Anaergia says landfill, energy crop projects workable, nature friendly
VIEWPOINT March 22, 2015
By KARL BOSSERT ,
The Maui News
While Doug McLeod is entitled to his views (Viewpoint, March 18), unfortunately his opinions seem to be based on inaccurate information and assumptions, and perhaps from a lack of familiarity with Anaergia's proposals and the enabling technologies.
Anaergia's proposal is based on maximizing recycling, anaerobic digestion of organic materials and reducing the amount of material that ends up in the landfill. This approach has received endorsement from environmental experts.
The clean-engineered solid fuel is produced from the materials after the recovery of recyclables and organic materials. This type of fuel is largely renewable and has uses and markets on and off the island. It will be designed to meet EPA standards.
It seems that Mr. McLeod is not familiar with advances in technology that have taken place in several decades since the HPower plant was first engineered, so the comparison between fuel produced at that plant and the one to be produced by Maui Resource Recovery Facility is not rational. If used on-island, this type of fuel would reduce the mining, processing and shipping of coal to Maui and improve our carbon footprint. If shipped to Oahu, what can be more sustainable than utilizing the thousands of empty containers being barged back to Oahu after filling the shelves of Maui stores? If shipped off the islands, it still provides a net reduction in global greenhouse gases besides helping Maui achieve significant landfill diversion.
Anaergia is also exploring options to reduce the solid fuel by converting more of the residual matter into methane gas through anaerobic digestion and other processes. Through continuous improvement, it is our mission to build a resource recovery center that is a model for others to follow.
Mr. McLeod's assertion that the methane gas produced will be more expensive is also based on inaccurate information. Anaergia's proposal to grow an energy crop in West Maui with recycled water provides a clear solution to the injection wells currently being used. Mr. McLeod did not mention that the wastewater treatment plant is at lower elevation and almost any solution to reuse the water will require pumping of water. During wet conditions, flexibility in water disposal is made by regulatory agencies, otherwise all municipalities would violate their permits when it rains.
All wastewater treatment facilities are different and the use of injection wells at different elevations and into different geology may not be an issue at all.
No solution to a problem is ever perfect, but the fact that Maui County has taken positive steps to address some serious issues in a positive way deserves applause. The world will be a better place through the collaboration and proposal of viable alternatives rather than criticism of worthy efforts to serve motives of a few.
Sustainability is not a silver bullet - it is achieved through incremental improvements. Anaergia invests heavily in developing and improving existing technologies that enable carbon footprint reduction, water reuse and nutrient recovery from organic wastes. Our mission is to leave this planet a better place for our children and others who follow us.
*Karl Bossert is director of business developmentPacific region for Anaergia Services. Anaergia is a California-based firm that has contracted with Maui County to build a state-of-the art waste conversion facility at the Central Maui Landfill in Puunene.
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