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Waste Gasification Goes Commercial

Start-up Ze-gen is planning the United States' first commercial waste gasification plant

4 min read
Waste Gasification Goes Commercial

10 May 2010—Ze-gen, a start-up that has developed a process to turn waste into an energy-rich synthesis gas, says it plans to build a 7-megawatt commercial power plant in Attleboro, Mass. This small plant, which the company expects to complete in late 2011, would be the first commercial waste gasification plant in the United States.

The plant uses a relatively new process that turns waste into a hot, combustible gas by drowning it in a bath of molten copper. The resulting 7 MW will power an industrial park occupied by a community college and various businesses, including a wastewater treatment plant. The tenants, who currently pay waste-collection services to take their trash, will pay a lower rate to send some of their refuse to Ze-gen. The company will use the waste—about 137 metric tons per day—to generate electricity and steam for heat, which Ze-gen will then sell back to the tenants. The park’s electricity load ranges from 3 to 10 MW, so for much of the day, it will be independent of the grid, and the company can sell the park’s excess electricity to the local utility. During peak hours, the grid will supply the shortfall.

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Greg Mably

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