Citizens taking action ~ Vancouver, Lower Mainland, and beyond.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A lot of gasification

First there was the phone call on Monday, January 7th from Mayor Joe Trasolini of Port Moody. He wanted to help me understand the new plasma gasification technology for solid waste. It is not incineration, he assured me. He had visited the Plasco plant and looked thoroughly at it, and he was "pushing" this technology (his word) as the solution to our growing waste problem.

Then a few weeks later the phone rang again. It was a representative of Plasco. He was offering a chance to sit down with Plasco CEO Rod Bryden to learn more about the technology. I told him it was not a good use of either Mr. Bryden's or my time, since I had read Plasco's publicity about plasma technology.

Then last week another phone call. This time it was a familiar name: Ron Unger. Ron was getting back into waste management consulting after a number of years. He wanted to sit down with me and get some background to help him with a new client. I agreed to meet Ron for coffee.

And who did his new client turn out to be? Plasco.

I gave Ron more than two hours of my time and asked him to take back the following message to his client:

There is no way that I will ever support the development of a plasma gasification plant for my region's solid waste. In fact, I will do everything in my power as a citizen to ensure that such a plant is never built in Metro Vancouver.

Like mass-burn incineration, which I also oppose, plasma gasification converts garbage to CO2 and dumps it straight into the atmosphere. This includes biogenic carbon (yard waste, food waste, paper) that could be used to replenish the soil, as well as fossil carbon (plastics) that we should put safely back in the ground where it came from. It also includes the embodied carbon (the energy that was consumed to make the products destroyed through incineration/gasification) -- which may turn out to be the greatest waste of all.
For a really clear explanation of the embodied carbon concept, listen to Clarissa Morawski answering the nonsense peddled by another of Plasco's salesmen, Conservative MP Bob Mills. Mills and Morawski were interviewed on The Current last week. You'll have to wait for the second segment of the show, and the second half of the segment, to hear Clarissa.

Now, Plasco, please take me off your distribution list. It's bad enough to be mined for counter-arguments by paid hacks. But I am particularly uncomfortable when elected politicians "push" specific technologies. This is not their job. It makes me wonder who they are really working for.


Marta said...

Isn't it interesting how Anna Maria was much more critical towards Clarissa than she was to the gasification proponents? Somehow people find gasification easier to swallow than the idea that we can fundamentally change the way we manage materials.

Anonymous said...

"biogenic carbon (yard waste, food waste, paper) that could be used to replenish the soil"
This process produces "Methane"

Marta said...

For those on facebook, join the zero waste vancouver group: