KINGSTON, N.Y. >> Ulster County Solid Waste Management Improvement Commission members expect to give legislators the option of a biotech sorting operation that would turn solid waste into fuel for manufacturing facilities.
The proposal was pitched during a commission meeting Thursday, with E.N.A. Renewables spokesman Dennis Soriano spending an hour describing the process and displaying a small bag of specks of plastic, paper and cloth materials that would be burned as an alternative to gas and oil for producing usable energy.
The proposal also was pitched to the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency in late September.
“We achieve approximately 80 percent landfill diversion,” he said.
“Out of every 100 tons (of solid waste) that comes in, you get about 45 to 47 tons of fuel,” Soriano said. “We lose 30 to 35 percent of the inbound weight in evaporation and oxidation. … It really is an accelerated composting process of the organic material.”
The facilities also use standard recycling sorting equipment to separate paper, glass and metals.
“We use optical sorting to take out the PVC plastic, which is not suitable to go into the fuel,” Soriano said.
The technology is from Entsorga, an Italian-based company, that has seven facilities in Europe and one under construction in Martinsburg, W. Va. Soriano said another facility is planned for a 12-acre property in New Windsor and a third site is expected to be announced in the next three months for a northern New Jersey site.
According a report in the Herald-Mail newspaper, the Martinsburg facility broke ground in December 2015 on a former landfill site, with the company paying $3.6 million over 30 years to the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority as a lease. The company was reported to have also secured a $25 million bond through a state agency.
Soriano in September told Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency officials the New Windsor site is expected to handle up to 300,000 tons of solid waste per year, while the New Jersey facility would accept about 130,000 tons annually. The company contends that 30-50 percent of the solid waste can be converted to a fuel source, 3-10 percent can be recycled for metal and plastic products, and 15-20 percent has other beneficial uses, including composting.
Commission members on Thursday that were told that Ulster County could enter into a public-private partnership for a facility while assuring the public that there would not be an environmental impact on neighbors.
“The entire facility is kept under negative pressure,” Soriano said. “That’s important because it keeps the odors that are generated from the waste in the confines of the facility and they’re circulated through a biofilter.”
Soriano added that, in more than 25 years of working with solid waste facilities, he had never dealt with one that had no odor.
“I’ve been on a lot of transfer station floors and, a lot of times, I’ve had to throw my pants or my shoes away at the end of the day,” he said. “One of the things that got me off of semi-retirement … is that I see this as a really positive new type of technology.”