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

The 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

March 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Employment in Oregon is almost back up to prerecession levels — and employers are having to work harder to entice talented staff to join their ranks. This year’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project showcases the kind of quality workplaces that foster happy employees. 


Read more...

The Human Factor

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY BRIAN LIBBY

Matt French opens up South Waterfront.


Read more...

Party Like It’s 1999

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
pets-com-sock-puppetBY JASON NORRIS, CFA | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Pets.com, GeoCities, eToys, and WorldCom … blasts-from-the-past that all signify the late 1990s Internet bubble. Yet we believe the dynamics of the market, specifically in technology stocks, are much different today than it was during the late 1990s.


Read more...

Taking the lead in boosting Oregonians’ health and strengthening our economy

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 08, 2015
0108-injection-thumbBY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED

Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy. 


Read more...

LEED for weed

Linda Baker
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
012815-potcarbon-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

What is the impact of the legal pot industry on carbon emissions?


Read more...

4 winners and losers in the Kitzhaber scandal

The Latest
Thursday, February 12, 2015
021315-govorno-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Examining the governor's rapid fall from grace in a "bizarre" and "unprecedented" saga.


Read more...

10 quotes explaining crisis at Port of Portland

The Latest
Friday, February 20, 2015
022015 port portland OBM-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.


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