The decommissioning of ICM's prototype gasifier at the Harvey County Transfer Station marks an end — or at least a postponement — of the county's vision of a viable waste-to-energy system.
At Monday's county commission meeting, officials announced the project would be coming to a close, and within six months, all the equipment will be taken down.
"It would bring to a halt our hopes ... of what would be a waste-to-energy facility," said John Waltner, county administrator.
ICM’s Biomass Gasification System, also known as a “gasifier,” burns trash and converts it to synthetic gas, which can be used to generate power in industrial and commercial settings. ICM tested thousands of tons of different types of waste, which are referred to as “feedstocks.” Feedstocks tested included wood chips, wheat straw and refuse-derived fuel (this includes junk mail, cardboard and other paper products thrown away).
Using a gasifier to convert Harvey County trash into energy had once appeared to be a possibility. The Harvey County facility likely would have needed to burn 90 tons of trash per day, a number officials had thought the county could reach.
ICM plans to try to market the technology in a different area, perhaps overseas.
Despite the county's disappointment the project wasn't ultimately viable here in Harvey County, they said their experience working with ICM was positive.
"It really has been just a terrific exercise for us," Waltner said.
Commission chair Marge Roberson agreed.
"It feels really good that Harvey County had the tenacity to push to take a good, hard look at doing something with trash other than putting it in the ground," she said. "I absolutely do not regret any moment we've spent with this partnership."
Waltner does believe the technology will be prove to be viable in the future.
"They're going to be successful," he said of the company. "This is something that's going to happen."