Florida county to generate energy by vaporizing solid waste

Officials in St. Lucie County, Fla. announced that they have green-lighted a $425 million-dollar facility designed to vaporize landfill waste and wastewater sludge using arcs of plasma. According to an article in USA Today, the process yields a clean-burning gas, an inert slag useful in road construction and very little else. Atlanta-based Geoplasma, which is funding and building the facility, promises it will generate 120 megawatts of electricity a day and run cleaner than natural gas-based plants.

Though plasma-arc gassifcation technology has been used in two small plants in Japan, the 100,000-square-foot Florida facility will be the first of its kind in the United States and the largest implementation of the technology in the world. Geoplasma claims the plant will vaporize 3,000 tons of garbage a day, which would empty St. Lucie’s 4.3-million-ton landfill in 18 years.