Why Rush To Waste-To-Energy Plant Instead Of Recycling?

Submitted by Kammie Holder

Minister Denis Lowe

I am all for development of alternative sources of energy but not if a dioxin spill is possible. I am attending the premiere of the Climate Change Film Series entitled “Partnership for Resilience” at the Hilton. This film series is sponsored by UKaid, CaribSave, British High Commission Bridgetown, and Australian AID. The Honourable Dr Denis Lowe spoke to a low carbon and green economy. What have me puzzled in another breath the Minister speaks of a Waste to Energy plant where garbage would be burnt to generate energy.

A Government Senator has informed me that this $400 million plant will be using brewery mash and animal offal as feed stock. Thus I need to ask the under mentioned questions.

Why no partnership exist whereby householders can have 1.5kwh Solar Power plants at US5,000 with this $400 million?

Can someone find out from the environmental Minister if a low carbon economy does not mean Carbon Dioxide reduction?

Does not increased Carbon Dioxide lead to increase acidity of seas which is causing bleaching of coral leading to the death?

Whose interest is this Waste to Energy serving?

Why no interest in behavioural change via legislated recycling and education of consumers?

Will this WTE plant be a BOLT arrangement and who are the principles involved as who makes up the government negotiating team?

Does a MOU exist?

Finally, why the rush with this Waste To Energy Plant when much foreign exchange is earned by recycling?

Just had to get that off my chest as all glass, plastics, paper, metals, appliances, electronics, ewaste and plastic bags are now collected and exported for recycling. Government must stop the pretty talk and show sincere results.

45 thoughts on “Why Rush To Waste-To-Energy Plant Instead Of Recycling?

  1. Waste-To-Energy ? in barbados? for 400million?

    This is not logical. we need to stop this from happening.

  2. “Whose interest is this Waste to Energy serving?”

    Everybody knows this pol is keen to get rich through the taxpayers. Not through honest hard work and sacrifice. His reputation precedes him. But the top dog being trumpeted as the beacon of integrity cannot oust him from the inner circle because of party secrets.

    Fortunately for the taxpayers that kind of dosh ($400-500 million) is not floating around either through FDI, BOLT or local bonds. What you would get is study after study with a 25% kickback from the highest cost crony consultant to be diverted to the low(e) envelope.
    What a pity we have such a man at the top with clean hands but weak spirit and an indecisive and cowardly leadership style. The lowe(st) of the lot should be incinerated along with the marina stink fish posing as a source of energy, man.

  3. Spend a few minutes and watch this video.

    It explains to the not so discerning even what is wrong with out world. Think Whitehaven and the South Eat of Barbados.

  4. Transforming waste int energy is a great idea world wide such energy is being used and with the high cost of oil the benefits outweigh the risk which are minimal and are yet solvable. The price tag of $400million is miniscule when compared to the high cost of oil generated electricity in the long term and the savings to the consumer.but then again the political loggerheads must always be raising their ugly heads instead of getting the facts right. This should not be about an individual but about saving the consumer money and a fast forward approachto tapping into renewable energy

    • @ac
      On what scientific evidence do you say it is solvable?

      Concerns regarding the operation of incinerators include fine particulate, heavy metals, trace dioxin and acid gas emissions, even though these emissions are relatively low[5] from modern incinerators. Other concerns include toxic fly ash and incinerator bottom ash (IBA) management. [6] Discussions regarding waste resource ethics include the opinion that incinerators destroy valuable resources and the fear that they may reduce the incentives for recycling and waste minimization activities. [7]. This is open to question, however, as the Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) is produced by recycling centres (MRFs), who make their money from selling on recoverable material, and the name Residue Derived Fuel even suggests that it’s made from what’s left over, not the materials being pulled out. It is not in the interests of the MRF operators to give away for free the very materials they could otherwise sell. Incinerators have electric efficiencies on the order of 14-28%. [8] The rest of the energy can be utilized for e.g. district heating, but is otherwise lost as waste heat.

  5. i am not a scientist but based on proven technology and research which has been done their is a a flue gas cleaning system which controlls and neutralizes and mimimizes the emission making it easier to controll the polluants.with this system mostly what comes out of the chimney into the atmosphere is water vapour. there are also manystringent rules in place that have a limit on on emmisions.it would be best if people read a varity of differing studies before one make a haphazard decision.

  6. I have seen technology where the municipal sewerage is used to produce biogas which in turn goes through fuel cells to produce electricity and hot water as a by product. At present we are dumping millions of $ out to sea with our two plants. These are options to be used to save us forex. Our existing plants can be retrofitted to accommodate twice the existing capacity utilising the present physical space. $400m on a wte plant sounds hugely expensive and there is no mention of the expected returns or how much gas can actually be recovered from the landfill.

