Cleveland Incinerator / Energy

From waste to watts: Cleveland’s controversial pursuit of trash conversion technology

Garbage is unloaded at Cleveland's Ridge Road waste transfer station, where recyclables are processed and trash is prepared for shipment to landfills. Mayor Frank Jackson would like to find a way to use some of that refuse as an alternative energy source for city-owned Cleveland Public Power.

CLEVELAND — ” For years, Cleveland has flirted with a little-known technology for converting garbage into electric power, attracted by the idea of a green alternative to dispatching 230,000 tons of trash to Ohio landfills yearly and relying on coal-fired plants to supply Cleveland Public Power’s customers.

The promise of the technology called ‘gasification‘ might sound too good to be true; environmentalists have argued that it is.

But the possibility that Cleveland will build a ‘waste-to-energy’ plant at its Ridge Road garbage-transfer station seems to have survived several years of public scrutiny, the crusade of environmental groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s declaration that such a project runs the risk of becoming a new major source of pollution for Cuyahoga County.

And though Mayor Frank Jackson’s administrators told City Council members in April that they are ready to ‘hit the reset button’ on the plan — opening the door to new suggestions on how to manage the waste stream or generate energy — city spokespeople say the mayor still believes in the potential of gasification and isn’t done vetting the technology just yet. ”

— Leila Atassi, The Plain Dealer

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