Bill Manes of the Orlando Weekly did a cruel thing in his report on plans to turn garbage into energy for the city. He actually checked if the scheme would work.
Bradley Angel of Greenaction just returned from a three-country tour of Asia, visiting existing gasification plants. There, he says, the tone is not quite so optimistic.
At a plant in Nagareyana, Japan, a gasification company made the same claims being made here in Orlando: They could generate electricity with zero emissions.
"By the end of our tour, the plant managers indicated that all of their key claims were false," Angel says. "Greenaction has dealt with many of these around the world. If a company claims that we can gasify the waste, then they're saying that we are magicians."
The Japanese plant was importing 30 percent of its power from Tokyo Electric, he says, producing one-third less than it promised and using kerosene to power its generator. Accidents were a regular occurrence.
Maybe Orlando will want China to try it first?