Marion, Iowa has contracted with Plasma Power to provide 300 tons of garbage per day to the firm’s first-of-its-kind plasma arc plant. The plant would produce steam. The city is checking into setting up a municipal utility to use that steam to run turbines to create electricity. For a town the size of Marion— population 34,768— the peak electrical demand is about 30 megawatts of power.
Consultants are now studying whether or not this is a feasible way to provide power for the city. Jim McCalley, Iowa State University professor of electrical and computer engineering, offered his expertise on the issue in this article from The Gazette.