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February 10, 2013

PUBLIC FORUM: We need a new plan for power plant

— Our mayor lacks vision. His plan for creation of electricity for the next 20 years is to burn trash. He could not have gotten that idea from reading. The current Standard and Poore’s survey for the electric utilities industry projects that coal as a fuel source accounted for 45 percent total generation in 2010 and will account for around 39 percent of total power production in the industry by 2035; and natural gas will increase from 24 percent to 27 percent of electricity generation over the same time period.

According to the federal Energy Information Administration, incineration of municipal waste accounted for only one half of 1 percent of total electric generation 10 years ago and that remains the same today. The projected growth rate for trash as fuel between 2010 and 2035 is 0.1 percent.

The mayor courted incineration sponsors early on in his administration in 2012. He created a “team” with incineration as the goal in November 2012. It comes as no surprise that the mayor’s paid consultants propose trash incineration by Pyrolyzer LLC.

Pyrolysis, by theory, is gasification technology. There is no commercially operated pyrolysis plant in continuous operation in the United States. Pyrolyzer LLC proposes to build one in Logansport.

Pyrolyzer’s spokesman is Frank Canterbury, an investment consultant from Florida, in this finance business since 2008. Canterbury wants to sell us equipment developed and manufactured by the German company KUG. In 1999 KUG built a small pyrolysis unit to test various feed stock. In 2002, more than 10 years ago, KUG built a continuous operation plant. Machinery of this type is designed to operate 8,000 hours before being taken off-line for maintenance. KUG’s plant only operated continuously for 1,600 hours. The plant shut down after 15 days. This equipment has not been proven commercially viable. The reasonable business mind needs to see a commercial size plant in operation with independently verifiable safe production results over a significant period of time.

The city’s business plan for the next 20 years should be based upon reliable science, not risk. The city should terminate its pursuit of incineration and publicly discuss the alternatives.

Jim Brugh

Logansport

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