Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Green Garbage

This appears to be a wonderful project for Sacramento, but obviously needs more research.

City sees green in garbage proposal
By Terri Hardy and Chris Bowman -
Published 12:07 am PST Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It sounds too good to be true:

A garbage-to-energy plant that produces clean fuel, reduces global warming gases and leaves nary a toxic trace.

Yet "plasma gasification" is a real, albeit emerging, technology being considered by Sacramento as an alternative to its daily trans-Sierra hauling of waste to a Nevada landfill.

The City Council on Tuesday approved the project in concept on an 8-0 vote and authorized nonbinding negotiations for up to 90 days exclusively with U.S. Science & Technology of Sacramento and its affiliated companies.

The approval was given even though some council members and members of the public expressed concerns about the lack of information about how the technology works and the speed with which the decision was being made.

"I've got a lot of interest in moving forward with something," Mayor Heather Fargo said. She said she would put together a working group that included some council members to inform them and keep them abreast of negotiations.

In a report to the council, city officials tout the high-tech waste treatment as environmentally superior to using landfills.

Others, however, question its energy efficiency and environmental benefits.

"It takes a lot of electricity," Jim Shetler, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District's assistant general manger for energy supply, said in an interview. "Do you use more electricity in the process than you gain from the gas stream that you use to burn and generate electricity?"