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Advisory board learns about power plant technology

The ReVenture Park Advisory Council met today to hear from a North Carolina businessman involved in research and development of the type of technology that is likely to be used in the proposed 30-megawatt renewable-energy biomass power plant planned for western Mecklenburg County.

Richard Tucker of Locust, N.C., based-Tucker Engineering discussed pyrolysis gasification, a process being discussed for use at the $30 million recycled-fuel facility expected to divert approximately 340,000 tons of waste annually from local landfills.

Pyrolysis gasification uses high heat and low oxygen to create a synthetic gas used to heat a boiler. The steam created from that process can be used to turn a turbine and create electricity. At ReVenture, the fuel used in the process would be created from municipal solid waste after recyclables and other materials that can cause air pollution are removed.

The exact technology to be used at the power plant has not yet been finalized by Charlotte-based Forsite Development. Tucker is not involved with Forsite in any way, he said.

The Mecklenburg County Waste Management Advisory Board formed the advisory council to research the technology being planned for the power plant. Their findings will be presented to the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners if the board considers using the ReVenture site to handle its municipal solid waste.

ReVenture Park is a 667-acre eco-industrial park being developed on the former Clariant Corp. chemical plant site. The location along the Catawba is a Superfund site, a federal designation given to heavily contaminated areas that pose health and environmental risks. Superfund itself is the name of the federal government’s program to clean up those sites.

ReVenture plans also include a wastewater treatment facility and a 4-megawatt solar field on a 25-acre closed landfill.

The next advisory council meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 19 in the Hal Marshall Services Center auditorium at 700 N. Tryon St. in Charlotte. A Mecklenburg County air quality official will speak at the meeting, along with Bill Gupton, chairman of the Charlotte Sierra Club, which has opposed the renewable-energy biomass power plant.

Tara Ramsey can be reached at tara.ramsey@mecktimes.com.

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