The Waste-to-Energy (WTE) plant burns our garbage, reducing its volume by 90 percent. This means there is less material to go in the landfill. When the WTE plant burns trash, it makes it into electrical energy, and leaves ash behind.
The plant burns garbage, heat from the burning garbage boils water, the water makes steam, and the steam turns a turbine to make electricity. The white "smoke" that comes out of our cooling towers is actually water vapor! Both ferrous (steel) and non-ferrous (aluminum) metals are recovered from the ash by using magnets and eddy currents. The recovered metals are sold to smelters for recycling, and the ash is used for landfill cover.
Facts about our WTE plant:
- It can burn 3,000 tons of garbage every day, or almost one million tons per year!
- Burning garbage can produce up to 75 megawatts (MW) per hour of electricity.
- After we use some energy to run the plant itself, we sell about 60 MW of electricity to Duke Energy. This electricity powers around 43,000 homes and businesses every day.
Industrial Water Treatment Facility:
For our waste-to-energy plant to work, it needs a lot of water! The biggest use of water in the waste-to-energy plant is in our cooling towers. Cooling towers cool down hot steam that is made in the waste-to-energy plant.
In the past Pinellas County Solid Waste received their water the same way many Pinellas citizens do: by buying reclaimed water. Recently we built an Industrial Water Treatment Facility (IWTF) here at Solid Waste that can give us all the water we need. The IWTF works by taking water from a large retention pond on site at Bridgeway Acres and cleaning it. When pond water goes through the IWTF, the water is cleaned. That means we conserve water by using what we have, we save money not having to buy more water and we make the pond water a little cleaner all at the same time!