GARY | Discussions are under way to establish a partnership that would bring a waste-to-energy plant to the city, according to J. Forest Hayes, director of the commerce with the Gary Economic Development Corp.
Organic Solutions Management is an Indiana company with decades of experience managing waste disposal facility throughout the country, said Chelsea Whittington, Gary spokeswoman.
The company would manage the Gary Renewable Energy Plant. A location for the plant is still in the discussion phase, Hayes said.
Food waste from food manufacturing plants throughout the area would fuel the plant. Those include manufacturers of bread, beer, and other items, Hayes said.
The anaerobic process utilizes bacteria in the absence of oxygen to break down organic materials, producing methane, according to the Cranfield Water Science Institute. That gas is then used to power an engine or generator to produce electrical power.
“This is a value-added solution for the Gary Sanitary District," Hayes said. “There is no deal yet. The city has not approved anything.”
The city facilitated the award of a $14 million volume cap award from the Indiana Finance Authority as a contribution to the partnership, he said. A project must obtain an award of volume cap before it can have tax-exempt bonds issued.
The city will work to issue $14 million in economic development bonds on behalf of the developer.
However, the bonds will be payable solely from the revenue of the renewable energy facility, which is the responsibility of the developer, Hayes said. The bonds won’t be an obligation of the city or its taxpayers, he emphasized.
Negotiations are expected to last several more weeks, according to Hayes.
“The mayor sees real value in waste-to-energy and is interested in greening infrastructure, he said.