NOWON is a global technology company that designs, manufactures, and brings to the North American market a patented thermal hydrolysis pre-treatment system for organic waste that maximizes resource recovery and energy generation. NOWON was founded in 2016 with the goal of supplying a technology that transforms the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (MSW) into a versatile biomass which serves as the ideal feedstock for anaerobic digestion processes. NOWON has a lab and offices in California where they test, produce, and supply the technology. Bryan Johnson, VP of Technical Sales, shares that “NOWON started in California because of its progressive stance on landfill diversion and renewable natural gas. We are focused on bringing our technology to the North American market and have been working on aligning with regional certifications and building strong alliances.”
Carlos Ramos, NOWON’s President of Operations, sees their role as “developing technology that bridges the gap between waste and clean energy generation.” The patented equipment BIOMAK® is a multi-functional pre-treatment system that facilitates diversion of organic material from landfill and increases biogas production from the diverted material. The BIOMAK® employs a semi-continuous autoclave system that applies temperature and pressure to homogenize and sanitize urban organic waste. The semi-continuous process delivers energy savings and increased processing capacity. Since BIOMAK® is modular, expanding the processing capacity is easy. One BIOMAK® module can treat 8 metric tons of waste per hour with a proven 90% uptime. Unlike other pre-treatment systems, the BIOMAK® can recover 95% of organics from waste streams compared to 60% from mechanical depackaging systems.
Producing biogas from MSW has always been a challenge, as it is a heterogeneous flow full of inert materials. This made the process unstable and hampered the performance of the digesters. In addition to improving biogas production, using BIOMAK® provides stability to the digesters, reducing the maintenance cost of a plant.
BIOMAK® can process organics into a pathogen-free, homogenous, and stabilized biomass that can be used for multiple beneficial uses such as fertilizers, soil amendment, and green chemistry. However, the most valuable application for the biomass is anaerobic digestion to produce clean energy. Pre-treating the organic fraction of MSW with BIOMAK® increases throughput by 30%, the biomethane potential up to 50% and will enrich the content of methane in the biogas to 65-70%. In total, BIOMAK® can at least double the average performance of a biogas plant.
NOWON has one full-scale industrial size facility in Spain, in the outskirts of Madrid. For over two and a half years, the plant has been operating on the latest version of BIOMAK®, processing up to 150 tons of waste per day from the Spanish capital. By incorporating the latest improvements in engineering and efficiency, the equipment boasts an operating uptime of 90%. Additionally, the company has several locations with operating BIOMAK® technology at lab-scale size. Among them, the one in California allows clients to test different waste streams and adjust the process to their unique needs.
Speaking to the outlook of the waste to resource industry, Carlos Ramos shares that “We will see strong collaboration between the waste sector and renewable energy sector. NOWON plays a key role in connecting these two industries and can bring the process of waste conversion to energy to the next level to realize the benefits of the circular economy.”
NOWON joined the Canadian Biogas Association (CBA) in February 2021. Bryan Johnson explains they became members because “The CBA is a central location where all the experts in Canada are members, along with many US companies. We see the importance of being a member of an association where we can learn and contribute ideas and strengthen our relationships within the industry.”