Newspaper Archive of
The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
January 19, 2012     The Adams County Record
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January 19, 2012

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Page 10 Waste-To-Energy Continued from front page First, although the Payette National Forest and Evergreen Forest Products (Tamarack sawmill) have cooperated, and estimated what they could contribute in waste wood from logging operations, thinning, etc., the amount wasn't high enough to keep the plant running. Second, Idaho Power has refused to pay a high enough rate, for the electricity that would be produced for the plant, to break even financially. Burn Baby Burn Woody biomass is not the only fuel that can be burned to generate power. Dynamis Energy- -headquartered in Eagle, Idaho--built a plant at Barrow, Alaska that has been burning 30 tons of trash per day since 1996. That plant only burns the trash; it doesn't generate power. But that is now possible and practical. Representatives from Adams, Valley and Washington Counties, and from the towns of Weiser, New Meadows, Cascade, McCall, Riggins and Cambridge were present to hear Brown and Johnston recap their efforts, and to introduce Pete Johnson from Dynamis Energy who explained what they do. (Don't get confused here; there were two Petes at the conference: Pete Johnston of Council, and Pete Johnson of Dynamis--one has a "t" in the last name; one cloesn't.) Back in June, the Ada County Commissioners signed an agreement with Dynamis to build and operate a state-of-the- m plant that converts Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) into electricity at the county's Hidden Hollow Landfill. Almost all of the necessary studies and approvals have been completed, and construction will start on the plant this year. They will burn household garbage, sewage sludge, plastics, electronic parts, tires, construction and demolition waste, medical waste--almost anything. Johnson explained the process pretty much as it is stated below at the company's web site, "The two-stage process uses batch waste gasification and thermal combustion and oxidation. The untreated solid waste is initially loaded, without the need to presort, into a primary chamber where it is thermally reacted under air controlled (starved) conditions and transformed into burnable gases and ash. Unlike typical thermal treatment methods, the gasification reactions occur at relatively low temperatures under controlled conditions. This minimizes the production of airborne 'fly ash' particulates, carryover of toxic metals, and NOx. The gasi- fication process ensures nearly 100% destruction (burn-out) of the waste and the by-product of ash is sterile with minimal residual carbon. Metals and glass in the waste stay with the ash in inert forms and can be recovered by conventional recycling methods. To complete the process, the gases from the primary gasification chamber enter the secondary combustion chamber where they are mixed with oxygen (taken from ambient air) and oxidized at high temperature to complete the process. The energy from hot gas effluent can then be recaptured for local heat, power or other energy form recovery." Johnson said anything from bunker fuel to natural gas to propane can be used to start the burning process. After just a few minutes, the oxygen starving starts and the gas that is produced then combusts to finish the process at a maximum temperature of 800 degrees. All toxic chemicals are gassed off and burned, and everything that is left gets recycled in one way or another. At the Barrow plant, no matter what it's burning, the amount of air pollution it puts out each year is equal to the annual output of a single diesel pickup. And sometimes the plant's output is cleaner than the ambient air over Barrow. Dynamis is about to build plants in Puerto Rico (burning 250 tons per day) and Italy (38 tons per day/ 5 megawatts). The one in Ada County will burn 408 tons per day and produce 20 megawatts of electricity. They have an agreement with Idaho Power that sets the price at higher than what the Adams County plant could get Wednesday, January 18, 2012 because Dynamis will only produce power at peak need times. If the agreement is approved by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, the project is anticipated to be operating by Feb. 14, 2014. ' Cascade Mayor, Dick Carter, had done some research and asked why the Dynamis plant can succeed when a number of other gasification plants have failed. Johnson explained that the main reasons are that Dynamis doesn't need to sort or grind the trash, and these plants have been in the eastern U.S. where costs are higher than in the less- populated West. Options Power generation is not the only thing a gasification plant can do. A plant near Chicago is being planned that will use the heat to warm water for growing shrimp. Hot water can also be used for heating buildings or greenhouses / hydroponics, or believe it or not, refrigeration / air conditioning. Such a plant would be able to burn both trash and biomass. Wood waste would need to be chipped in bigger pieces than for the Council school plant to provide better air flow between the pieces, but it can be mixed with other waste. There is a limit to how large the chunks can be, so some chipping would be necessary. Commissioner Brown stated: "It is our hope that we can still .build a woody biomass and garbage mix plant at the landfill site, and have garbage from surrounding communities hauled to our site, which is closer than the places many of the area communities are hauling garbage to now. This would either reduce, or eliminate, tipping fees, and run a l O-megawatt power plant, or maybe a different type of plant. We're also looking at value-added businesses that could come in and utilize the power andor water, andor hot water (greenhouses) and create more economic diversity in the region." The county has over 200 acres at the landfill on which to locate value-added facilities. Brown emphasized that this plant would create a ripple of positive economic impact outside the immediate vicinity of the plant as well. A Co-op Brown explained that the purpose of Thursday's conference was to see if area entities would be interested in forming a The Adams County Record Samsung Admire,- LG Saber,- L G Exchange FREE FREE "39" with $30 Mail-in Rebate, plan required co-op that would provide garbage for such a plant. Brown said, "My dream would be someday you come in and run across a scale and we cut a check and send it to your city or your county--to take something that's a liability and costing you money and actually make money on it." But he said even reducing the amount that communities pay to get rid of their waste would be worth it. Brown and Johnston said if the communities were interesting in this idea, one of the first steps would be to find out how much garbage each place produces. Washington County Commissioner, Dave Springer, said they are spending $128,000 per year to take garbage to the Clay Peak landfill at Payette, and he is very interested in this concept. The Ada County plant will need 36 full time employees to run it. The WBUP has estimated that'. the 10-megawatt Adams County plant wouldl create 70 jobs, just in the woods to supply fuel, I plus more to run the, plant. And they would be, well-paying jobs. Pete Johnston said: "We can watch Ada', County and Dynamis ', bring their plant on linel while we're gathering l this information. We ' can watch and make l sure it's successful. We' can watch DEQ monitor. this plant. And we can be on the launch pad when that plant is successful." He asked if those in attendance l were interested, and i the consensus was al definite yes. Bill Brown explained that forming I a co-op doesn't obligate I any of the communities, financially or otherwise. The idea is to be informed and prepared if and when this technology takes off. "We want our region ready to roll," he said. with S30 Mail-in Rebate, plan required. with $30 Mail-in Rebate, plan required. Samsung Showcase A Galaxy S phone '59" with $50 Mail-in Rebate, plan required. NO CONTRACT ANDROID tttet" wireless For store locations, visit or call 1-8OO-alltel-1 SUBJECT TO ALLTEL TERMS & CONDITIONS; see store or Qualifying 2-year plan required unless "no contract" plan selected. Verizon rate plan information was sourced online as of 1/9/12. Data plans required for smartphones. $25 non-refundable activation fee and possible $200 early termination fee applies per each line. See rebate certificate for details. Prices for limited time and while supplies last. 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