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Florida Keys may use gasification for electricity generation

The US-based Florida Keys islands may use gasification technology to convert waste into electricity, according to media reports.

According to news website Waste360, Monroe County, which encompasses Key West and about 95% of the rest of the Keys islands, is finalising a contract with Annapolis, Maryland-based Energy3 LLC to build a gasification plant capable of processing 50,000 tonnes of organic material.

The county had sought an RFP in 2014 to improve the sustainability of its yard waste elimination program, and signed a roughly $7m (€6.41m) contract then with Energy3 to examine building the plant. The county's Board of Commissioners plan to meet Wednesday with the company to go over final terms for the contract.

The project, if built, would be one of the only gasification plants in the US, and the only plant to be built primarily for yard waste material. Patrick Saty, a partner at Energy3, says Florida's new focus on sustainability, plus increased waste removal and electricity costs, combined to make the project feasible.

"In areas where electricity and/or waste disposal costs are low, gasification is just not financially feasible," Saty said.
He added: "However, there are areas on the coasts where electricity has become much more expensive, and waste removal costs are also high, that the resulting net revenue stream of waste savings and electricity generation offset the capital costs of the project."