The plant will take in municipal solid waste, remove the recyclables and toxic materials, and condense what remains into a solid fuel pellet that can be burned in a boiler to produce heat for energy. This plant will substantially reduce the processable Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) from entering the landfill. The reduction is expected to extend the life of the landfill by roughly four times. The plant will produce a valuable, efficient fuel which will be used to offset fossil fuel usage.
Two area businesses have contracted to use the fuel pellets- the Soy Energy Bio-Diesel Plant, projected to begin production in September 2007, and the Cherokee Mental Health Institute. The MHI is planning to install boilers that will use the fuel to provide heat for the 750,000 square foot facility , as well as steam for their laundry operations.
The Process Engineered Fuel facility will be funded by a general obligation bond by Cherokee County , and the county will be paid back with revenues generated from the sale of the fuel pellets.
"This new form of renewable fuel will be a great benefit, not only to Cherokee County, but there is potential throughout the State. Initiatives like this offer benefits to everyone by lowering fuel costs to industry and creating jobs, and also it's beneficial to the environment by creating renewable fuel from waste products, lessening our dependence on fossil fuels. Landfills can become renewable fuel production facilities," said Iowa State Senator Ron Wieck .
Senator Wieck of District 27 and Senator Mary Lundby of District 18, were among the large crowd which attended the groundbreaking ceremony on a sunny, windy day Wednesday afternoon. Both Senators were instrumental in sponsoring legislation that enabled the Cherokee fuel pellet facility to be built.
Other speakers at the program were Cherokee Area Economic Development Commission Director Mark Buschkamp, Solid Waste Management Chairman Ken Slater, State Representative Dan Huseman, and Cherokee Landfill director Don Pitts. Each community in Cherokee County also had a representative present for the occasion.
Huseman, Pitts, and Slater did the actual ceremonial ground breaking.