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Garbage picker sees job growth in the trash.

Sault Ste. Marie Sault Sainte Marie — pronounced "Soo Saint Marie" (IPA /su seɪnt məˈɹi/) — is the name of two cities on the Saint Marys River, which forms part of the boundary between the United States and Canada.  -- To Jayson Zwierschke, garbage is a valuable resource that's being buried.

Rather than just digging a hole and covering it up, the president of EnQuest Power Corporation wants to start mining municipal and industrial waste to produce fuel.

His Fonthill, Ont. firm has developed a new proprietary technology that converts waste streams into energy without incineration incineration

the act of burning to ashes.

By utilizing a steam reformation unit, EnQuest expects to begin producing syngas
See also: Wood gas

Syngas (from synthesis gas) is the name given to a gas mixture that contains varying amounts of carbon monoxide and hydrogen generated by the gasification of a carbon containing fuel to a gaseous product with
 next year in Sault Ste. Marie, to market as an environmentally sustainable fuel that can be used for heating and in vehicles.

They're leasing a bay at the city's landfill site landfill site nvertedero

landfill site ncentre m d'enfouissement des déchets

landfill site land n
 to test out a demonstration unit for a six-month project that may eventually evolve into a full-scale commercial operation.

With more than a $1 million privately invested, the company was set to begin four days of public consultation hearings in the Sault in early June as part of the process to obtain a Certificate of Approval from the Ministry of Environment to start their pilot program.

"Our target is to get running this summer," says Zwierschke, whose company secured gasification gas·i·fy  
tr. & intr.v. gas·i·fied, gas·i·fy·ing, gas·i·fies
To convert into or become gas.

 technology through various patents and licensing agreements.

Steam reformation is the two-year-old environmental company's backbone technology and the Sault's test site is their first.

Once they have the system's bugs worked out, Zwierschke is quite confident about having a unit operating by next year, preferably in the Sault.

"The goal is to work with the City of Sault Ste. Marie and build a commercial unit."

For the initial demonstration phase, the unit should consume about a tonne of garbage per day. The gas produced will be flared.

Eventually they hope to establish a large-scale plant processing up to 100,000 tonnes of garbage a year and creating between 25 and 35 positions for skilled tradespersons, stationary engineers and equipment operators.

To meet that anticipated need, EnQuest was finalizing an agreement in early June with Sault College Sault College is one of 24 publicly funded community colleges in Ontario. Sault College is located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and began in 1965 as the Ontario Vocational Centre.  and Niagara College Niagara College is a College of Applied Arts and Technology within the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario. The college has three campuses: the main campus in Welland, the Glendale campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the Maid of the Mist Campus in Niagara Falls, home of the Tourism  to develop a training program to provide technicians for their plant.

Their gasification process works through an indirect heating process that involves no combustion of the waste feed stock.

Organic matter like municipal solid waste “Municipal waste” redirects here. For other uses, see Municipal waste (disambiguation).
Municipal solid waste (MSW) is a waste type that includes predominantly household waste (domestic waste) with sometimes the addition of commercial wastes collected by a
, forest product scrap, paper sludge, or anything else with a carbon base, is fed into a rotary kiln A Rotary kiln is a pyroprocessing device used to raise materials to a high temperature (calcination) in a continuous process. Materials produced using rotary kilns include:
  • Cement
  • Lime
  • Refractories
  • Metakaolin
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Alumina
 (a steam reformer) and heated on the outside with natural gas up to a temperature of 900 C.

In what Zwierschke describes as an "oxygen-deprived environment," water is injected into the process to prevent the material from actually burning.

"It causes a reaction that occurs with temperature and steam. We're really using water to break down the waste product and it turns into gas."

Carbon monoxide carbon monoxide, chemical compound, CO, a colorless, odorless, tasteless, extremely poisonous gas that is less dense than air under ordinary conditions. It is very slightly soluble in water and burns in air with a characteristic blue flame, producing carbon dioxide;  and hydrogen primarily come out the other end, which can be used for running conventional turbines, combustion motors, fuel cells, or to make ethanol, methanol and biodiesel fuel.

No harmful by-products are produced and the small percentage of residual left over is basically an inert, gravelly grav·el·ly  
1. Of, full of, or covered with rock fragments or pebbles: a gravelly beach.

2. Having a harsh rasping sound: a gravelly voice.

Zwierschke says the company's primary focus is not so much to whittle down Verb 1. whittle down - cut away in small pieces
wear away, whittle away

damage - inflict damage upon; "The snow damaged the roof"; "She damaged the car when she hit the tree"
 the landfill's piles of old trash, but to feed off the new waste stream. The project's economics suggest it's better to use fresh material. But the opportunity to mine landfills with this technology exists.

The company is considering various business options including licensing the technology, joint venturing with municipalities or operating the facilities for clients. Zwierschke says these operations can be very profitable. He has some preliminary figures for potential clients showing a favourable investment return well above commercial venture capital rates.

They're also studying possible complementary back-end technologies to generate power and are examining the fuel cell market.

"The back-end matrix is quite large."

He also sees opportunities to place commercial units in steel mills, sawmills or other manufacturing sites that can be fed with municipal waste or self-generating waste such as biomass.

Zwierschke says the timing of their technology is perfect.

Canada's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, rising energy prices and the general unpopularity toward creating more landfills are driving factors in government taking an interest in their project.

The ability to produce renewable fuel has drawn interest from the Ontario Centre of Excellence and EnQuest is submiting a $300,000 application to FedNor.

The company is also prepared to take advantage of Kyoto emissions credit programs.

They've struck an alliance agreement with GHGx, a new Toronto-based online emissions trading exchange, to validate and sell credits on the market.

"We generate a significant amount of credits because we are using municipal waste which produces methane when it sits in a landfill," says Zwierschke. "It will be a big part of our business."


Northern Ontario Business Northern Ontario Business is a Canadian magazine, which publishes monthly in Greater Sudbury, Ontario. The magazine covers business news and issues in Northern Ontario.  
COPYRIGHT 2005 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:NEWS; EnQuest Power Corporation
Author:Ross, Ian
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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