'It's not a landfill, it's a power plant'

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

About 40 of the most active anti-landfill campaigners, minus their green shirts, showed up at the Solid Waste Committee's meeting Monday night to hear about a revolutionary process for getting rid of waste.

State Rep. Eddie Bass was unable to attend, but state Sen. Bill Ketron was there to hear the founders of America's Waste-to-Energy LLC make their presentation. Also on hand were representatives of the Duck River Electrical Membership Corporation and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Paul Hester, founding partner; Douglas Scott, managing partner; and Ted Hatfield, director of business development, all came to Lewisburg from their headquarters in Cumming, Ga., to make the presentation.

The biosphere is hard to explain because it seems akin to magic, but the men assured listeners that the technology has been in existence for 30 years and is being used around the world. It was first developed for disposing of bio-chemical weapons and then transitioned to consumption of municipal solid waste.

The biosphere gasification process exposes waste to extremely high temperatures (3,500 degrees Fahrenheit) in an oxygen-starved environment, thus causing it to break down into molecules of gas.

The end result is waste reduced by 93 percent, with the only thing left to dispose of at the end being inert ash, which can be sold on the commercial and industrial market. One biosphere unit can consume 172 tons of waste per day, while producing both electricity and drinkable water.

Once a biosphere has started operation it works around the clock, producing its own fuel, for 11 months or more before it is shut down for maintenance.

America's Waste to Energy is not looking for money from Marshall County. They are looking for labor, a steady supply of waste, and a market for the power that will be generated.

Lamar County is about to start operation, and its Solid Waste Authority Executive director, Johnny Poore, is quoted on their Web site saying, "My dream is that this will be so successful that one year we will be able to tell the tax commissioner to send all the county's tax bills to us to pay."

He is not only going to be processing his county's current...Pick up a copy of today's edition May 21st, 2008 for full coverage.