Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Plasma Gasification, Promise?

Lou Circeo at the Georgia Tech Research Institute says that the promise of plasma gasification will soon be realized. Circeo says that it is already profitable to turn municipal garbage into energy via plasma gasification. Now the challenge is to achieve profitability using agricultural and forestry waste, and dedicated biomass crops such as miscanthus and poplar.
As with any new technology, navigating through complicated permitting hurdles is a part of the process when developing a new project of this nature. Other factors, such as assessing the type of MSW produced in a specific location, are equally important, according to Surma.

“One of the things we’ve chosen to do is to keep our technology at a scale that meets the needs of local communities,” he says. “The nice thing about keeping it on a smaller scale, say 250 to 500 tons per day, is that you’re dealing with just locally generated material. What has historically been the real issue in getting any of these large waste processing facilities permitted wherever you choose to build it, is that you’re bringing in waste from 20 miles away to fill up that plant and the host community doesn’t particularly like having everyone else’s waste dumped on them.”

In addition to InEnTec, there are two other projects being developed in the United States. The first plasma-based waste disposal system in the country is scheduled to be operational in St. Lucie County, Fla. Developed by Geoplasma Inc., the plant is expected tovaporize 200 to 400 tons of waste per day and is scheduled to come on line in 2009.

The city of Tallahassee, Fla., has signed the largest plasma arc waste-to-energy contract to date with Jacksonville, Fla.-based Green Power Systems LLC to process 1,000 tons of MSW per day using plasma torches designed by Westinghouse Plasma. The Harris Group Inc. is serving as the architect and engineer for the project.

According to Richard Basford, vice president of project development for GPS, completion of the project is scheduled for October 2010. GPS will also deliver 35 net megawatts of electricity to the city of Tallahassee’s electricity provider as part of a 30-year power purchase agreement. _Bioenergy
Financing for large waste-to-energy plants will be more difficult to obtain temporarily, until financial institutions and venture capitalists recover from the current credit crunch. One of society's highest priorities is dealing with waste, however, so any process for doing that which not only saves money but also generates energy, should be promoted by most honest political and economic interests.

The big question mark for the future of energy and economics in the US, is how corrupt Obama's political regime will be. If Obama's past is prelude for his future, it can be extremely corrupt. The US has a long way to fall to become another Zimbabwe, but then Rhodesia fell a long way to become Zimbabwe. Come to think of it a lot of countries that adopted socialist policies have fallen greater distances than that. So cross your fingers.

Alice Finkel

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts