When Team ReVenture announced that they were planning to build a garbage incinerator they promised that they would only utilize “state-of-the-art technology”.
The first “state-of-the-art technology” ReVenture selected was for a 44 – 50 megawatt incinerator using stoker boiler technology modeled after the 1989 SEMASS incinerator (the same system that was the site of one of the largest fires in Rochester, NY history).
Then they changed their mind.
For months they have been saying that they were looking for an even better “state-of-the-art technology”. They announced that they had narrowed their choices to a gasification technology that would burn at a very high temperature and use extremely low oxygen (almost “no oxygen”) to produce a syn gas for a now 30 – 80 megawatt incinerator. Numerous references were made to European and Japanese “state-of-the-art technology” using this type of very high temperature and extremely low oxygen process. Their claim, at the time, was that this process would produce fewer emissions than a more traditional gasifier. Chris Neaville of Team ReVenture was quoted as saying that “there are a lot of bad incinerator projects throughout the country, but ReVenture is creating something different — “a national model.””
Then they changed their mind, again.
At the December 2nd Mecklenburg County Waste Management Advisory Board ReVenture Advisory Council meeting and at the December 3rd Charlotte City Council Economic Development Committee meeting, Team ReVenture presented this “tried-and-true technology” (see flow diagram below). It was no longer a “state-of-the-art technology”. It was now a “tried-and-true technology” and, by the way, it was now a 20 megawatt system so that they could qualify as a “minor source” of Hazardous Air Pollutants and Toxic Air Pollutants for the surrounding neighborhoods and schools. ReVenture acknowledged that this is “basically a gas fired power plant like those used all around the country” except they want to put it in our Non-Attainment Air Quality county, on the banks of one of the most endangered rivers in the country.
When asked why they had changed their direction, ReVenture cited the cost of the “state-of-the-art technology”, the extensive permitting requirements of a “state-of-the-art technology” and the unreliability of these “state-of-the-art technology” facilities. They pointed out that those kinds of facilities were like “Swiss watches” where a lot could go wrong.
The Bottom Line. They promised us “state-of-the-art technology but settled on a “tried-and-true technology”. They promised us a “national model” but settled instead on a “blunt instrument”. How many more changes will they make?
The Real Bottom Line. Burning our garbage is a bad idea, a really bad idea.