Multitude of MSW projects underway

By Anna Austin
A large number of companies in the renewable fuels and energy industries have recently announced plans for new facilities that will convert municipal solid waste (MSW) into ethanol, electricity, synthetic diesel fuel, and organic chemicals and products.

On Aug. 20, Indianapolis-based Agresti Biofuels announced it would begin negotiations with officials in Pike County, Ky., for a 20 MMgy commercial-scale MSW-to-ethanol facility.

Zig Resiak, program director of Agresti Biofuels, said that after five months of significant due diligence, including the commissioning of a technical evaluation of Agresti's process by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pike County reached the decision to move forward with this project. "We are firmly committed to building a state-of-the-art facility for their community and making Pike County a better place to live," Resiak said. Wayne Rutherford, an advocate of the project, expects the Central Appalachian Ethanol Plant to position the county as a leader in waste management technology, as well as enhance the local economy. "It's a win-win situation for every party involved," he said.

In early August, Green Star Products Inc.'s associated consortium of companies and EcoAlgae USA LLC announced a partnership to construct a combined algae-to-biodiesel and next-generation waste-to-energy complex in Saline County, Mo. County commissioners approved $141 million in industrial development revenue bonds to complete the project, which is anticipated to create 40 new jobs. A target completion date is slated for 2010. The facility will incorporate technologies from Green Star Products, Pure Energy Corp., MKW Biogas and Biotech Research to produce oil, cattle feed, electricity, biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and steam. BioGold Fuels Corp. recently completed agreements with Harvey County, Kan., to convert the county's waste into engineered fuel cubes, synthetic diesel fuel and organic chemicals, according to BioGold Fuels Chief Executive Officer Steve Racoosin. The company plans to build a facility next to the county landfill that would process 33,500 tons of MSW yearly. The waste will be hauled to the plant using county equipment and vehicles for one dollar per year. The amount of waste added to the Harvey County landfill is estimated to be reduced by 85 percent to 90 percent.

In late July, W2 Energy Inc. entered into an agreement with Combustibles Alternativos Chile, also known as Cobal Chile, to construct a waste-to-energy plant that will convert 80 tons of MSW into electricity and synthetic diesel using W2 Energy's plasma and gas-to-liquid technologies. David Freund, W2 Energy director of marketing, said the best feedstock to use-considering today's economic conditions and shortages of commodities worldwide-is something that nobody wants: waste. "I used to live in the Caribbean, and there is a landfill there that was scheduled to close 12 years ago, but it hasn't," he said. "There may be federal mandates, but there is just nowhere else to put the waste."