Waste to Energy
WASTE-TO-ENERGY FACILITY SITE SELECTION
Whether your WtE project involves incineration, pyrolysis, gasification, anaerobic digestion, or another process, site selection is a necessary and critical project element. Site selection involves an often-complex series of challenges and opportunities that involve research, an ability to seamlessly interact with a wide variety of regulatory and governmental agencies.
SITE SELECTION CHALLENGES
- A steady and consistent supply of waste (fuel) is critical to project success. The site location must be convenient to waste haulers.
- The type of waste must be considered. Each waste has its specific biological, environmental, and logistical characteristics. Factors such as waste uniformity, odor, and processing equipment needed will influence site and project development.
- The waste will require storage, handling, and processing. The site must not only accommodate these activities, but provide reserve capacity for times when additional waste is available or for facility expansion.
- Real estate cost can, of course, make or break the project.
- Political concerns are unique to each location. For example, a community that has a long history of environmental activism would almost certainly present challenges.
- Permitting requirements involve both detailed knowledge of the permitting process and a solid working relationship with the governmental and regulatory agencies. For example, regional air permitting requirements may make a project unviable.
- Site geology must be suitable to support equipment, structures, and waste stockpiles.
- It’s imperative that the engineering consultants have developed their own extensive database of information gleaned from their own experiences in project management, design and site selection. They should also have access to shared data/intelligence from national, state, and local agencies.
- The flexibility to stay on top of new and emerging technologies to assess the potential value and utility of these.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO CONSIDER
- Regional and community tax bases should be considered; it might be much less expensive to operate a facility in Kentucky than Southern California. What’s saved in tax expenditures could be used for operational costs.
- Plant accessibility and the ability to draw upon a readily available workforce are key concerns.