  7. I agree with the writer as we live so near to the equator and have one of the highest concentration of Solar penetration, the research exist. People there is abundance of sunshine in Barbados and batteries as back up is the norm. PS Nurse of MTW and others have off grid Solar Power Systems. We are making a mockering of the research of the late Prof Oliver Headley. A 120sq ft of roof can generate as much as 2.5KWH. St Kitts have a successful Solar Farm. Worthwhile to note more jobs would be created from the utilisation of the $400 million for Solar Home Systems do the maths at US5000 per household with the need for hundreds of fitters,installers and repairmen. Stop shooting the messengers the man seem to love the environment

  8. @Ac I am all for alternative energy sources. However, with Barbados being in the Tropics and not in the arctic I thought in an effort to reduce consumers reliance on third party electricity we needed to provide the Solar Power Systems to households. How many times does $10,000 diviide into $400 million?

    The recent nuclear plant incident was not suppose to happen. We need to not only think about now but the future. What about education and legislated recycling to reduce consumer waste. Personally, I think the government needs to have WTE as the very last option

  9. @ Another Headley | March 2, 2012 at 7:12 AM |

    This talk of alternative energy in the form of solar power or ethanol from sugar cane is a lot of political propaganda spinned by politicians to suit their electoral agenda.
    Look and see what is happening with the newly constructed housing projects or large buildings in the Warren area. Do the Coverley and Valerie projects reflect the intended use of solar energy to run domestic appliances and lighting? I might be wrong but these houses are designed as ovens to be heated up daily by the Sun and heat released during the night to make the occupants constantly sick, especially those at Valerie. Are any solar panels being placed on the roofs and Sun reflecting sides of these buildings to generate electricity to run the air conditioning and lighting systems?
    The vested interests of Emera, Sol (what an ironic acronym!), Esso, and the T&T owned businesses in Bim would not be served by any major thrust to solar, wind or ethanol based alternative energy solutions. And you can bet that the oil companies and those foreign-owned interests would be well served by the current political parties and the government’s regulatory and other agencies involved in the energy business.

  10. @ Bush Tea | March 2, 2012 at 9:34 AM |
    As your good book says: “The Truth shall set you free!”

    Or would you recommend I shut up for my own well-being?
    Just asking for your genuine advice.

  11. Right now as i see it it doesnt cost the government any thing to buy waste as we the consumer readily provides it free of cost and that alone is a substantial savings .as for the solar panels which are not so readily availabe and cost wise are more to produce.

  12. @ ac | March 2, 2012 at 10:46 AM |

    What sort of short-term, myopic thinking is that? Have you not heard about climate change, global warming? Why exacerbate the situation by burning ‘waste’ which is produced by imported consumer items burning up forex. Have you factored in the forex savings that can be had by not importing so much fossil-fuel based energy products? Alternative energy solutions with solar, wind, and plant-based sources as their major focus would not only in the long run save forex but also create a healthier environment for both local and tourists alike. We have no choice but to go the route of recycling and clean alternative energy options. Let the WTE be the last card on the table.

  13. @Miller

    Did you watch the video?

    The poignant moment in the lecture is when he mentioned that Canada was one of the world’s great environmental advocates and was one of the first to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol. This was until it discovered the oil/tar sands.

  14. Check out this link…. Actually an old idea being successfully tweaked…. The gov and BLnP ain’t going want the public know… Come … 8pm saturday 3rd march 2012 ..by Nelson.

    Link : http://www.bloomenergy.com/

    Ah just got back from China, now in London …. All bout renewables… In every form…. We got to do more than talk… I ready ..how bout u?

    Douglas Trotman

  15. miller itis time for you to catch up in the present do some research on energy waste and see how much money it is saving government and people it does not contribute in any significant way to gobal warming youir autom.obile contributes more..

  16. Miller solar energy is not asa cost efficient to the consumer as waste to energy it has built in problems and also depends on the climate and its variable changes. the cost to the average consumer is more when it comes to purchasing and replacement and in the event of bad weather the panels can be destroyed with waste to energy those problems are avoidable .there are times when we have to think forward and not be stuck in the same old methods which have already been tried with minimal success.

  17. @ ac | March 2, 2012 at 2:05 PM |

    One is most surprised at your lukewarm attitude, if not opposition, to solar energy since your preferred administration is very must keen on it based on the public pronouncements from both senior public officials and the top brass in the political directorate.

