Marion set to burn trash for energy

Photo credit: Ashley Felton, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s a huge project – over $100 million dollars huge.

But it’s a go.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported yesterday that the city of Marion may be ready as early as this spring to begin construction on a waste-burning plasma arc that once built, should generate enough energy to power 47,000 – 62,000 homes.

How green and economically feasible in incineration? That’s still up for debate.

In April the New York Times published this great in-depth report about how the technology is catching on in Europe but not the US. It followed up by soliciting opinions on the matter from a broad range of experts. The results were mixed, but the pieces are certainly worth a read.

Unfortunately my feeble, unscientific brain can’t enlighten you any further, except to say it it will be an exciting project to watch. And at this point, most energy plans sound better than the filthy coal we keep burning.

But as planning continues in Marion (and perhaps one day at the UI as the Gazette reported in June) I’m sure we’ll hear more opinions and see more research. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

For those of you reading this who actually are experts on energy, what do you think?

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