17 Aug

Create energy by burning olive pits

by Jennifer Wadsworth,

A local olive cannery with help from a private inventor has found a way to simultaneously create energy and recycle salty sewer water — by burning olive pits.

Heat from burned pits boils blackened sewage into steam that spins a 104-year-old engine outside Musco Family Olive Co., a plant on the southern edge of Tracy near Interstate 580 and the old Patterson Pass Road.

Owners hope the prototype chugging away outside their 310,000-square-foot plant will one day help take them off the grid by using olive pits and sunlight to supply electricity to the multimillion-dollar factory.

The hope, too, is that it’ll give a fresh start to a company that has for the past several years struggled to meet water quality standards because it let too much oil and salt seep into its clay-rich soil.

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