In partnership with Air Products, Sun Energy, through a joint venture company, Louisiana Gasification Facility LLC (LGF), proposes to build, own and operate what they call an “Energy From Waste” (“EfW”) facility” at 3900 Jourdan Road, New Orleans, Louisiana in the New Orleans Regional Business Park.
The LGF would use “Plasma Arc Gasification” technology supplied by Westinghouse Plasma Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alter NRG. Sun Energy and other companies promoting plasma arc and gasification all claim that the technology is not incineration. If you relied on company websites, diagrams and process descriptions, you might not realize that these are indeed two-stage incinerators disguised as “renewable energy” technologies.
While there are differences with traditional incineration technologies, the plasma arc technology proposed by Sun Energy involves incineration/combustion as an essential component. One difference is that while traditional incinerators burn the waste directly, plasma arc heats the waste in the gasification stage, creating a synthetic gas (“Syngas”). Key to the process and technology proposed by Sun Energy is the burning of the Syngas in a turbine or boiler. This combustion process is the incineration that results in emissions of toxic and criteria pollutants into the air. These emissions would include dioxins and furans, highly toxic chemicals linked to a wide range of profound illnesses including cancer, reproductive, developmental and immunological diseases. Plasma Arc Facilities around the country have been plagued with failed equipment and no merit of energy produced from the Syngas Technology has been found.
During the community forum at Dillard University, presenters discussed some of the illegal dumping concerns of residents that pre-dates Hurricane Katrina. Illegal dumping has plagued the New Orleans East community for years with over twenty-seven illegal dump sites. Zoning has tended to act as a “gatekeeper,” for polluting and dangerous facilities. The recent city administration is making an effort to address some of the illegal dumping concerns. The New Orleans Sanitation Department recently launched the Operation Jubilee Project to address illegal dumping in New Orleans. A Quality of Life Officer and Sanitation Ranger have been given the responsibility of enforcing the City’s code enforcement ordinances.
Organizers discussed strategies to develop a comprehensive waste management plan with city officials. The City of San Francisco has a model comprehensive zero waste management plan. New Orleans City Officials will reach out to city officials in San Francisco to explore ideas of implementing a zero waste plan in the city of New Orleans. Organizers also made suggestions to city officials to bring back the Mayors Environmental Breakfast and partner with local environmental groups, schools, and local businesses to host educational seminars to raise awareness about the importance of recycling. History has taught us that if we are not vigilant, our already assaulted communities will become the beacon for dangerous and risky waste technologies that threaten our health, our environment and our communities.