LINDEN — Like most cities pursuing redevelopment, Linden aims to bring more people, particularly millennials, to its downtown.
But the industrial city, whose Tremley Point is one of the most polluted parts of New Jersey, according to Rutgers University environmentalists, also aims to reduce its carbon footprint with two upcoming redevelopment projects.
Mayor Derek Armstead said the New Hampshire-based RNG Energy Solutions renewable natural gas company recently signed a 30-year lease to redevelop the former Clayton Block building materials site on Tremley Point. In addition, Austin-based, environmentally friendly developer FirstEnergy Power will build a plant for Nashville-based Aries Clean Energy, which turns sludge into charcoal, Armstead said. That plant will be built at the sewerage authority building the city shares with Roselle, the mayor said. Both projects are in the initial planning stages and are about a year from construction start, principals said.
“We have a number of developments going on in Linden right now,” Armstead said. “And we’re reducing the carbon footprint. It’s a good time to be mayor in Linden. We have a lot going on.”
Aries’ charcoal can be used for several different products, Armstead said. And RNG takes food waste and makes into natural gas, he added.
“They bring in food waste from other locations and treat it like a slurry,” he said. “They run it through the process, and it creates a natural gas product. On the back end, it produces a peat moss … and they sell that to Home Depot and people who need it for agricultural uses. It’s a composting mechanism, a high-speed compost.
“We pay to have our sludge removed,” the mayor added, “so we can reduce the cost of that by using Aries.”
RNG has a good track record building plants in Long Island, Colorado and France, said Alex Lospinoso, director of the Linden Economic Development Corp. The company’s food waste will be delivered by barge on the Arthur Kill, rather than via truck, thereby reducing the city’s carbon footprint even more, Lospinoso said.
Interest in Tremley Point has been increasing from the renewable energy and logistics industries, he said. More than 4.2 million-square-foot warehouse soon will be built there by Advance Realty and Greek Development, he said.