Plasma May Zap City's Garbage Crisis

New tech could burn off Vancouver's garbage and make electricity
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2008 6:48 PM CST
Plasma May Zap City's Garbage Crisis
An Israeli truck dumps trash at a site near the village of Nelein, just outside the West Bank city of Ramallah, in this picture taken Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007. A Canadian energy company has a plan to get rid of garbage%u2014and generate energy at the same time. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Vancouver may have a fix for its garbage overflow crisis: Burn the trash into a gas that makes electricity. A Canadian company called Plasco Energy Group has proposed a plant that zaps waste into ionized gas, or plasma; about a fifth of it would run the plant and the rest could be sold off. A few plasma plants by other companies have reportedly tanked, but the Vancouver Sun's Harvey Enchin urges the city to try this one.

Enchin admits that Plasco's only demonstration plant, in Ottawa, burns just 40 tons a day—hardly proof that the company can zap 1.5 million tons a year in Vancouver. And he tips a hat to greenies who fear that waste-burning could scuttle recycling and composting. But, he writes, the science stands, and the city is getting a no-risk deal to try a new green technology. (Read more landfill stories.)

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