By Alex Acquisto | Bangor Daily News |
HAMPDEN, Maine —The company behind a state-of-the-art solid waste disposal facility in Hampden designed to convert trash into biofuel has secured enough funding to begin operations in May.
Craig Stuart-Paul, CEO of Maryland-based Fiberight LLC, announced this week that his company has secured $70 million for a municipal solid waste center off Coldbrook Road — $45 million through a tax-exempt bond with the Finance Authority of Maine and the remainder in private equity funds.
“A lot of people questioned whether or not we would be able to get the financing,” he said. “In our mind, we always knew we could. This was the final hurdle.”
Construction of the 144,000-square-foot steel frame that began in July, is complete, and all of the equipment needed to process 180,000 tons of waste each year has been ordered, Stuart-Paul said. The siding and roof will be added in the next few weeks. The plant should be ready to open in early May, he said.
The Fiberight model for disposing of waste includes dividing trash into reusable and not reusable materials. The organic waste is then used to make biofuel, which is similar to natural gas, while glass, metals, plastics and paper are sold on the commodities market. Leftover fibrous material can be turned into fuel pellets for heating.
About 80 percent of the waste deposited at the new waste facility will be reused, which means only about 20 percent will end up in a landfill, Municipal Review Committee Executive Director Greg Lounder has said. The MRC is an organization that represents more than 180 Maine towns.
During the first 15 years of operation, the new plant is expected to reduce waste disposal costs for participating communities by $24 million, according to the Finance Authority of Maine. During that time, about 300,000 tons of rubbish are expected to be diverted from landfills and reused.
At least 115 Maine towns have signed contracts with Fiberight to turn their trash into biogas, Stuart-Paul said.