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by Mike Zazaian September 10, 2006 - 5:17pm, 5 Comments

Florida County to Vaporize 30 Years of Trash - For Energy

The Florida county of St. Lucie plans to build a 100,000 square foot trash-vaporizing plant, and get some energy out of the deal as well.

As garbage production in the United States has doubled over the past three decades, some have chosen to neglect the problem and some, like St. Lucie County in Florida, plan to take the bull by the horns. St. Lucie intends to build the world’s largest trash-vaporization plant over the next two years, an edifice over 100,000 square feet in area, and capable of eliminating 3,000 tons of garbage per day.

Lightning-like plasma arcs will vaporize the garbage at temperatures hotter than the sun, leaving as waste only a rock-like material and some combustible gases. The gases will then be used to power a series of turbines which generate 120 megawatts of electricity, three times more than the plant itself requires to operate.

Offcials in St. Lucie will use this process to eliminate the over 4.3 million tons of garbage that it’s accrued since 1978, and plan to do so in under 18 years. Sludge from the county’s water treatment facility will also be vaporized, some 600 tons a day, the output of which can be used to pave roads and other public works.

Geoplasma, the company that’s chartering the project, claims that no emmisions will be generated during the vaporization process. And while some skeptics believe this all sounds too good to be true, County Commissioner Chris Craft has full faith in Geoplasma and the benefits for St. Lucie:

It addresses two of the world’s largest problems � how to deal with solid waste and the energy needs of our communities. This is the end of the rainbow. It will change the world.”

[via USA Today]