New England Firm Says Its New Waste-to-Energy System is a GEM

New England Firm Says Its New Waste-to-Energy System is a GEM

The IST Energy Corporation has launched a mobile green waste-to-energy conversation system and says its new GEM can serve any site that produces at least two tons of trash a day.

The GEM processes a range of post-consumer rubbish -- paper, plastic, food, wood and agricultural materials -- and converts them into "energy pellets." The resulting pellets are gray and somewhat cylindrical. They're what's left after the GEM, which stands for Green Energy Machine, eliminates 95 percent of the trash.

The pellets are then chemically converted to gas that can be used to power a generator that runs on natural gas, or with some conversion one that runs on diesel. The product resulting from the gasified pellets is generally comparable to natural gas, but has a lower energy content.

By processing as much as three tons of trash a day, the GEM can create enough energy to heat and power a 200,000-square-foot building occupied by some 500 people, according to the company, which estimates the energy savings as $250,000.

The GEM runs on the energy it produces. It is eight feet high, about the length of three standard parking spaces and can be installed at a property or moved on a flatbed trailer from site to site, if an owner wants to use it at multiple locations.

The full unit with the processor and the generator costs about $850,000, and the company says the system pays for itself in three to four years based on energy savings. Firms also eliminate the cost and release of greenhouse gases that result from having their rubbish hauled off.

Turning trash to energy isn't a new idea in Massachusetts, but for the most part trash is burned to produce power, rather than consumed in an eco-friendly fashion.

IST's GEM is in use at its parent firm, Infoscitex Corp., in Waltham. Potential customers are expected to start visiting next week.

Those who attend the demos will find an info tent near the unit with space heaters and a monitor with an animated display that shows how the system works, according to spokesman Ben Haber. All the devices in the tent will be powered by energy produced by the GEM, he said.