E-ticket ride

In March, I went on a media tour of the then newly opened DTE biomass power plant at the Port of Stockton. The facility burns wood waste collected from around the region to heat water, which in turn makes steam to turn a generator to produce electricity. One of the more interesting things at the plant is how the fuel is delivered

Big rig trucks, like any you’d see anonymously rumbling down the freeway, backup onto a ramp connected to a garage-like structure at the back end. Once the truck is parked, with its backside ensconced in the building, it looks like that perhaps a crew or machines must burrow into the back to offload the material, but no. The entire ramp assembly slowly tilts upward until the truck is pointing nearly straight up. The contents spill out onto a conveyor belt system as the truck is tilted higher and higher. The material is then moved to a storage area, which is then moved again via conveyor to the plant when needed.

It was quite a sight to see the large trucks, each about the size of whale, pointed skyward. From my vantage point I couldn’t see if the drivers got out of their vehicles or stayed in them during the procedure. If they did stay seated it would be one heck of a Disneyland-like ride.

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