Eco-Industrial Park Being Eyed for 4th Street – With Plasma Gasification

by SmartBrand Partner, Mike Van Houten author of

First, before I start, I’ll define what an eco-industrial park is. An eco-industrial park (EIP) is an industrial park in which businesses cooperate with each other and with the local community in an attempt to reduce waste and pollution, efficiently share resources (such as information, materials, water, energy, infrastructure, and natural resources), and help achieve sustainable development, with the intention of increasing economic gains and improving environmental quality. An EIP may also be planned, designed, and built in such a way that it makes it easier for businesses to co-operate, and that results in a more financially sound, environmentally friendly project for the developer.

So that brings us to east 4th Street. There is a Waste Management Transfer Station on Commercial Row just off East 4th Street. You have probably smelled it while biking on the bike path just east of the RGJ offices. The City of Reno, and Waste Management are exploring turning this area into what I described above. See the map below. Waste Management wants a 20-year contract with the city so they can make a capital investment in the project.

The process would involve building a reclamation facility, a possible plasma gasification plant, and a ‘forward processing’ of recycled materials.

I am most excited about the Plasma Gasification Facility. The first one opened in Ottawa in 2008. It’s an amazing technology that is practically non-existent in America right now. Basically the diagrams below explain it. You stick in waste, even toxic waste, and a high-temperature plasma chamber thing converts the garbage to electricity, ethanol, different metals, even distilled water. The electricity generated from this system would be fed into NV Energy’s grid. Because the temperature of the plasma arc is so hot, there no toxic materials produced in the combustion process. While there are more efficient means of producing energy from garbage, such as incinerators, it’s the fact that waste is completely neutralized without polluting the air that has so many eyebrows raised with this technology. Keep in mind, I am not a scientist-type and am explaining all this in the best terms I know, so I urge you to do more exploring on this technology.

And as a side benefit to all this, there’s a class of tourists called Eco-Tourists who would flock to Reno to see a waste reclamation system like this in action.

I don’t know all the details yet, like how much waste it could process or what percentage of Reno’s waste overall it could process, but according to mumbling in the RAAB meeting, it could result in a single stream recycling system, meaning we have one single bin for all our recyclables instead of the yellow and green ones. Waste Management is looking for a 20 year contract from the city so they can make a capital investment in the project.

There would be no kind of discharge into the river of any kind.

So the action plan is to amend the East 4th Street Transit Oriented Development Corridor to allow for this type of thing to be built. Then to transfer the ReTRAC properties involved to the RDA who could then sell the parcels to potential Ecoindustrial Park users (Materials Reclamation Facility and Plasma Gasification etc). Then work out a contract with Waste Management or Castaways who also seems to be a player in the project.


One Response to “Eco-Industrial Park Being Eyed for 4th Street – With Plasma Gasification”

  1. Greensheenaveen Says:

    How about economic feasibility of plasma gasification process? There is not much information available about capital cost and O&M cost of this technolgy.

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