From: Alice Kenny, The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y.
Published November 16, 2004 12:00 AM

Montgomery, N.Y., Recycling Facility Plans Garbage-to-Energy Plant

Nov. 16—MONTGOMERY, N.Y. — Hoping to cash in on soaring natural gas prices, Taylor Recycling Facility plans to create a first-of-its-kind garbage-to-energy plant that it says would help the environment, create inexpensive gas and give the company a financial windfall.

The plant, proposed for its current Montgomery site would heat organic debris, such as wood chips, then use a process that would convert them into gas to create electricity.

"We're getting paid to take the waste, then create the fuel," said company Chairman Jim Taylor. "And we can sell it for 10 percent less than market price." Currently, the Montgomery plant recycles 97-percent of the construction and demolition debris it receives, company officials said. By converting garbage to energy, it could reuse nearly 100 percent of this debris.

It could create significantly more gas, still, if it added garbage to the debris the Montgomery site accepts.

"We're not yet proposing taking in garbage," Taylor said. His company unsuccessfully pursued a fiercely opposed plan in 1999 that would have brought 6,000 tons a day of garbage to a Newburgh transfer station.

Bringing garbage to Orange County has never proved popular or, so far, workable. Masada has fought for over a decade to build a waste-to-ethanol plant that would bring garbage to Middletown and convert it to ethanol.

Taylor, a political insider, outlined his proposal yesterday to state and local officials at his Neelytown road plant. Taylor served as an alternate delegate for the Republican convention in New York City was a former member of the Orange County Republican Committee and past chairman of the City of Newburgh Republican committee. Guests at his presentation included Sen. William Larkin, R-C-Cornwall-on-Hudson, Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun, R-C-I-Blooming Grove, and Montgomery town Supervisor Susan Cockburn.

Currently, landfills capture about 30 percent of greenhouse-effect-producing methane gas. The remainder seeps into the atmosphere. If successful and if adopted widely, Taylor's plan could eliminate the need for many new landfills.

"This is the closest solution to the issue of garbage than anything else I've come across," Cockburn said after the meeting.

The United States Department of Energy successfully test-ran this biomass to energy program at Battelle Memorial Institute labs in Columbus, Ohio, and Burlington, Vt., back in the late 1990s, spokespersons for Battelle said.

Over the past five years, natural gas prices have more than tripled. So, Taylor said he invested over $2 million studying how to implement the process at its sites. He is negotiating with a financial partner, whose name he declined to disclose, who would help finance the possible $100 million plant and corporate center. He hopes to obtain site plan permits from the town of Montgomery and air and solid waste permits from the Department of Environmental Conservation by early next year.

"This technology will change the way the world handles its waste disposal," Taylor said.

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© 2004, The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

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