Could we take this…
And use it for this?…
Eight days ago, I wrote about the opening of Stockton’s new cleaner-burning biomass power plant at the Port of Stockton. It feeds on green waste.
Today, I wrote about an “eyesore” right across the water, at Louis Park, where piles of harvested water hyacinth have been languishing for the past three months.
Connect the dots.
The question of whether the biomass plant could burn off our abundant annual hyacinth crop actually came up during the tour I took last week. Port Director Richard Aschieris congratulated DTE official John Reis on the new plant, and said — somewhat in jest, perhaps — “I might be shipping out some hyacinth.”
Everyone laughed. “We’re going to pull it out of the water and bring it over here and you guys could turn it into green energy,” Aschieris said.
“Seriously,” I interjected, at the risk of exposing my utter ignorance, “could that work?”
The DTE folks said that the hyacinth is awfully wet. It’d have to be thoroughly dried first. But anyone who has seen the piles at Louis Park knows that it’s only a matter of time until it turns into a crumbly brown matt.
The other problem, DTE said, is that hyacinth might be hard to handle because of the sheer density of the plant. “We’ve been in plants where they burn straw, and it’s tough,” one DTE official said.
But perhaps it could be mixed into a more traditional fuel load.
“Well,” Aschieris said, “when we get into the next season, we’ll see what we can work out.”