Plasco Needs More Time for Financing of Garbage Gasification Facility

By Pam McLennan
Pam McLennan
Pam McLennan
August 22, 2013 Updated: August 22, 2013

OTTAWA—A revolutionary garbage-to-energy business has not yet secured funds required to build a new plant, but will proceed as planned, promises the company CEO.

In order to obtain lender financing for a waste processing centre for Ottawa that would convert garbage to electricity, Plasco CEO Rod Bryden asked for a second extension in a letter to City staff dated Aug. 8.

A 20-year contract worth $180 million between the City of Ottawa and Plasco Energy Group indicated that financing would be secured by March 2013. In it the city agreed to provide 109,500 tonnes of garbage annually for 20 years.

This was followed by an extension for financing to Aug. 31, 2013. 

In the new request, Plasco promises to have all financing in the bag by Dec. 31, 2014, and to be up and running by Dec. 31, 2016 as originally agreed.

The date of final completion of the waste conversion plant has not changed. 

Plasco takes untreated garbage, separates out metals and other undesirable elements, and then uses heated gas (plasma) to produce a synthetic gas that can be used in generators to make electricity (which can be sold back to the Ontario electrical grid) and an inert aggregate that can be used in construction.

The big appeal for Ottawa is that the landfill site will not fill up as quickly when tonnes of garbage are removed for processing, and a new dump site won’t be needed for decades. If the Plasco plant meets stated objectives, as much as 300,000 tonnes of garbage could eventually be processed annually.

A small-scale facility, built last year, is used to demo the technology, but hasn’t been run for any sustained period of time. The technology, and it’s capacity to use tonnes of unsorted garbage from landfill, is yet to be proven.

As for the city, it wants assurances that Plasco is spending money on the project, and that the project will proceed as planned.

Bryden said Plasco is making progress.

“The status of the project today shows very substantial investment and progress on the project, which we believe supports confidence by the city that this facility is being built,” said Bryden.

Bryden’s letter indicated that his company is committed to purchasing $25 million in equipment and services and that investors have provided the $4.9 million already spent. He insists financing from lenders will be obtained and the facility will be built.

The final cost of the new facility could be $200 million.

The City environment committee meets Thursday to discuss the proposed financing deadline and the city’s contract with Plasco.

When The Epoch Times contacted members of the environment committee only councilor Allan Hubley’s assistant responded, indicating that councillor Hubley wasn’t available for interview before the Aug. 22 meeting.

Pam McLennan
Pam McLennan