Experts Call New Fuel Plant a Win-Win, Residents Not So Sure - 8 News NOW

Experts Call New Fuel Plant a Win-Win, Residents Not So Sure

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Residents rally against proposed plant last week Residents rally against proposed plant last week

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- If approved, a gasification plant that will convert construction waste into a usable fuel would be built near Lone Mountain and Losee roads.

The location is not far from businesses, a golf course and a few housing developments.

Neil Williams with the company planning to build the plant, Enviro Power, says no flame and oxidation of waste means little to no emissions will come from the gasification plant.

"The waste is never burned, at that temperature, the gasification process is completely dark. There is no open flame at all," Williams said. "The emissions are 1,000 times lower than the U.S. federal air quality standards. By comparison, the emissions on I-15, going by the facility a mile and a half away, are higher in one day then they are from our plant in one year."

Williams says the $115 million project could create 280 jobs in phase one and 1,000 jobs two years later by converting construction waste into energy to power 50,000 homes.

One UNLV physics professor thinks it is a win-win.

"The real benefit of this is you really reduce the waste stream. You reduce the landfills," physics professor Oliver Hemmers said.

Gasification is a process where fuel is generated by reducing solid material to gas then using the gas to fuel a boiler that generates steam.

It is a process that Oliver Hemmers considers proven.

"In the 80s, it was quite well established. So the technology has been around for quite some time. People know how to handle those systems," Hemmers said.

People who live near the proposed plant are worried about possible unhealthy chemicals released into the air, but Hemmers thinks the benefits of gasification outweigh any risks.

"There is no real smokestack, like in a power plant or garbage-burning facility, combusting facility where you would get all of the pollutants coming out of the chimney. The emissions are really minimal because everything is closed cycle," Hemmers said.

The permitting manager for Clark County air quality says the project looks "reasonable" but the agency is waiting to get more answers before it is approved.

The city of North Las Vegas is tabling this topic at Wednesday's council meeting. It is planning a town hall at 6 p.m. March 8 at Dickens Elementary School.

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