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Bids sought to turn waste into energy

WAILUKU, Maui — Maui County is accepting proposals from companies that can help the county convert the island’s solid waste into energy.

The idea is to cut down on the amount of trash that ends up in the central landfill, according to Monday’s story in The Maui News.

The Department of Environmental Management is taking proposals until Jan. 16.

The plan calls for the Department of Environmental Management to lease approximately 10 acres next to the landfill to the company that gets the contract. That company would be required to finance, design, build and operate the project.

In return, the county would make available all of its waste streams to the facility for 20 years. Those would include solid waste, green waste, sewage sludge and grease.

Maui County Council’s Infrastructure Management Committee was told last month that only about 30 percent of the county’s trash is diverted from landfills and either recycled or put to some other use.

The goal is to divert between 80 and 90 percent of solid waste.

Michael Miyamoto, deputy director of the Department of Environmental Management, said Maui County is looking for a company that has the capacity to handle what Maui generates, which is about 450 tons a day of municipal solid waste.

“This is an opportunity to convert what we take in at the Central Maui Landfill into some other form, whether it’s converted to energy that can be sold to the electric utility, or some kind of biofuel or other fuel source,” he said.

The formal request for proposals was issued last week. It follows a request for qualifications in March that attracted some 70 interested parties. Miyamoto said that the initial submittals included “a good mix of technologies,” including gasification processes and producing methane as an energy source.