THE FAST-GROWING CITY OF MATAMOROS IS ON MEXICO’S BORDER WITH THE UNITED STATES. NOW HOME TO 600,000 PEOPLE, THE CITY IS DEVELOPING A SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION TO SOME OF ITS PRESSING WASTE-DISPOSAL PROBLEMS.
On a daily basis, about 550 tonnes of solid waste are collected and disposed of in the municipal dump site that has no environmental controls and few separation practices in place for recyclable materials, household hazardous wastes or organics. In addition, the city must also dispose of approximately three million scrap tires that are scattered in the city and throughout the surrounding area. These tires are a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other disease carriers.
To deal with the tire problem and also to provide a local source of energy, Golder has been working on plans for an innovative energy project. Firstly, methane produced by the 10-year-old solid waste landfill will be tapped to fuel the pyrolytic gasification of the waste tires. A proprietary gasification process and the use of methane as a fuel supplement to dispose of waste tires are innovative technical developments that have never been done before. The proposed pyrolysis plant would process 75 tonnes of waste tires per day, produce low emissions, generate 5 to 6 MW of electricity and significantly reduce greenhouse gases.
Secondly, a 10 MW windfarm will be developed around the landfill to provide another renewable source of energy to further reduce the need for fossil-fuel generation. The two power plants will share a common infrastructure and generate revenue for the city.
This project will help divert waste tires from illegal dumps and provide a sustainable source of energy. It will also help train local personnel in these innovative technologies and provide revenues to support more modern waste management practices, thus building a sustainable way of managing waste in a fast-growing region of Mexico.