Trash talk resumes on possible energy recovery facility

One man’s trash could be another man’s electricity.

Some government officials in St. Joseph County today resumed trash talks that could bring an energy recovery plant to town.

“If it was the one large plant, its hundreds, of well-paying high tech jobs,” said St. Joseph County Councilman Corey Noland.

Councilman Noland says other options could include “five or ten little facilities around the county, or maybe, obviously it could be none.”
The idea first surfaced last September, when officials from Carmel based G2E, Green Earth Energy first addressed the council.

“It’s new in the aspect that this isn’t occurring elsewhere, but these are technologies that do exist, it’s just by lining up the different systems in a line there’s efficiencies that are recognized that actually make it a viable project now,” said Project Manager Billy Ponko, with BSA Life Structures, a partner in the project.

The idea is to take waste—whether it is trash, yard waste, food waste or even human waste in the form of sewage sludge--and turn it into energy through plasma arc gasification.

“It’s intriguing and there’s some fear factor involved with it you know, we don’t want to jump off the cliff and be the first and find out it wasn’t a good idea,” said Councilman Noland. Yet Noland realizes that the community does portray itself as one that is welcoming to high tech businesses.

“They were intrigued with the high tech things that are happening here in this community with Innovation Park and Ignition Park and they wanted to be a part of that,” said Councilman Noland.

“Part of this process,” said Billy Ponko is a mutual vetting between both parties to work out if they think it’s right for their community, and we think this community is right for it.”

Unfortunately, officials did not pick the right day to pick up where the conversation left off. Most of the energy recovery executives are located in the Indianapolis area which was hit with a massive snowstorm.

While some talking took place today with a locally based energy recovery representative, the session will have to be rescheduled.

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