The Resource Recovery Facility will be able to process 1,800 tons of solid waste per day while generating up to 46 megawatts of electricity once its expansion is complete. This electricity can be used to power up to 35,000 homes.
In October 1987, the 95,340-sq.-ft. Hillsborough County Resource Recovery Facility began commercial operation, with a capacity of 1,200 tons of solid waste per day generating 29 megawatts per day. In December of 2006, the facility received a notice to proceed with an expansion which would increase its capacity by 50 percent. The 28,602-sq.-ft. expansion, which is expected to be completed by September 30, 2009, includes a new boiler room with a 600-ton-per-day combustion unit, a 17 MW turbine generator, a new ash building extension with a main ash residue conveyer system, an expanded cooling tower and a reverse osmosis water treatment system.
“Municipal solid waste is incinerated generating steam which is directed to a turbine generator which produces electricity that is sold to Tampa Electric Company,” says James Ransom of the Hillsborough Solid Waste Management Department. The facility “also powers itself as well as the adjacent wastewater treatment plant.” In addition to the electrical advantages of this facility, the Resource Recovery Facility also benefits the environment. The facility “eliminates air pollutant emissions that would have been produced by power plants using fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas,” says Ransom. “Every ton of waste processed through the facility offsets one ton of greenhouse gas.” It also “reduces volume of waste requiring landfill disposal by 90 percent, and recovers ferrous and non-ferrous metals from the ash residue which are recycled,” he says. Due to the reduction of waste requiring landfill, landfill life is extended by approximately 35 years. The ash residue from the facility has consistently shown to be safe for land disposal and reuse and hardens once it is placed and compacted in a landfill.
Rick Morera, the TECO Energy Media and Public Relations Manager, described the Resource Recovery Center as “valuable part of our mix of generation resources that are used to provide reliable, renewable electric power to our customers. We [TECO] have worked closely with the Resource Recovery Facility as they have engaged in the recent expansion activity to ensure that the unit remains reliably connected to and able to provide renewable power for the grid,” said Morera.
The Resource Recovery Facility is located at 350 Falkenburg Rd. in Brandon. For more information, call the Solid Waste Management Department at 272-5680.