Construction is under way of a $20-million mixed-waste processing demonstration facility in Guelph, Ontario. The facility, located at the Guelph Wet-Dry Recycling Centre, will be owned and operated by Eastern Power Ltd. through its affiliate, Super Blue Box Recycling Corporation (SUBBOR). Waste will begin to be received in early 2000 and commissioning will be completed by spring 2000.
SUBBOR’s demonstration project consists of pilot scale development, optimization and commercial scale demonstration. The pilot facility is expected to confirm the technology’s ability to provide up to 100 per cent diversion of municipal waste from landfill and produce sustainable energy with “climate friendly” technology (i.e., because of the prevention of conventional landfill greenhouse gas emissions).
The initiative involves a number of collaborative partnerships including the City of Guelph (that offered the site location lease and various infrastructure contributions), Industry Canada (that offered a $5-million loan under Technology Partnerships Canada) and the Climate Change Action Fund. Both the U.S. EPA and Environment Canada will be involved in verifying the facility’s technology and process claims — including greenhouse gas emissions achievements — through the Environmental Technology Verification Program. The University of Guelph’s Department of Land Resource, Science and Horticulture will conduct research projects to confirm the utility of the finished product.
“The pilot facility is expected to confirm the technology’s ability to provide up to100 per cent diversion.”
The facility will have an initial processing capacity of 25,000 tonnes per year. In addition to Guelph, SUBBOR anticipates receiving wastes from various communities in close proximity, including Wellington County, the Regions of Peel and York as well as the City of Toronto. Tip fees are being priced to be competitive to landfill.
The SUBBOR process involves three main stages. In stage one, unsorted MSW will be received. Materials will be mechanically shredded into smaller pieces to recover steel and aluminum with magnetic and eddy current systems.
Anaerobic digestion occurs in stage two. Following a 25-day retention period, the product is removed from the digesters, residual contaminants are removed and the remaining materials undergo a drying process. In this process, a filter press and waste heat are used to remove moisture from the power plant through evaporation. The finished product, or “peat,” will be marketed for use in agricultural and horticultural applications.
In stage three a biogas-fuelled electrical power plant, similar to those already operated by Eastern Power at Toronto’s Keele Valley and Brock West Landfills, will produce approximately 1.5 megawatts of electrical power annually. Comparatively, the Keele Valley power plant produces 30 megawatts annually. SUBBOR and Eastern Power aim to expand the Guelph facility and offer this technology to other locations.
Bruce Holbein, Ph.D. is with SUBBOR in Toronto, Ontario.