    I support any venture that seeks to tap the expanding gas field at the Mangrove landfill for use in the electric generating plant, if it can be configured cheaply to handle this fuel. But burning waste on a small island is another matter.

    Before I attempt to advance this very important topic we must first establish certain definitions that we can all agree upon or at least accept for argument sake.

    What do you mean by waste? Is it the organic matter placed in plastic bags by Bajans for collection and disposal at mangrove landfill? Is it plastics, paper, metal, abandoned vehicle bodies, rubble from derelict buildings or waste from building sites? Is it offal from the various meat and fish processing plants?
    Please let us have your definition of “Waste”.

  18. miller it is all of the above from everday household waste to bio.All thes when converted are a real source of energy and cost less to do so than solar or even fossil .

    • When will some people understand that the only consideration cannot be always cost when building out a society?

    • A relevant link, there is no perfect solution:

      Most of the “Waste to Energy” facilities in the U.S. became operational between 1980 and 1996. Only three new plants have come on line since 1996 (2 in 1997 and 1 in 2000). To our knowledge, there are no new plants currently under construction. The primary reason for the slow-down in new “Waste to Energy” plants is the environmental concern involving existing plants. Most of these plants were installed without adequately addressing the environmental issues. Due to new emission standards some of these facilities have closed while the majority are undergoing major renovation. The “Waste to Energy” industry is currently in the middle of an $800 million plant upgrade to install adequate air quality control systems that will allow the facilities to meet current EPA standards. Because of their historical emission problems, the Incinerator plants have received and continue to receive significant resistance from environmental groups and negative reviews in the press. “Waste to Energy” Combustion processes have the following disadvantages when compared to the Recovered Energy System™:
      Emissions of tars, furans, dioxins, char, VOC’s, particulates and SOX are higher.
      Combustion processes can only produce steam and electricity, whereas the synfuel from a gasification process can be used for many other applications. These processes use steam turbines are only half as efficient as combined cycle gas/steam turbines that are used by the Recovered Energy System™.
      All of the inorganics contained in the waste come out as ash, which contains char and tars. The amount of inorganics can be as much as 25% by weight which means that landfills will continue to be required to dispose of the ash. The ash has very little use except as a road base because even though it is considered non-hazardous it still has an environmental impact and very few people will use it. The vitrified glass from the the Recovered Energy System™ process has no environmental impact and can be used in numerous applications.
      Most “Waste to Energy” facilities require some form of pre-sorting. In order to reduce the volumes of ash, inorganics are sorted out. They cannot handle all types of waste as the Recovered Energy System™ does.

  19. the cost should not be the only starting point.however the return on the cost is what is necessary before one can be fully committed to a project it makes no sense in investing in a project if it is going to make a loss .common sense. however in the above submission the amount of money mentioned seem to have raised eyebrows for whatever reason.

    • @ac

      Government supplies many services currently at a loss. Barbados is not a capitalist wild country like the USA. There is social cost to factor.

  20. @ ac | March 2, 2012 at 7:06 PM |

    So you agree that we should burn the dung and offal from animals, plastics, paper, glass, old vehicles, building rubble and any thing that does not move.
    Good! Why not dead bodies that are taking up a lot of land space? You could not want a more reliable source of energy than a dead human body after consuming all those calories and waste.
    What sayest thou to this “novel but workable final solution”?
    I can just hear you squirming: Gross, awful, how can he or she think of such despicable and inhumane treatment of our departed?, No respect for the dead in Christ not even the Devil. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, thus sayest the Lord! (Or is it blessed be?). Not my preferred method of disposal but according to you waste is waste no matter the source.
    Tongue in cheek I am!

  21. @david

    No david there is currently a plant in Maryland USA under construction in US taht is going to to complete in 2014 which will process up to 1500tons per day of municipal waste with an electric generating capacity of 55megawatts

    anyhow if you are interested in the facts about Waste to energy This website gives meaninful information


  22. @I think there is something call cremation. People don.t seem to have a problem with that. But the probabilty of using bodies as waste to matter as a conductor of electricity is probable in cases where mother nature has taken full charge and bodies end up in the demolition heap which eventually ends up in land fills.

    • A couple questions for Minister Denis Lowe and the government of Barbados:

      Was the Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre (SBRC) paid nearly $2million in construction waste shortfall?

      Who negotiated this deal?

      What’s the purpose of the Infrastructural Committee responsibility in negotiating these contracts?

