Could Shelter Island lead the East End in recycling wet garbage into gas and diesel fuel? That’s a plan two Dutch entrepreneurs are proposing. Ed Van Piggelen of BRICKS International and Bouke Nagel of BRICKS Caribbean brought their message to a special town meeting on December 7.
JULIE LANE PHOTO | Bouke Nagel, CEO of BRICKS Caribbean, outlined plans at Town Hall last week for making Shelter Island more energy efficient, including recycling organics, paper and plastic into gas and diesel fuel.
Their year-old company in the Netherlands has been developing solutions aimed at saving energy and improving the environment. The men boasted that they have served customers throughout Europe, the Caribbean and in Israel.
Happy Feet Solutions is the brand name of their system aimed at reducing the carbon footprint. It includes a machine that recycles wet garbage into fuel. They offered no details about the machine itself.
Has the system passed muster with the Environmental Protection Agency, Councilman Peter Reich wanted to know. This would be the first installation in the United States, Mr. Nagel said. “It’s difficult but we know the EPA and we are not afraid of it,” he said, expressing confidence that the technology would pass muster.
The men said they hadn’t prepared a proposal for Shelter Island but happened to be visiting the area and were willing to speak publicly about their technology. The meeting was scheduled by Councilman Glenn Waddington at the request of resident Theresa Andrew, a professional fundraiser now involved with real estate, who met the pair through her professional network. The session was taped so all could view it at townhallstreams.com.
Their system to convert garbage into gas and diesel fuel is designed to process up to 40 tons of organics, paper and plastic per day, they said, far more than the five tons processed daily at Shelter Island’s landfill, according to foreman Brian Sherman. That’s where there’s potential for neighboring villages and towns to send their waste to Shelter Island for processing, Mr. Van Piggelen said.
The surrounding towns might break even with the cost of transporting the wastes to the Island but it could be a boon for Shelter Island, he said. The first municipality in the area that purchases the machine would be the one making the profit, he said.
The men maintained that there are no dangerous emissions from the machine and the only residue at the end of the process is ash that can be used for building roads.
Councilman Waddington said he was ready to plan a vacation to Holland to see the garbage conversion machines.
“I hope the Town Board follows up,” Mr. Waddington said. “I like the idea that we could get rid of some of the leaves,” he said of the leaf composting piles that take up space at the landfill.
Environmental advocate and Town Board’s Green Options Committee Chairman Herb Stelljes supported the waste-to-energy concept. He said he was encouraged that the Town Board was paying attention to ways to save energy and improve the carbon footprint.