A waste-to-energy proposal in Sylvan Lake is getting a serious look.
Town council voted this week to direct administration to enter into a letter of intent to negotiate the terms and conditions of a contract with Calgary-based Fogdog Energy.
Fogdog is pitching a facility that uses friction heat to convert municipal garbage into a carbon fluff that can be sent to a processing plant to be turned into hydrocarbon fuels such as diesel and gasoline. About 98 per cent of the town’s waste could be recycled.
Almost all waste — except for glass and metals, which would be recycled separately — can be converted using the process, which is commonly used in Europe. Water produced by the process can irrigate farmland.
The first phase will have the capacity to convert 50 tonnes of waste per day. Sylvan Lake generates 15 tonnes per day on average.
Town communications officer Joanne Gaudet said it is expected a proposed contract will be ready in the spring.
Council will then decide whether to proceed or not.
A series of ground rules have been set by the town for any agreement.
Fogdog must build and operate the plant and lease the proposed location near the town’s waste transfer site at market value.
Tipping rates cannot exceed $100 per tonne, no minimum waste volumes be required, and the refinery to convert fluff into fuel must be built off the waste transfer site.
A 10-year contract with termination and renewal clauses would be required and Fogdog must meet all regulatory requirements.
Since the technology is new to Canada — only a small facility is located at a Toronto-area hospital — the town wants Fogdog to arrange for staff to visit, at the town’s expense, a working plant and to meet with operators and government officials.
Gaudet said the process has been shown to work in Europe.
“The question is never about the technology. The technology is proven,” she said.
Council though must be convinced Fogdog can follow through with its proposal.
Based on Fogdog’s business plan, the town estimates it could save $247,000 in waste disposal and truck replacement costs annually, while realizing $108,000 in lease revenue. There would be about $730,000 in one-time costs to start.