      BLP or DLP approve the SBRC sweet heart deal?
      Many of us subscribe to the view that no government contracts or agreements must be kept secret unless there are issues of national security. Who was the lead on this, the MoF?

  23. The problem with bajans that we are great procrastinators alwys waiting to the last minute while other countries forge ahead . we always talk a good game but shun the responsibity of making things happen until the last minute When it is too late. every government in the past failures have been lacked ofvision that is why we are still so far behind in things such as technology

  24. @ac | March 3, 2012 at 11:56 AM |
    “The problem with bajans that we are great procrastinators always waiting to the last minute while other countries forge ahead . we always talk a good game but shun the responsibility of making things happen until the last minute.”

    And who would you say personifies this best?
    The top dog you so greatly admire is the epitome and archetype of this syndrome of inertia, vacillation, double speak, mind changing, failure to follow through and last minute fire fighting. I am sure you” bf” old onions would provide a list of cases and situations where the top dog exemplified these characteristics of the true “problem Bajan” except of course in the appointment of his school pal to one of the highest posts in the land.

  25. Miller the procrastinators have been across the spectrum. Case and point. After 14 years our streets are still flooding when technology has been available for so many years to correct those problems but instead one administration passes it on from one to another and the same thing with the waste management plant, instead we opt for cheap and in the long run we end up with nothing.

  26. @ ac | March 3, 2012 at 7:40 PM |

    What do you mean by “after 14 years”? Why not include the last 4 years (2008 to now) or even from 1986 to 1994? If you expand your time horizon instead of your biased and fixated “14 yrs of plenty” whipping boy, maybe your reference to passing the problem(s) on from one administration to the next might just make a modicum of sense in a balanced scale of intellectual fair play and political analysis.

  27. Miller pick whatever year /s you like it would still include the 14years. However i am optomistic that this administration would forge ahead since time is of the essence to bring past forward and put barbados in the upper echelons of a growing and highly respected technological driven society one that is evenly matched with the best of the best countries.

  28. @ ac | March 3, 2012 at 8:19 PM |
    You are the one doing the “year picking”; 14 years and all that reference. I just wanted you to be a bit more ‘all embracing’, get my drift.

    You should advise the current administration to start with the roads across this country. The road network (not so much the ABC Main Road) is in a sorry state of disrepair and degradation. Roads represent a vital segment of a country’s infrastructural asset base. One of the major mistakes in managing a country’s public goods sector is to allow a widespread degradation of its vital road system. When the degradation reaches such a critical mass stage as to necessitate multiple and simultaneous corrective action then widespread road repairs would require constant and ongoing traffic diversion and delays. Not only is this mistake costly to this country’s vehicle maintenance demands and an obvious drain on forex for parts etc, but also contributes to further dreadful gridlock resulting in wastage of human / workers productive time and scarce and costly imported fuel for vehicles.

    It is during a period of economic recession that road maintenance and upgrade forms part of range of strategies employed by any “enlightened” government to keep things going and hopefully fuel recovery. The USA & Germany employed similar tactics during the 1930’s recession and indications are that the Obama administration is thinking along similar lines.

    Let this administration show us that it has the vision, fortitude and will to curtail and reverse the decay in infrastructural maintenance. Let them start with the simple and easily achievable things like:
    Remove the debris placed on the pavements (sidewalks) by the NCC and other within a 24 hour time frame.
    Construct pavements along the Hastings to Oistins stretch of Highway 7 to accommodate the disabled and walkers both local and visitor alike. Similar thing could be done for the West Coast and parts of Bridgetown.
    Ensure the roads are repaved within a reasonable period of time after they have been dug up by the utilities companies for one reason or the other.

    Let them achieve these simple things and they will have the green light to execute more “sophisticated” projects that could Bim technologically on par with “the best of the best countries”.

  29. miller i am certain that the present administration would agree with you.hopefully you would give them a chance to prove themselves worthy of such and more missions.

  30. It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I’m satisfied that you just shared this useful info with
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  31. Mr. Cherry has said in local media that many of the large ships which bring containers leave the island empty. He proposes to send them back out full. Please give Project Recycled Ltd a call and like their page on Facebook.

  32. More carbon dioxide also leads to more NCDs, but the Ministry of Health and others are only sticking to unhealthy eating and not exercising as the only reasons for them. The EU has a limit for carbon dioxide above which its members dare go, unless it wants to have a fine imposed for so doing. The Minister of the Environment has stated that he has environmental plans for our statute books, but they cannot be implemented until next year. Yet, the Minister of Finance can push through some willy-nilly tax which he dreams up within tow or three months. It seems that taxes are more important than our health!

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