According to the Ottawa-Ontario-based Plasco Energy Group, Plasco Trail Road is the only operating commercial-scale conversion facility in the world that converts post-recycled municipal solid waste into a consistent syngas than runs GE Jenbacher engines to generate electricity.
Plasco entered into a partnership with the City of Ottawa in April 2006 for the construction of the commercial-scale demonstration facility.
Plasco Trail Road was constructed to: demonstrate the company’s proprietary technology at a commercial scale to customers and investors; produce environmental performance data that is significantly lower than existing emission standards in leading jurisdictions; and, to validate Plasco’s operating costs and net energy production efficiency.
Plasco says the plant has successfully demonstrated electricity production using its syngas-to-fuel GE Jenbacher engines. Plasco says its superior environmental performance has been validated by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and that the economic viability of Plasco waste conversion facilities has been demonstrated based on revenues from net electricity produced and fees for accepting waste for processing.
Plasco Energy Group worked collaboratively with local and provincial levels of the Canadian government to develop rules for permitting the innovative technology. This process also involved an extensive public outreach program and government agency consultation. Through this approach, Plasco Trail Road was granted temporary demonstration permits that specified more stringent air emission regulations than existing standards.
After completion of the demonstration period and an Environmental Assessment Screening Process mandated by the province, Plasco was issued permanent operation permits for the Trail Road Facility on October 24, 2011. In December 2011, Ottawa’s City Council approved a 20-year contract with Plasco for a commercial waste conversion facility. This facility will have capacity to convert 150,000 tonnes per year of Ottawa’s post-recycled waste into green power and other valuable products. Throughput is expected to be 128,000 tonnes per year.
Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson, was quoted on December 15, 2011 saying, “Back in 2005 Plasco set out to prove its potential with a demonstration plant… they also set out to prove to the Ministry of the Environment that very low emission levels could be achieved. Finally, they set out to prove that they could get investors to build a full commercial plant without a capital contribution from the city. Today, Plasco has grown from eight people to more than 150 employees all here in Ottawa. This company has attracted more than $250 million in new investment in Ottawa since the city first sat down to consider a joint venture opportunity.”
Written by Guy Crittenden, editor of this magazine. Contact Guy at