By Mercedes Brugh
Here’s a prediction: the Pyrolyzer plant will not be built for one, or some, of these reasons: 1) They will not be able to secure private funding. 2) They will not be able to guarantee the 5.5 cents/kwh rate for very long, and the formula for increasing the price will put Logansport at a disadvantage. 3) They will not be able to secure enough fuel (trash) contracts for long enough to pay off the plant. 4) Logansport will strike a less risky, better deal with Indiana Municipal Power Authority.
You can see for yourself that Pyrolyzer is inexperienced. You can go to the Logansport Municipal Utilities (LMU) website and read the Request for Proposals (RFP), which asks good questions about experience. Section 3.6 says “Describe how many years the respondent and respondent’s team have been involved in financing or developing renewable and/or alternative energy resources.” Section 4.1 says “Fully describe projects that the respondent or respondent’s team have implemented within the last five years …” 4.2 asks about “Annual energy produced …” But Pyrolyzer’s proposal offers only that they have a 37 ton-per-day plant that started up in 2002, and that plant’s longest continuous run was 15 days. Their other, older, plant is for tests and does not run continuously either (page 14). Pyrolyzer cannot give details about their experience with commercial-size, continuous-run facilities because they don’t have any.
About getting enough fuel (trash) to run this proposed giant, the RFP says in Section 5.5 “… Respondents shall include a complete description of the specifications and source(s) of any and all RDF … including availability, sustainability, acquisition and transportation…” Pyrolyzer’s proposal (cover letter) suggests only that “Feedstock will be procured from Chicago, Indianapolis, and Fort Wayne…” This does not answer the question.
The RFP says “Respondents are required to submit proposals that fully comply with the requirements set forth in these Specifications…” (section 4). At this stage we should have Pyrolyzer’s “best and final offer” (RFP section 9), but where are the answers to these and other fundamental questions that the RFP requires?
We should not team up with anyone who cannot demonstrate success with a commercial-sized facility. No matter how much time and money we spend on the consultants to make Pyrolyzer’s proposal look better, no one can give Pyrolyzer experience that they do not have.
We should reject the Pyrolyzer proposal and look honestly and publicly at other options.