The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved an air permit for the construction and operation of a new 77MW solid waste facility in Puerto Rico.

The proposed solid waste facility, owned by Energy Answers Arecibo, a subsidiary of Energy Answers International, will be developed at the former site of Global Fibers Paper Mill in Arecibo.

The waste-to-energy plant is expected to have a capacity to process around 2,100 tons of garbage per day and will generate electricity that will be enough to power about 76,000 homes.

Meanwhile, the facility is yet to receive approval for other permits from the EPA. If approved, the plant is anticipated to be completed over the next three years.

EPA’s permit requires Energy Answers to use the best available control technology to reduce air pollutants, along with performance tests, some continuous emissions monitoring, as well as other monitoring requirements.

Additionally, Energy Answers will finance the installation of a second monitor in the community to collect data on lead emissions.

Energy Answers will use its proprietary Processed Refuse Fuel technology at the Arecibo Resource Recovery Facility.

Energy Answers president Patrick Mahoney claimed that the system is more beneficial than traditional mass-burn waste-to-energy facilities and generates base load renewable energy and recovers valuable materials from municipal solid waste while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with landfilling.

"It reduces our dependence on foreign fuels, creates new greencollar jobs, and revitalizes our industrial base while meeting the most stringent environmental regulations in the industry. It’s a practical, sustainable and environmentally sound approach to energy
generation and solid waste management," Mahoney added.