Gills Onions LLC is being recognized for participating in an energy conservation project.

Gills Onions lauded for onion energy project

The Clean Energy States Alliance awarded the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research Program its State Leadership in Clean Energy (SLICE) award for providing waste-to-energy funding for the Oxnard, Calif.-based Gills.

SLICE honors projects and programs that demonstrate leadership, effectiveness and innovation in clean energy, according to a news release.

A panel of expert judges involved with SLICE honored Gills for its Advanced Energy Recovery System, a waste-to-energy system Gills uses.

“[The] Advanced Energy Recovery System takes advantage of a resource going to waste — in this case, from onion processing — and turns it into a valuable energy source, while eliminating the problem of trucking and disposing of the waste. The specific scope of project and investment may not be exactly replicable by other states, but the idea is recycling waste materials and looking at the total supply chain of manufacturing a product to maximize lifecycle efficiency. It’s a one-time investment that has an ongoing payback,” the Clean Energy States Alliance said in a news release.

The energy commission’s $500,000 funding support provided to Gills helped build the nation’s first waste-to-energy system that produces clean fuel cell energy from biomass (onion waste).

The biomass feeds two 300-kilowatt fuel cells and produces 0.6 MW of electricity — enough to satisfy 75% of Gills’ baseload power requirements.