Spokane Journal of Business

Companies here pursue waste gasification project

Wheeler to build gasifier for a demonstration site

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MPM Technologies Inc., a 25-year-old Spokane-based company that develops waste-to-energy technology, says its Carbon Cycle Power subsidiary is in discussions with Spokane Valley machining and manufacturing company Wheeler Industries Inc. to build a patent-pending, arc gasification technology prototype that will process waste for the cogeneration of heat and power. 

The technology is intended to process biomass, such as lumber mill waste, agricultural residue, and municipal solid waste. 

Once the gasifier is built, CCP says it will be used at a demonstration facility somewhere in Washington state. The company declines to say what locations it’s considering. 

“We are assessing different communities,” says Brian Burrow CCP’s interim chief financial officer. “We are looking for a community with the right economy but also a community where we can be supportive.”

Gasification is a chemical process that converts carbon-based materials, including municipal solid waste and biomass, into a mixture called synthesis gas that includes primarily hydrogen, carbon, and often some carbon dioxide and methane. The process uses a photo-induced electric arc field in an oxygen-free environment to break down matter to its molecular level. 

MPM Technologies is located in a leased office at 221 W. Main, where it shares space with Spokane-based Carbon Cycle Investments LLC. Carbon Cycle Investments owns a group of environmental sustainability businesses and has a controlling ownership interest in MPM Technologies, following a stock purchase agreement in April 2013. The opportunity to create a demonstration site for CCP’s gasification technology was a driving force behind Carbon Cycle Investments’ acquisition of a controlling interest in MPM.

Burrow says eight people work in the Spokane office for MPM Technologies and CCP and that the two concerns have just under 20 employees total, counting people working elsewhere in Washington state and in New Jersey.

Wheeler Industries, founded in 1981 by Loyde and Cyndi Wheeler, has 20 full-time employees at its 30,000-square-foot facility at 1118 N. Howe Rd., in Spokane Valley.

Burrow says CCP is talking with several other companies that will provide components for the gasifier.

“We are also in discussions with several other companies who share our vision and are interested in helping us accelerate the development of this demonstration facility, and we expect additional agreements to be signed in the coming weeks,” he says.

Wheeler Industries owner Loyde Wheeler says that company is excited to get to work on the project. 

“This is one of those projects you know is really something and makes you want to be involved—it could change the way people think about waste,” Wheeler says in a press release announcing the agreement between CCP and Wheeler Industries.

Judith  Spitzer
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Reporter Judith Spitzer covers technology, mining, agriculture, and wood products for the Journal. A vintage-obsessed antique collector in her off hours, Judith worked as a journalist in Colorado and Oregon before joining the Journal.

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