Several full-scale gasification projects in North America are entering the next phases of implementation.
From Edmondton, Alberta to Vero Beach, Fla., several projects employing various waste gasification technologies are well underway in North America. Attendees at the Solid Waste Association of North America’s (SWANA’s) 2013 WasteCon conference in Long Beach, Calif., heard about the progress being made on three of these projects.
Jim Schubert, general supervisor for conversion technologies, waste management services and infrastructure services for the city of Edmonton, discussed that city’s progress on a waste-to-biofuels project being constructed and operated by Montreal-based Enerkem.
“Ours has been a very smooth journey,” Schubert told the crowd. The Edmonton Waste-to-Biofuels project includes an integrated process and transfer facility, an advanced energy research facility and the Enerkem Alberta Biofuels facility.
The biofuels component will add to the integrated management system in place at the Edmonton Waste Management Center, which already includes a material recovery facility (MRF), what Schubert says is the largest composting facility in North America, a construction and demolition recycling facility and a landfill. By adding the biofuels facility, Schubert says the city hopes to increase its diversion from 60 percent to 90 percent (made up of 20 percent recycling, 40 percent organics and 30 percent biogas).
The process used by Enerkem will turn nonrecyclable, noncompostable MSW (municipal solid waste), which is first processed into a refuse-derived fuel, into methanol or ethanol.
Schubert said “A big driver for us was the landfill closed and we could not find another one.”
He added that Enerkem was selected as the technology provider because of the success of its pilot facility in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
Another technology firm in Canada that has received approval for a commercial-scale operation in Ottawa is Plasco Energy. Its process converts MSW into syngas that generates engines to produce electricity.
Jim Clements, speaking on behalf of the company, said the project will extend the life of the city’s landfill by 28 years.
He concluded his presentation by saying, “I think it is a bright year for these technologies.”
One of those bright spots includes the Ineos’ Indian River BioEnergy Center in Vero Beach, Fla. Dan Cummings, business manager, Americas and Asia, for Ineos Bio, said that in July the facility became the first in the world to achieve commercial-scale production of waste-derived cellulosic ethanol. The facility is processing vegetative and yard waste and beginning to incorporate MSW.
WasteCon 2013 was Sept. 17-19 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach.