City of Akron History
The City of Akron is located in the industrial Midwest approximately 35 miles south of Cleveland, Ohio. The city covers a total area of 54 square miles and was founded in 1825 by Simon Perkins and Paul Williams. The city was established at the peak development of Ohio during the development of the Ohio and Erie Canal system.
Akron is Ohio’s 5 largest city and is home to 1,200 acres of park and recreational areas within the city limits including the nationally renowned Cuyahoga National Park. Akron is home to performing arts centers, theaters, cultural institutions, and the Akron Zoo, among other things, making Akron an exciting and culturally diverse city to live and work.
To support the city and the citizens of Akron, the city employs a skilled and talented Public Service Department. Since 1928, the city’s wastewater treatment plant has been in operation, servicing the city and the surrounding communities. The wastewater plant, along with the residuals management component, has come a long way since the late 1920s. Sludge management at the facility has gone through many stages, including disposal and composting, but under the partnership and expertise of KB BioEnergy, it has now found sustainability through anaerobic digestion, energy extraction, and product commoditization.
Kurtz Bros., Inc. General History
Kurtz Bros., Inc. is a family-owned waste-to-resource company headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. Established in 1948, Kurtz Bros., Inc. has grown from a business that distributed manufactured soil into a multifaceted industry leader in the areas of waste management, construction and demolition debris recycling, bulk material management, landscape supply distribution, industrial by-product beneficial reuse, and storm water and sediment management solutions. Over the past several decades, Kurtz Bros., Inc. has become a pioneer in caring for our environment and natural resources and is committed to the revitalization of our communities. Our mission is to continue to support sustainable initiatives like the innovative waste-to-resource program that we have successfully developed and partnered with the city of Akron.
Kurtz Bros., Inc. Timeline
Mel & Dolores Kurtz form Melvin Kurtz Trucking and begin producing and hauling topsoil.
Mel Kurtz Sr. forms Kurtz Bros. with his 4 sons.
The business continues to grow and diversify.
Lisa opens the material and supply store location.
The Sports Turf Group starts in order to service Firestone Country Club in Akron.
KB purchases a Sand & Gravel company in Cleveland and moves to the new location.
Kurtz Bros. is awarded the marketing contract for the compost generated by the Akron Compost Facility
Kurtz Bros. is awarded the operating contract for the entire facility.
Kurtz Bros. is awarded the contract for the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) to operate the largest yard waste composting facility in the State of Ohio.
Kurtz Bros. enters into a joint venture to operate and construct a demolition landfill.
Kurtz Bros. purchases a competitor, bringing two new stores to NE Ohio.
Kurtz Bros. is awarded the US Compost Council Composter of the Year Award
In 2007, with the collaborationof KB BioEnergy, the City of Akron brought a 5,000-dry ton/year anaerobic digestion system (ADS) online to evaluate the potential of the technology.
With the success of the Phase 1 project the city of akron and KBbioenergy double down on waste-to-energy and determine that all of the city’s biosolids will be treated through anaerobic digestion.
Paddle Dryer Incorporated
High performance Paddle Dryer is installed to treat the digested material to Exception Quality standards treating the material at over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit
Key Partnership Milestones
In 1986, Kurtz Bros., Inc. was awarded a marketing contract with the City of Akron to manage compost material generated at the Akron compost facility. With their experience in bulk product distribution and extensive knowledge of the horticultural industry, Kurtz began branding and marketing the city’s biosolids compost as a product called TechnaGro. The market acceptance and popularity of this product catapulted Kurtz into the operations role of the compost facility just four years later. Today, people still ask for TechnaGro compost. While the material is no longer produced, the impact of our marketing and branding initiatives live on through our current Nutriblend product lines.
Since 1986, the management of the City of Akron biosolids was accomplished through in-vessel composting. Annually, 70 million gallons were dewatered and converted to a soil conditioner known by the residents as Soil Magic or TechnaGro. Each year, 90,000 cubic yards of the products were generated, marketed, and sold by Kurtz Bros., Inc. as an Exceptional Quality Biosolid compost. The Akron Renewable Energy Facility was owned by the City of Akron, but operations are managed by KB Compost Services, Inc. Our experience and careful management allow us to operate the facility within the confines of all federal and state regulatory requirements.
Waste to Energy – Phase I
In 2007, with the collaboration of KB BioEnergy, the City of Akron brought a 5,000-dry ton/year anaerobic digestion system (ADS) online to evaluate the potential of the technology. With great success, the system managed to produce one-third of the city’s biosolids and generated 2,900,000 kWh of renewable electricity annually.
The change from composting to anaerobic digestion was entirely worth it in regards to the environmental and economic benefits. Moving away from composting has reduced the annual energy usage by 2,000 MW and waste-to-energy has reduced total power costs by $450,000 to $500,000 annually. In addition, the city’s Water Reclamation Facility has seen annual electrical savings between $175,000 and $240,000, as well as almost $48,000 in accumulated Renewable Energy Credits.
Waste to Energy – Phase II
In 2013, the City of Akron and KB BioEnergy initiated Phase II. This project involved a $30 million ADS expansion that directed all of the city’s biosolids to anaerobic digestion. Phase II incorporated the Schmack Biogas technology used in Phase I but on a larger scale.
Biogas generated by Phase II is used to fuel three 600kW combined heat and power units. Together, Phase I and Phase II systems now generate over 14,000 MWh of electricity annually. This is enough to offset 100% of the Akron Solids Management Facility’s electricity demand. In addition, the installation of the Phase II AD system significantly reduced GHG emissions from the plant, which advances a cleaner environment. In addition, the facility no longer deals with noise or odor complaints and offers the city with a sustainable option for residuals management in perpetuity.
At KB BioEnergy, we always have an eye on the future with the knowledge and foresight that State and Federal biosolids management regulations and technologies can quickly change. This is why we are constantly investing in research and development and investments in the latest technology advancements.
Today, KB BioEnergy takes the treatment of biosolids to yet another level with thermal treatment. After the energy value from the biosolids has been extracted, the remaining solids are dewatered and sent to an inline thermal processing unit. This unit thermally treats the material to produce Exceptional Quality biosolids rarely seen in the industry today. This new process allows KB BioEnergy to penetrate different market opportunities for the dried material due to the highly unique texture and physical properties of the material. Our fine pellet-like material is packed with nutrients and can be marketed in new markets that typical biosolid treatment cannot offer.
Overall, KB BioEnergy has had a successful partnership with the City of Akron for decades and we expect this fruitful relationship to continue well into the future. Through the City of Akron’s commitment to protecting the environment and utilizing innovative cost-effective technologies for the treatment of wastewater residuals, they serve as a leader in responsible biosolids management. Together, our like-minded goals of environmental stewardship and maximizing value from residuals have the future of the Akron’s wastewater management system looking very promising.