City Hosts Another Alternative Energy Company
New Bedford, MA — Ze-gen, a Boston-based alternative energy company, is constructing a “proof of concept” facility in New Bedford to advance its technology by testing the conversion of waste-to-energy. Ze-gen’s technology, if proved successful, will become the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient method of handling solid waste in existence today.
The Ze-gen technology relies on gasification – the conversion of a solid to gas, through a chemical process. The project will focus on converting construction and demolish (C&D) solid waste to gas during its trial in New Bedford. At this stage, the company is testing the conversion, of synthetic natural gas as a power source, but no power will be generated. The gas will be burned off, leaving no emissions. With positive test results, the company hopes to advance the technology further to repurpose gas emitted from C&D and municipal solid waste (MSW) in landfills to electricity in a cleaner, more efficient way.
“If the proof of concept delivers expected results, the full scale project will create 150 jobs,” said Mayor Scott W. Lang.
Each year, in the United States alone, we create and then landfill over
300 million tons of C&D, MSW, and related waste streams.
Landfills now represent the largest manmade source of methane gas emissions, and account for roughly 8% of global warming potential greenhouse gases.
Cities and towns have always been burdened by the amount of waste they generate. As of yet, communities have not developed a clever, economically beneficial way to dispose of their garbage. The traditional approach has been to send this trash to a landfill or an incineration facility; but due to the pollutants landfills and incinerators generate, both to the air and to the ground, there is a great need for new technology that minimizes the impact waste has on the environment. The traditional approaches have also failed to tap into waste’s vast energy potential.
“We see commercial potential in Ze-gen’s developing technology. We are excited to be working closely with Ze-gen to ensure the company’s success, as their success will continue to drive the development of a thriving economy in New Bedford,” remarked Matthew A. Morrissey, executive director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Solid Waste and Air Departments issued conditional permits to Ze-gen for the construction the testing facility at the New Bedford Waste Services (NBWS) site on Shawmut Avenue. The concept facility, located in space rented from ABC Disposal near the NBWS, will be operational for a year beginning in May 2007.
Ze-gen was founded two years ago to develop a better solution to municipalities’ waste problems. Ze-gen is advancing technology that converts mundane waste streams into synthetic natural gas, which is used as fuel for an on-site combined cycle generator to provide power for the surrounding community. Waste gasification is a complete solution to solid waste problems, as the process produces only low-grade metal and inert silica-based material as byproducts
Ze-gen President, Bill Davis, explained how the company chose New Bedford. “It was a partnership formed through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. They indicated that ABC Disposal/New Bedford Waste Services was doing ‘some innovative and thoughtful work relating to recycling’ and suggested that we should partner up.”
“The New Bedford Economic Council has been involved in our company’s progress thus far and it is providing us with the assistance we need to become commercially successful in New Bedford,” Bill Davis said.
Upon a successful proof of concept facility Ze-gen hopes to build the first full-scale facility in the city as well. New Bedford provides an ideal location for this demonstration facility and the city is very supportive of the company’s efforts. The development of Ze-gen’s technology in New Bedford helps to define the city as Massachusetts’ leader in the renewable energy sector. Developing a strong renewable energy sector in New Bedford is greatly beneficial to the city, as it leads to real job creation that can be utilized by the existing New Bedford job force. The construction and operation of Ze-gen’s first full-scale facility, which will gasify 500 tons of waste per day and generate 30 megawatts of renewable energy to New Bedford, requires a significant workforce that the city is well-positioned to offer.
In addition to the very real job creation potential, the company’s technology is beneficial in that it reduces New Bedford’s dependence on landfills, an environmental hazard, while reducing the city’s waste. Reliable, renewable energy is generated in the process. Ze-gen’s facilities rely only on fees charged for taking the waste and for the sale of electricity for their profitability; no subsidies are needed to produce favorable economics on the facilities.
Visit www.ze-gen.com for more information about the company.