S4 Energy Solutions Announces Plasma Gasification Project

Joanna Schroeder

S4 Energy Solutions has recently announced plans to develop a plasma gasification facility at Waste Management’s Columbia Ridge Landfill in Arlington, Oregon. The facility will covert municipal solid waste into clean fuels and renewable energy. Construction is beginning in early summer and the plant will be online by the end of this year. During construction, 28 people will be employed with 16 being permanent once the facility is operational. S4 is a partnership between Waste Management and InEnTec, a deal that was solidified in May of 2009.

“Our goal is to extract as much value as possible from waste and this project will help us recover valuable resources to generate clean fuels, renewable energy and other beneficial products,” said Dean Kattler, area vice president for Waste Management Pacific Northwest. “This project strengthens our focus on renewable energy and new technologies that use waste as a resource. We are committed to growing our business in this region in innovative ways, bringing green jobs to communities where we already have operations and community relationships.”

Using S4’s PEM process, waste materials are prepared and fed into a phase gasification chamber that operates at nearly 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. Once this phase is complete, the waste materials flow into a second closed chamber where they are superheated using plasma, an electricity-conducting gas. Ultimately, the intense heat rearranges the molecular structure of the waste converting it into syngas. From here, the syngas can be converted into ethanol or diesel or into industrial products like hydrogen or methanol.

This site also features a landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) facility which captures methane gas created during decomposition and to use for electricity which powers 5,000 homes in Seattle. Sixty-seven windmills also generate 100 MW of electricity at the landfill and the power is sold to PacifiCorp.

Jeff Surma, president and chief executive officer of S4 Energy Solutions, concluded, “Plasma gasification has garnered a lot of attention recently, as we look for new ways to sustainably manage waste while recovering valuable resources. We believe the project will demonstrate commercial viability of the new S4 integrated system, so that we can implement this technology at many other locations for a wide variety of applications.”

Electricity, Energy, Ethanol, Hydrogen, Waste-to-Energy