A $25 million trash-to-fuel facility in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle can set a standard in solid-waste recovery, officials said at a groundbreaking ceremony.
The ceremony was held Wednesday for Entsorga West Virginia's facility in Martinsburg. Construction is expected to begin in the spring and the plant is anticipated to open in early 2017 with 20 workers.
It will use a mechanical biological treatment system to organize incoming waste without the need for employees to sort it by hand. Entsorga says the facility will divert municipal solid waste from landfills and use it to produce alternative fuels.
The plant is on 12 acres leased by the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority and is expected to accept up to about 10,000 tons of solid waste per month.
In August the state Economic Development Authority board in Charleston authorized a 15-year bond to finance the project.
The facility, which will convert household waste into clean-burning solid fuel, "will be a model for the rest of the country," said Pietro Cella Mazzariol, chief executive officer and director of Tortona, Italy-based Entsorga Italia. "This is a significant milestone for the United States. We are thrilled to be providing this proven technology."
Other partners in the project are residential waste hauler Apple Valley Waste of Kearneysville and Wilmington, North Carolina technology and engineering firm Chemtex International.
Media outlets report the fuel will be sold to an Essroc cement plant in Martinsburg, replacing a significant amount of coal burned in the plant's manufacturing process.
"This will be a game-changer for Berkeley County and the Eastern Panhandle in solid-waste recovery," said Clint Hogbin, chairman of the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority. "Today is a very important event impacting the future of solid waste in not only the Eastern Panhandle, but also the entire state of West Virginia."