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Garbage-to-Fuel Plant Coming to W.Va.


A European method for converting garbage to fuel is coming to West Virginia. The Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority has signed an agreement to lease part of its property to the Italian company Entsorga. The company will build a $19 million facility there.

The mixed waste resource recovery facility will sit on 12 acres next to the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority’s Grapevine Rd. recycling center.

“Entsorga has a patented technology where waste that’s picked up at the curb and normally would be taken to the landfill is redirected to a building,” Clint Hogbin, BCSWA chairman, said.

The garbage is then sorted and processed into a product that can be burned like coal and natural gas to create BTU’s. According to Entsorga’s web site the product is a clean-burning alternative that large energy consumers like steel mills, power plants and cement plants can use in place of or with fossil fuels.

Hogbin estimates the mixed waste resource recovery facility will reduce the amount of trash from Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties sent to the landfill by 65 to 75 percent.

Hogbin said the facility will separate out recyclables and items that won’t generate high BTU’s, things like glass bottles and aluminum cans.

“What are left after those items that are pulled out are the items that are cleaned, dried and shredded and ready to be used as a substitute to coal,” he said.

Hogbin said Entsorga is coming to Berkeley County because there are several locations within a couple hundred miles where the fuel can be sold, including the Italian-owned ESSROC cement plant in Martinsburg, which already burns coal.

Hogbin said the Entsorga facility will employ up to nine people and there will be additional spinoff jobs once it’s open.

Hogbin hopes the new facility will demonstrate it’s possible to find new ways to deal with garbage and everything doesn’t have to go to a landfill. Entsorga plans to begin building sometime in the spring or summer.

Cecelia Mason is West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Eastern Panhandle Bureau Chief. Cecelia has worked in the Shepherd University bureau since December 1990 covering a variety of stories throughout the Eastern Panhandle and in Washington D.C. She can also be heard hosting Inside Appalachia.

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