Test Run For Waste Conversion In NYC
Submitted by Elizabeth Mooney on Thu, 2012-03-08 14:30.
Specifically excluding conventional incineration, New York has issued a request for proposals -- due June 5 -- for a privately funded and run plant within 80 miles of city limits to convert up to 450 tons of municipal waste to energy.
If the initial pilot is successful, the facility will be expanded to process 900 tons of waste per day, still a small fraction of the 10,000 tons daily that New York generates. On a yearly basis, the Department of Sanitation spends about $300 million to export trash to landfills outside the city, where the resulting greenhouse gas emissions are estimated at 728,000 metric tons.
The RFP is one aspect of a new waste reduction plan, designed to double the amount of city waste diverted from landfills, to 30 percent from 15 percent. Two-thirds of these gains are to come from increased waste reduction, reuse, composting and recycling initiatives.
“There are tremendous environmental costs involved with New York City’s current handling of solid waste,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “We need comprehensive solutions that address multiple problems, from rising tipping fees and fuel costs, to greenhouse gas emissions and overburdened communities. New waste conversion technologies, along with a robust recycling program, offer a real hope of meeting this environmental challenge in a cost-effective way.”
In accordance with requirements of the 2006 Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, city officials have evaluated several new and emerging technology facilities that use anaerobic digestion, gasification, hydrolysis and other processes to cleanly convert waste into energy. These technologies are in wide commercial use internationally, including in Europe, Asia and Australia, and already are being operated on a pilot basis in North America. The solicitation seeks proposals that use these and similar technologies.
The siting, construction and operation of the conversion facility will undergo extensive environmental and community oversight, including a City Environmental Quality Review and State Environmental Quality Review, as well as approvals from the State Department of Environmental Conservation.
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