Wicomico Co. Looks To Build New Energy Plant - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Wicomico Co. Looks To Build New Energy Plant

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Charred Byproduct Charred Byproduct

WICOMICO CO., Md. - Wicomico county is looking into a new way to handle the tons of waste brought to the county landfill.  Not only making the county cleaner, but also bringing in extra revenue.

The the physical byproduct of this new process resembles gravel.  From a four pound bag of trash, only a few ounces of physical matter are left.

The concept is to turn solid waste into a gas, which would be used to produce electricity or bio-fuel.

Officials say this process has potential to not only save the county money, but also make about $7 million a year from the gas that is sold.

It may sound similar to incineration, but the public works director says it's very different.

"It heats the waste up at a much lower temperature in a zero oxygen or low oxygen environment, which is a closed loop system so the emissions are much cleaner," says Lee Beauchamp, "I think we're much better off at looking at a process where you can convert that waste back into energy."

The project would cost about $75 million to complete, which county officials say would be absorbed by a private company, and not fall on the shoulders of tax-payers.  

After a stringent approval process, the plant could be up and running by 2017, which would make it the first in the state of Maryland, and one of a handful in the country.

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