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Plans are underway to launch the Caribbean’s first Waste to Energy (WTE) plant in St. Kitts as early as November.
Nigel Herbert, Chief Executive Officer of Nicol International Services Trading and Development Inc. told The Observer that his company has partnered with Naanovo Energy Inc out of Canada to form the renewable energy entity Naanovo-Nicol Energy Ltd. Naanovo Group of Companies comprises subsidiaries and affiliated companies in the United Kingdom, the Gambia, Uganda, Nigeria, Syria, Guatemala, El Salvador, Brazil, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, the United States and Canada.
Herbert explained that proposals are currently being considered by the government for the construction of a 7 MegaWatt WTE plant. This plant would not only produce energy, Herbert said, but also other commercial by-products.
“My company has teamed up with a top-notch entity in renewable energy to offer to government to develop a waste to energy plant here in St. Kitts. That means we will be burning garbage to produce energy, in our case 7 MW of electricity and a portion of bottled water and building blocks coming from the same burning of the garbage,” he said. “Government is looking at the proposals right now.”
The WTE plant would be constructed within the confines of the Solid Waste Management Landfill at Conaree, on the outskirts of east Basseterre. The plant would combust municipal solid waste and the ash produced would be used in the production of cinder blocks. Herbert told The Observer that the proposed WTE unit would comprise a bottling plant, bottle making plant and cement plant. While his company would handle the production and sale of the bottled water, the electricity generated would be sold to government.
“It’s like a recycling factory and we are now discussing contracts to deal with our company bottling water. The electricity will be generated by the company but distributed by government.”
Garbage collection on St. Kitts, which is conducted by the Solid Waste Management Corporation, will operate as usual with the SWMC supplying garbage to the WTE plant. Herbert said his company was considering maybe enhancing garbage collection on the island but that would come later on.
Herbert said ahead of the proposed November construction start date, the existing waste at the Landfill will be baled and stacked, thus making the area more environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing.
“All the garbage that is over at the Landfill right now is going to be baled, stacked and stowed so over there will look clean, smell clean, no flies, no garbage will be over there afterwards. And this will happen before construction of the plant begins. That is phase one; then the factory will be built. So you have an idea of what this will mean for the island in terms of dealing with the garbage problem as well as our energy problem,” he said, adding that some 2 and a half years worth of garbage will be stored based on existing pile up and what will be collected daily.
Additionally he said, in replacing the current method of disposing of municipal solid waste into landfills, “the new WTE plant will reduce the amount of harmful emissions entering the atmosphere by approximately 119,280 tons of carbon equivalent, which has the same effect as removing 29,820 cars from the road”.
Refrigerators, because they contain gas, and car batteries will not be burned in the factory in the initial stages, but plans were in place to handle old cars and fridges, Herbert noted.
The Naanovo-Nicol Energy Ltd Managing Director told this media house that once his company received the green light from government, the baling of garbage would start in November after which construction of the WTE plant itself would soon follow.
When completed, the 7 MW facility will generate enough base-load power to supply 7,000 – 8,000 homes on the island. It is scheduled to become operational by November 2013 and according to a company press release, “interest has already been expressed from other islands in the Caribbean for Naanovo’s solution and the company fully expects to explore other opportunities in the Caribbean in the coming months”.