Plasma energy man was here

Posted: Friday, February 13, 2009

Don West, a marketing consultant with Plasma Waste Recycling based in Huntsville, Ala., said he's been in Alaska communities this week and was in Juneau on Thursday, collecting and sharing information related to the plasma gasification technology his company is working on.

The technology is being billed as an economically viable alternative to landfilling to dispose of garbage, a clean process that creates energy as a byproduct. However, skepticism abounds and only a handful of plasma gasification plants exist in the world.

West said his company plans to bring a small scale demonstration facility online in Huntsville, Ala. in April or May to put some of the unease to rest.

"Until people actually see what's happening, kick the tires, I don't know that we can do anything besides educate people," West said.

He would not identify specifically with whom he was meeting in Juneau, saying only that "certain state people wanted to talk to me."

He did confirm that Juneau's solid waste output, about 83 tons a day, is too low to support an economically viable plasma plant on its own. But he did say that pooling trash regionally and adding other waste that isn't typically landfill bound, like sewage sludge and medical waste, could round out the business model.

West had previously been in town to speak to the Juneau Assembly in June about plasma gasification.

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