Project to convert MSW to energy attracts crowd in Columbus, Ohio.
Team Gemini, a sustainable project design and development company based in Orlando, Fla., presented the Gemini Synergy Project to members of the Columbus, Ohio, Metropolitan Club and its guests on Feb 6, 2013. The project is the company’s flagship project to convert Central Ohio’s municipal solid waste (MSW) into energy and recycled waste stream for commercial and industrial applications.
Matt McCollister from Columbus 2020 moderated a panel that included Doug Haughn from Team Gemini; Ronald Mills from the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO); and Dennis Hall from the Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC) at The Ohio State University (OSU).
The event started with McCollister’s introduction, saying that “This is more than just trash-to-cash. The project is expected to produce hundreds of jobs, millions of dollars in capital investment and a unique opportunity to create a product that can set us apart globally."
Mills, SWACO’s executive director, added that the project will allow his vision of finding a viable alternative to landfilling to become a reality.
“Historically, we always considered trash something that costs money to get rid of--a cost center," said Mills. "We would be turning trash management from a cost center to a true profit center, by extracting the value that is intrinsically contained within that trash stream."
Mining the waste stream will allow Team Gemini and SWACO to mitigate the challenges of dumping MSW on landfills—drawing multiple benefits that can trickle down to every Gemini Synergy Center participant, tenants and partners.
"Team Gemini set out to develop several clusters of technology in an industrial park setting that are fueled synergistically with renewable energy of different types—from solar to anaerobic digestion, biogas, biomass and others--in order to create a synergy within the park so that the industry can share off each other's waste stream,” said Doug Haughn, one of Team Gemini’s founders. “Team Gemini’s approach, however, is unique by bringing all the technology together into one sustainable development park.”
Panelists also discussed the different technologies to be featured at the Gemini Synergy Center, which includes anaerobic digestion, a process that converts waste into methane gas and steam heat to generate electricity.
The panelists noted that creating energy—and an additional source of revenue—from a constant supply of solid waste at the Gemini Synergy Center allows SWACO and Team Gemini to jointly venture to create realistic solutions that ease the burden of operating landfills in the community.
Haughn added that the uniqueness of the project comes from having multiple sustainable waste management and renewable energy technologies working together in a single site at an industrial scale—such as a having a materials recovery facility that feeds anaerobic digesters that power greenhouses that produce organic foods and feedstock.
Panelist Dennis Hall, interim director for OSU’s Ohio Bioproducts Innovation Center, lauded the project, saying, “This new enterprise will be ’transformative’ because America has always been good at managing trash—but this brings a new model where trash creates jobs and fuels.”
The Gemini Synergy Center will be developed in Grove City, Ohio. The company says that the impact of the project will be felt throughout the country as the combination of renewable energy and sustainable agriculture technologies work with other efforts to make sustainability viable and profitable.
Team Gemini claims the economic development derived from its sustainable cluster model, coupled with the benefit participants will draw from the waste stream, will complement SWACO’s optimized waste management goal to eventually eliminate the need for future and current landfills in Central Ohio.