Coming to Wise County - $200M trash-to-ethanol plant?
Very interesting news.
WISE — The head of a Bristol-based company trying to build plants that turn trash into ethanol recently told Wise County supervisors he wants to build one here.
If supervisors agree to let them build the plant, which would be privately run and cost up to $200 million, it could be the first of its kind in the country, company representatives said.
“We are using a common feed stock to make a product being used by everyone in this room if you buy gas for your car,” said Ted Cox of Reclaimed Resources Inc. Common household trash contains material that could be converted to ethanol, which is added to most gasoline, without producing any pollution, he told county officials.
The federal government has mandated an increase in the production of ethanol to combat the country’s dependence on foreign oil, and will place a subsidy on ethanol produced using something other than corn, Cox noted.
The plant he’s pitching would require 45 acres of property, with access to utilities and rail service, and would take 18 to 24 months to build, according to Cox.
To keep running, the completed plant would need about 500 tons of fresh trash per day. Wise County produces only about 100 tons, but Cox says he’s found that, on any given day, about 1,500 tons of trash from neighboring localities and businesses already pass through Wise County on their way to other landfills.
“My friend, that is no longer garbage. It’s a commodity you can be proud to have in your community, to use as tax revenue and to create jobs for your citizens,” Cox told supervisors.
Cox noted that county ordinances that prohibit trash from outside the county from being imported are outdated and were written during an era when huge cities wanted to use places like Wise County to landfill their trash. This plant wouldn’t use waste from big cities because it wouldn’t be fresh enough by the time it was shipped here, Cox said.
Cox claims the plant would create about 100 permanent jobs when it’s finished, and could employ up to 350 construction workers while it’s being built. (LINK)
Sounds good to me. They make us use ethanol so turning trash to fuel makes sense. I am sure the smelly anti coal hippies will throw a fit and chain themselves to something in protest. A little on this process works:
HOW IT WORKS
According to Cox, the plant would use technology patented by a company called Genesyst International Inc.
Anything that contains cellulose, from paper to cardboard to food waste, can be turned into ethanol, Cox says. And that doesn’t just include trash — animal waste, sewage sludge, wood and yard trimmings also would work.
In the plant, trash would be run through a series of washing systems that would separate out plastics, metals, glass and other materials that can’t be turned into ethanol while the material that can be used is ground up and broken down into a pulp that’s pushed into a pipe.
The pipe would go very deep into the earth — about 2,000 feet or so — and would harness the powers of gravity, pressure and friction to generate high temperatures, which break down the trash pulp into sugars and nutrients, which can then be fermented into ethanol.
Any impurities that make it into the pipe are turned into inert, harmless material that can be used as daily cover at the landfill, Cox claimed.
Metals, glass and plastics collected during the washing process would be recycled, he noted. Construction and demolition waste would still have to be landfilled.
J.H. Rivers of District Three pointed out that if built, the plant would eliminate the need for a $1 million recycling center the county has considered building.
WORK STILL TO DO
County Administrator Shannon Scott told supervisors that Wise County Industrial Development Authority Projects Coordinator Carl Snodgrass is working with Cox to pitch the proposal to state officials.
Cox noted that Snodgrass has already shown him a prospective site for the plant somewhere in Wise County.
In addition, Cox claims his plant would help Wise County extend public sewer service quickly and cheaply. Instead of installing lines to carry sewage to treatment plants, the county could install closed systems that emptied into holding tanks. From there, the waste could be brought to the ethanol plant for treatment.
If the county agrees to let Cox develop a plant here, Reclaimed Resources would first set up a lab on the site to test the local waste stream. The makeup of what would power the plant will factor into how it’s designed and how the chemical processes within it will work, he explained. Testing and training of employees would take about a year.
The plant can also generate clean water, according to Cox.
Scott said county officials will accompany Cox to Richmond this week to pitch the plan to state officials. County Finance Officer David Cox will be in charge of overseeing the project locally.
My fingers are crossed! Good green jobs that actually make sense. Hell every county needs one!