Wicomico County Seeks to Turn Waste Into Energy

In national news last week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that Freshkills Park on Staten Island, once the world’s largest landfill, will soon be converted into the city’s largest solar energy facility. The Mayor is seeking to clean up the site and improve the City’s resiliency.  Read the full story from ThinkProgress

Also this past week, officials from Maryland’s Wicomico County met with representatives of the Maryland Energy Administration to discuss a possible investment in waste-to-energy technology to be placed at the Newland landfill in Wicomico County.

According to Lee Beauchamp,  Director of Wicomico County Public Works Department, Waste to Energy is the next step in providing a realistic solution to municipal solid waste (MSW).

The County is investigating a waste to energy process called Gasification where MSW is heated at low temperatures to produce syngas, a synthetic natural gas, that is used to run large electricity generators.  This process has been used in Europe for many years and now there are four plants in the United States that use it. Our biggest challenge to make this a reality is education, this process is very different from the old “incinerator” technology that many environmental issues. The gasification facility under consideration will be designed to handle 100,000 tons of MSW and  100,000 tons of chicken manure per year. The project will be funded through a Public/Private Partnership with solicitation for proposals beginning in January of 2014.

For more information, contact Director Beauchamp at (410) 548-4810.