Trash turned into money at new Covington plant - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Trash turned into money at new Covington plant

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COVINGTON, TN -

(WMC-TV) - "One man's trash is another man's treasure." You have probably heard that saying before. Now, a Mid-South company is taking that concept further by turning trash into cold, hard cash.

It may look like something out of the space age, but Covington's new Biomass plant is taking debris off of the streets and turning it into energy.

"We're taking waste, providing electricity, which is saving money and making money," said Covington Mayor Dr. David Gordon.

About 10 tons of organic-type products, like tree limbs, are taken off of the streets of Covington each day.

At the new Biomass facility, those tree limbs are ground up, piled up, dried up, mixed with waste water, then turned into gas. That gas is then turned into electricity through a process called gasification.

"It's an environmental way to break down organic matter in a clean fashion," said Chris Koczaja, PHG Energy.

Covington's Biomass plant has been in the works for years. It is the only one like it in all of Tennessee and the Mid-South.

The plant is saving city money because crews are not hauling and disposing of limbs and other debris picked up off city streets.

"It's important for the environment, for cash flow for the community. When the economy turned bad, we had no way to fund our parks master plan," explained Mayor Gordon.

The life of this Biomass project is about 25 years.

In that time, officials hope to save the city some $3.5 million that will go to improve Covington parks.

"They're on the forefront of what we feel is the alternative energy solution. It enables cities like Covington to merge energy costs and waste costs as well," said Koczaja.

Even though the Biomass plant is online, company officials say they will be fine tuning the process over the next couple of months.

For more information on how Covington's Biomass plant works, click here: http://www.phgenergy.com/waste-to-energy

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