Waste-to-energy plant yields jobs

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Landfills have never been popular, and with recycling rates rising it’s no surprise that the U.S. waste industry is pouring dollars into the development of alternative disposal technologies. But the prospect of a green waste industry may be a little scary for communities whose livelihoods depend on burying trash. A new waste-to-energy pilot plant in Arlington shows that there may still be jobs in waste, no matter how fancy the technology gets.

S4 Energy Solutions plans to start construction in May on a cutting-edge waste-to-energy plant at the Columbia Ridge Landfill in Arlington, the company announced last month. S4 Energy Solutions, based in Houston, is a 50-50 joint venture between trash giant Waste Management and InEnTec, a Bend company that has developed a plasma gasification process that zaps household waste into a synthetic gas (syngas) that can be used to produce electricity or — hopefully — liquid fuels. S4 won’t disclose the cost of the plant, set to open at year’s end. It will create up to 28 construction jobs and 16 permanent jobs, which CEO Jeff Surma hopes to fill locally.

The plant is expected to process 25 tons of municipal solid waste a day, capable of producing between 10 million and 15 million BTUs an hour. If the technology proves functional and commercially viable, the Arlington plant will be the first of its kind in the country. There’s just one snag: What to do with the syngas. It theoretically can be converted into ethanol or even diesel, but that technology is still not fully developed. “We don’t know what we want to do with it,” says Jackie Lang, a local spokeswoman for Waste Management.

The company could convert syngas into electricity using combustion engines it owns. But Surma says it wouldn’t make sense to do that in Eastern Oregon, which already produces a lot of electricity from windmills. Whether S4 chooses to scale up will depend on whether it can generate the kind of energy that’s needed in the Northwest, he says.

Gilliam county commissioner Dennis Gronquist says he’s happy to have S4 in town. The project was a pleasant surprise for the county. S4 originally had considered building the plant in Texas.

ADRIANNE JEFFRIES
 

More Articles

Editor’s Note: It’s a Man’s World

Linda Baker
Thursday, April 30, 2015
lindablogthumbBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Earlier this week we posted an article from our May issue:  It’s a Man's Man’s Man’s World. The story covered the gender divide in tech from the perspective of male workers. Twitter didn’t like it.


Read more...

Destination Resorts 2.0

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.


Read more...

Celestial Eats

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER AND EILEEN GARVIN

A power lunch at Solstice Wood Fire Cafe & Bar.


Read more...

5 questions about the FLIR FX

The Latest
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
FLIR-FX-IndoorBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Wilsonville-based company is targeting GoPro enthusiasts with its latest release. Is spy gear poised to go mainstream?


Read more...

Undersea Power

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Mike Morrow and Mike Delos-Reyes first came up with the idea of an ocean power device 23 years ago, when they were students at Oregon State University. They realized a long-held vision last summer, when their startup, M3 Wave, successfully launched the first ocean power device that works underwater.


Read more...

The Good Hacker

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY CHRIS HIGGINS

As digital security breaches skyrocket, a cybersleuth everyman takes center stage.


Read more...

Fighting Fire With Fire

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY BEN DEJARNETTE | INVESTIGATEWEST

Timber companies and environmental groups take a stab at collaboration to boost logging and restoration in Oregon fires.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS