Waste to energy incinerator could solve trash problem in Hawaii County

waste to energy project

Companies compete for the Hawaii W2E project.

A waste to energy (W2E) incinerator might be the solution that Hawaii County has been waiting for to help it deal with its garbage issues and a list of finalists, who are being considered for the project, was released earlier this week.

Three companies have made the short list and all three specialize in producing energy from waste.

The companies include:

• Green Conversion System Inc. – which recently constructed an incinerator for Los Angeles.
• Covanta Energy Corporation. – the operator of HPower incinerator in Honolulu.
• Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. – a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., which won a $125 million bid to develop an incinerator for Hawaii County back in 2008, but the project was canceled.

According to the Green Conversion Systems President Walter Schroeder, he believes that his company has the upper hand over the competition due to the fact that it includes advanced pollution reduction technology that meets the European Union’s high standards. “I’m confident the reason we made it to the next step in the process is our low emissions and low environmental footprint,” Schroeder said.

He also said that the county’s garbage agreement, which involves burning 300 tons of garbage per day, is very achievable because for incinerators this is at “the small end of the range.” However, he did add that with a planned facility it is far simpler to “scale down than to scale up”.

The waste to energy facility is to be located at the Hilo landfill.

According to the county it will take approximately another two years until the landfill is full. That being the case, ash would probably be shipped to Puuanahulu to the West Hawaii landfill. A second request for proposal (RFP) will next be drafted by the county and will only be for the three finalists. This RFP is expected to be issued in July and will be more detailed than the last. Based on the county’s projected timeline, January should be when the winner is announced. However, Mayor Billy Kenoi says that the contract with the chosen company will probably not be signed until April.

Details of the finalists’ proposals and panelists’ rating sheet are kept confidential until after the finalization of a contract. It may be, thought unlikely, that the three companies have offered other solutions to Hawaii County’s waste reduction RFP in addition to the waste to energy project.

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