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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mmmmm... burning food slop

The folks over in the Cully neighborhood in northeast Portland are getting a new neighbor -- doubtlessly a stinky one that they won't welcome, at least not for long.

I believe we used to call these places garbage incinerators. Nowadays their function is masked with all sorts of green-sounding names. In any event, more trash that used to go to landfills is now coming to Cully, just like the unwanted duck poop off the bottom of the pond at Laurelhurst Park. You'll never see that sort of thing done where the rich folks live.

Comments (13)

These things can be good neighbors. But there's no reason to suppose that it will go that way here.

Seems like a load of ( c**p) put upon this neighborhood.Why is this?

You might want to take a little time to research what an anaerobic digester is, Jack. It's not an incinerator.

I know what it is. It takes methane gas out of rotting, foul-smelling food garbage and burns it. That's what incineration is -- when you burn something.

The methane used to catch fire in the garbage dumps in Jersey City and burn underground for years. I guess none of the environmentalists who howled about that realized that it was all good.

Anaerobic digestion uses micro-organisms to break down biodegradable material, including food waste. The process produces biogasses such as methane, which are used to fuel turbines which generate electricity. It's not an incinerator; it's an accelerated composting system and power plant.

Yes -- a plant that runs by burning the garbage gas. That's what incineration is -- burning.

Keep trying, though. I'm sure you're convincing somebody that this thing isn't a pig in a poke. But that somebody ain't me.

Hard to belive that rotting garbage being trucked into a facility in large amounts won't produce noxious odors. Anyone that says otherwise is simply lying..

It may or may not be a pig in the poke, but there is no reason it should be one. There are a number of these installed and they woRk well.

Like all engineered systems, the proof is in the running, not the selling, so there are no guaranties. But odors mean contact wIth the atmosphere, meaning death to the organisms that run the show at the basic scale.

I never note a lot of odor from truckS used to pump septic systems, and that's essentially what we're talking here

And this area of Sweden essentially provides all its gas needs from them.


Scott seems so much smarter than the rest of us ... Maybe he can explain how methane powers turbines without being burned.

About 20 years ago they tried the same thing in
Cully. Metro Metal recycling (a scrap yard) is the current resident. 5611 NE Columbia Blvd , There were huge piles of rotting leaves, grass, and more. Because it was all under big sheds and the process would be accelerated with rapid turnover by machines it wouldn't smell. Yeah right. When i would show houses for sale in the area -- one whiff and "We've decided we like Lents better."

At the Columbia Blvd sewage treatment plant, there is a methane generator, from a similar process. Digested sewage off gasses the methane, which is burned to produce electricty. The process actually provides a significant amount of the electricity consumed by the plant. The proper analogy would be more like an internal combustion engine that generates the electricity.

One thing that does need to be addressed - methane is a fairly "dirty" gas, and needs to be filtered before it is burned. Otherwise, the engine will clog and be pretty inefficient.

Scott seems so much smarter than the rest of us ... Maybe he can explain how methane powers turbines without being burned.

My furnace burns methane (natural gas, which is nearly 90 percent methane), but I don't think of it as an incinerator. Incinerators burn solid matter and leave behind ash. Burning gases ain't incinerating -- which is why in waste-management circles anaerobic digestion is explicitly viewed as an alternative to incineration, not a form of it. And it's why even hard-line environmental groups like Greenpease endorse it.

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