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August 25, 2013

Officials watch pyrolysis in Germany

Mayor, LMU superintendent tour plants

Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin and Logansport Municipal Utilities Superintendent Paul Hartman spent Aug. 18 through Tuesday in Germany touring two facilities using technology identical and similar to the kind being planned for an electricity plant in Logansport that would be powered by refuse-derived fuel.

After touring the sites, observing their processes and meeting with the scientists and engineers involved, both officials said they continue to have confidence in the project.

“I’m never going to recommend something to anybody without seeing it and knowing how it works,” Hartman said. “We want to make sure what we’re recommending is real.”

One of their stops was at a pilot facility operated by Pyrolyzer LLC, the company out of Boca Raton, Fla., that the city is negotiating with to develop a plant that will be privately funded at a cost now estimated to be about $600 million.

Franklin said Pyrolyzer’s pilot facility is located in the city of Forst, about 90 miles south of Berlin. He said no electricity is generated at the plant, but rather the gas that would be used to power turbines to create electricity. The plant is operated intermittently and is mainly used to run tests for companies like General Electric and Siemens to determine the gas’s compatibility with their equipment.

“I watched feedstock being fed into a Pyrolyzer unit and watched gas come out of the other side,” Franklin said.

The pilot plant is set to convert refused-derived feedstock at a rate of about four tons per day, roughly one one-thousandth of what would be required to run the plant being negotiated for Logansport.

Franklin said Logansport’s plant won’t consist of one enormous gasifier, but 20 replicas of the one in Forst all set at different rates and heating refuse-derived fuels with various British thermal unit contents to produce enough gas that will in turn power the city.

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