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Eco-Industrial Park Being Eyed for 4th Street - With Plasma Gasification

First, before I start, I'll define what an eco-industrial park is. An eco-industrial park (EIP) is an industrial park in which businesses cooperate with each other and with the local community in an attempt to reduce waste and pollution, efficiently share resources (such as information, materials, water, energy, infrastructure, and natural resources), and help achieve sustainable development, with the intention of increasing economic gains and improving environmental quality. An EIP may also be planned, designed, and built in such a way that it makes it easier for businesses to co-operate, and that results in a more financially sound, environmentally friendly project for the developer.

So that brings us to east 4th Street. There is a Waste Management Transfer Station on Commercial Row just off East 4th Street. You have probably smelled it while biking on the bike path just east of the RGJ offices. The City of Reno, and Waste Management are exploring turning this area into what I described above. See the map below. Waste Management wants a 20-year contract with the city so they can make a capital investment in the project.

The process would involve building a reclamation facility, a possible plasma gasification plant, and a 'forward processing' of recycled materials.

I am most excited about the Plasma Gasification Facility. The first one opened in Ottawa in 2008. It's an amazing technology that is practically non-existent in America right now. Basically the diagrams below explain it. You stick in waste, even toxic waste, and a high-temperature plasma chamber thing converts the garbage to electricity, ethanol, different metals, even distilled water. The electricity generated from this system would be fed into NV Energy's grid. Because the temperature of the plasma arc is so hot, there no toxic materials produced in the combustion process. While there are more efficient means of producing energy from garbage, such as incinerators, it's the fact that waste is completely neutralized without polluting the air that has so many eyebrows raised with this technology. Keep in mind, I am not a scientist-type and am explaining all this in the best terms I know, so I urge you to do more exploring on this technology.


And as a side benefit to all this, there's a class of tourists called Eco-Tourists who would flock to Reno to see a waste reclamation system like this in action.

I don't know all the details yet, like how much waste it could process or what percentage of Reno's waste overall it could process, but according to mumbling in the RAAB meeting, it could result in a single stream recycling system, meaning we have one single bin for all our recyclables instead of the yellow and green ones. Waste Management is looking for a 20 year contract from the city so they can make a capital investment in the project.

There would be no kind of discharge into the river of any kind.

So the action plan is to amend the East 4th Street Transit Oriented Development Corridor to allow for this type of thing to be built. Then to transfer the ReTRAC properties involved to the RDA who could then sell the parcels to potential Ecoindustrial Park users (Materials Reclamation Facility and Plasma Gasification etc). Then work out a contract with Waste Management or Castaways who also seems to be a player in the project.

Thoughts?

 

Comments:

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Posted by: Downtownmakeoverdude - 1/5/2010 8:31:12 PM
I want to add that this is all in very early stages of planning, but it is an exciting development with many interested players.

Posted by: Doofus - 1/5/2010 8:50:37 PM
Well gasify my plasma. Maybe we can put the eco-tourists up at the King's Inn to intensify their Reno experience! Seriously, this sounds really, really cool. That area of town is a wasteland (so to speak) that will never see any other sort of redevelopment. If I'm understanding the "single line" process correctly, we dump everything into one can, the recyclables get sorted out and recycled, and the rest of the crud gets gasified into a bunch of things that can be sold. Even if we had a 2 can system, it would be OK. The rub is that Reno (and Washoe / Sparks?) needs to enter into a 20 year contract with the evil empire itself, Waste Management, to make this happen. Is the Reno City Council smart enough to craft a deal that protects us Joe's that roll out our trash cans each week from gouging from a monopoly? I think this one just might happen and lead to our new marketing slogan - "Reno-Tahoe USA: Gasified!"

Posted by: SmartBrander - 1/6/2010 6:45:07 AM
This could be the start of a true revitalization of our image regionally. A single stream recycling system that could actually produce raw materials that are reusable would help create a sense that Reno isn't just a sleepy old gambling town. If there's an opportunity for our eco-groups (Project ecoBrand & Green Drinks) to help lobby for a smart, cost-effective development like this - we'd be up for the volunteer work. While the details certainly aren't in place, the concept is more than exciting.

Posted by: EcoReno - 1/7/2010 10:44:38 AM
Really hopeful that we can pull something like this off. Our current situation is just embarrassing. It is not just something that we should do - it is something that we NEED to do.

Posted by: wiley_n_reno - 1/7/2010 12:36:25 PM
this project looks like a fantastic use of the semi-vacant, ugly, land that seems to occupy way too many acres just east of downtown! If they actually build it, coupled with the Peppermill's current geo-thermal hot water project; Reno will have two easily seen green/eco projects going for it.

Posted by: Don Vetter - 3/4/2010 4:34:44 PM
Great thought, but why such a use in the river corridor? Upstream from a drinking water intake. That piece of property has been sore spot for the riparian zone as long as I can remember and the rocked/rip-rap along the bank is not very eco-friendly

Posted by: gael - 12/7/2010 5:22:37 PM
great idea that I'd like to see realized. BUT, what a waste of our beautiful river corridor! I've seen waterfronts (bays, ocean, and rivers) with heavy industrial use converted to maximize the natural beauty of the resource. A couple to give you an idea are Portland OR and San Francisco CA. The waterfront area of both of those towns turned those areas around 180 degrees once they were de-industrialized and human scale development followed. I'm sure within Washoe County the three government entities must have land that is tradeable that would be more appropriate.

Posted by: Lucas - 9/13/2012 1:51:16 PM
The city should authorize the contract...maybe even for a longer duration...provided that they implement the plasma gasification system. Make it part of the contract and I'm in. Someone call the RGJ and tell them to write a story!

 

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