Solid Waste & Recycling


The Plasco Conversion System in Ottawa

On October 24, 2007, Plasco Energy's Trail Road demonstration facility (at Ottawa's Trail Road Landfill) successfully sold electricity made from surrogate waste to Hydro Ottawa. The facility, complete...

On October 24, 2007, Plasco Energy’s Trail Road demonstration facility (at Ottawa’s Trail Road Landfill) successfully sold electricity made from surrogate waste to Hydro Ottawa. The facility, completed in June 2007, is a pilot project for the City of Ottawa to divert waste from landfills to convert to saleable byproducts and electricity. What the company calls the Plasco Conversion System (“PCS”) uses plasma torches to reduce waste to a molecular level — then recombine into products. The result is the output of heat, slag (used to create concrete and asphalt), solid sulphur, and most importantly, a synthetic gas that’s used to fuel internal combustion engines to produce electricity.

According to the company, the Ottawa demonstration plant produces roughly 5.1 MW (megawatts) of electricity for every 85 tonnes of waste processed. 80 per cent of the power produced is sold to the Ottawa’s hydro grid; the rest is used to power the facility itself. The facility receives $40 per tonne to divert the city’s waste.

The trial period is a two-year experiment funded by several parties including the federal government, and if the benefits of the demonstration facility outweigh the costs, more facilities of the same type may be constructed.

On January 24, 2008 the City of Ottawa announced receipt of the first load of municipal solid waste from City of Ottawa trucks to the demonstration plant. A total of approximately 20 tonnes of garbage was received. Periodic receipt of garbage will occur during the month of February as the plant moves into regular operation.

The company is attracting attention and investment. On December 3, 2007, First Reserve Corporation of Greenwich, Connecticut (the largest U.S.-based private equity firm that specializes in the energy industry) led an equity issue with the purchase of $35 million in common shares. This issue of shares triggered the exercise of outstanding warrants to purchase additional common shares for $14.3 million on December 31, 2007, for total proceeds of $54 million. First Reserve has allocated a further $115 million for investment in PlascoEnergy during 2008.

Contact Sharilyn Cyr, Executive Assistant to the CEO, at

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