Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey is gauging Central Alberta interest in a waste-to-energy technology about to be tried out in Nova Scotia.
Creasey came away impressed from a recent tour of Sustane Technologies’ project that is to begin operation soon in Chester, Nova Scotia.
Sustane’s proposed plant can transform up to 70,000 tonnes of municipal waste per year into 35,000 tonnes of biomass pellets and 3.5 million litres of synthetic diesel fuel and recyclable metals. It would divert more than 90 per cent of municipal waste from area landfills.
Creasey believes the technology could go a long way to addressing the municipal waste issues facing Central Alberta communities. He took the initiative to send letters to communities within about a 90-minute drive to see whether they were interested in exploring Sustane’s technology.
“I’ve heard back from three so far. It’s a little bit early yet,” said Creasey, who added he will assess next month what level of interest appears to be out there.
City of Lacombe is a member of the Lacombe Regional Waste Services Commission, which has a contract to to take waste from member municipalities to West Dried Meat Lake Landfill in Camrose County. Lacombe also has a recycling facility in Wolf Creek Industrial Park.
Long-term, communities will need to look at other ways of disposing of thousands of tonnes of annual waste besides landfilling, said Creasey.
“I think there’s no question. There are only so many appropriate places for landfills.
“And there are a lot of consequences from landfilling,” he said, citing the leachates, gases and other undesirable consequences of burying garbage.
Creasey is well aware that there have been many proposed waste disposal solutions that have not panned out across Canada. In Central Alberta, Ottawa-based Plasco Energy Group Inc. spent years pushing a waste-to-energy plant to be built in Red Deer County before the project fell through in 2012.
Sylvan Lake is in negotiations with Calgary-based Fogdog Energy to build a plant that would use friction heat to turn almost all forms of municipal waste into a “carbon fluff” that can then be converted into hydrocarbon fuels.
There may be more than one solution to handling future waste issues, said Creasey. Among the things he liked about Sustane is that they are not counting on funding and capital investment from municipalities or other levels of government to get their project going.