to create green energy in the form of heat and electricity which can replace as much as 70 percent of the entire energy consumption of a typical municipal wastewater treatment plant.

Hesco has been operating one IBES system in Delhi Township, and will begin production on a new IBES system this fall in Grandville with operations to begin in 18 months.

The idea for the IBES system was born when Kevin Livingston and Glenn Hummel, industry trade representatives, realized that the current methods of converting biosolids to fuel were not cost efficient for the industry. Armed with a $25,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, in 2006 the duo studied and analyzed waste water treatment facilities and tested their new technology.

"We knew it worked, we just had to develop a system that was more efficient to justify the cost," Hummel siad. "Our IBES system does that. Prior systems could only produce Class B solids, which have limited usage options, but IBES can produce Class A solids, which provide a great degree of disposal flexibly to a wastewater treatment plant manager. This system also creates a surplus of energy which helps offset operating costs (the energy can be used elsewhere) and is sustainable. The gas is renewable. This is Green. Everyone wins." .

Assisting Hesco the process was Prafulla Pande, a Technology Business Consultant for the Michigan Small Business and Technology Center.

"Prafulla has been a fantastic help," said Livingston. "We are a couple of engineers with a great idea and he is helping us develop our business plan and organize our infrastructure to be in a position to grow."

Hesco has been in operation since 2006 and is located at 28838 Van Dyke in Warren. Call (586) 978-7200 or email at

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