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Cayman Islands News

Mount Trashmore – a mountain of resource?
Posted on Thu, 03/21/2013 – 08:35 in Viewpoint

Rolf Stein

In the many years that islanders have sought to resolve the environmental
debacle that looms over the capital, various schemes have been proposed
for dealing with Mount Trashmore; from shipping scrap metal to China,
constructing a dry ski slope and setting up a new waste site at Bodden
Town. The WISE website outlines a plethora of sustainable alternatives,
which, if applied, amount to a comprehensive and sustainable waste
management solution for the future whilst also proposing options for
returning the George Town site to its natural, pre-rubbish dump state
through landfill mining.

During the time that this debate has been raging there has been a
complete revolution in conventional wisdom about waste management. Waste
is becoming increasingly viewed as a revenue-generating resource rather
than as something to be thrown away. New technologies are driving the
change in perception as they have created the means to transform waste
into a resource thereby creating the means for sustainable waste
management and safe, clean landfill removal.

Landfill sites can now be mined for their valuable recyclates because
rubbish dumps and historic waste streams contain concentrations of
valuable materials such as metals that will be processed and recycled.
That which cannot be recycled can be converted into renewable power and
heat using advanced conversion technologies. These new technologies
ensure that the maximum value is extracted from this residual material
enabling the return of landfill sites to their natural state for
development of community use.  Indeed, Advanced Plasma Power (APP) is
pioneering such a landfill mining project in Belgium and such an approach
could be applied to Trashmore.

Taking this view of waste is a complete paradigm shift. Rather than
treating waste as a problem to be disposed of, and relying on
rapidly-depleting sources of fossil fuels to meet our mounting energy
needs, advanced conversion technologies can convert municipal, commercial
and industrial waste into clean, sustainable energy.  Advanced
gasification plants are very compact and are designed to sit
unobtrusively on the edge of towns taking the waste that the town
generates and providing vital, proximate and cost effective resources in
return. Visual and environmental impact are kept to a minimum.

APP’s Gasplasma process is a game changer for managing waste in the built
environment as it produces no waste outputs and has low emissions. APP’s
plasma conversion delivers such a clean, high quality syngas that it can
be used directly in efficient gas engines and gas turbines to generate
power. The process generates no waste outputs as any ash is vitrified
into an environmentally stable and saleable construction product –

Furthermore, the output from the plants need not be limited to power; APP
is also pioneering the way in developing next generation waste to fuel
plants. The clean gas produced by the process can also be used to
substitute natural gas or other fuel gas.

Aligning waste policy with renewable energy policy will allow a
sustainable and cost-effective alternative to current practices.  In the
case of the Cayman Islands the benefits are even more profound. The
ever-growing toxic mound leeches into the water and the surrounding
environs, threatening the environment, tourism and possibly even human
health. The solution really needn’t be that complicated.

Rolf Stein is Chief Executive of Advanced Plasma Power

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