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Waste to energy forum comes to St. Albert region

Experts from around world to talk pros and cons of waste technology.
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Experts from around the world will be in the Edmonton region next week for a symposium on the ins and outs of waste to energy.

The Recycling Council of Alberta is hosting a symposium on waste to energy technology this March 12 at the Dow Centennial Centre in Fort Saskatchewan. It was originally supposed to be held at the Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corp. building in St. Albert but outgrew that venue, said recycling council executive director Christina Seidel.

Waste to energy refers to a package of technologies that attempt to convert waste into heat, electricity, or some other source of fuel to reduce landfill costs and greenhouse gas emissions. St. Albert partnered with Edmonton last December to do a $4 million pilot waste-to-energy pilot study, up to $1 million of which would be funded by St. Albert.

“There are a lot of these smaller waste-to-energy proponents out there trying to market their technologies to municipalities,” Seidel said, and many communities don’t have the expertise needed to evaluate them.

This forum would draw experts from around the world to discuss the problems and potential of waste to energy, including Steve Jenkins of Energy & Chemicals Consulting, who has some 44 years of experience in the gasification industry.

Gasification can enhance waste diversion as it converts dirty paper and unrecyclable plastics into syngas, which can be used to make electricity, fertilizer, and fuel, Jenkins said in an email.

But gasifiers are also designed to handle specific materials at specific moisture levels – you can throw in many materials at once, as happens with municipal waste, but they doesn’t work nearly as well. That’s why gasifiers typically need their municipal waste to be pre-sorted somehow, often to remove glass, metal, and construction debris, in order to work best.

Jenkins said waste to energy makes the most sense when costs or regulations make landfills impractical or impossible, and when landfill fees and renewable electricity rates are high enough to make it economically feasible.

Seidel said the forum would likely draw about 150 guests and was ideal for anyone with questions on waste-to-energy. Tickets were $300. Visit recycle.ab.ca/workshop/waste-to-energy-symposium for details.


Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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