OHSWEKEN – John Kearns, the Scottish inventor of the Kearns garbage disintegrator now located at the Six Nations landfill, was at Council last Tuesday to answer a few questions and concerns about his invention which Kearns designed to efficiently and cleanly burn tons of garbage a day.
As with any new technology, there are skeptics and according to Kearns, that is a good thing because it gives him a chance to answer rumours and clarify points of misunderstanding before they grow out of proportion.
One question concerns emissions testing on the equipment to prove Kearns’ proclamations about his disintegrator.
According to Kearns, AMEC International, in Cape Breton, conducted the last emissions testing done on his machine 10 years ago.
But, why has it not been done since, some councillors wanted to know.
“We have a 130 page report from AMEC,” says Kearns. “We have not been tested since then, but the results of 0.00 emissions from that test is still zero. Ten years will not change that. That number was for THC’s in the stack. That’s the unburned fuel going through. It was tested by AMEC at 0.00 and we are allowed 300 parts per million.”
He explains that as far as carbon in the residue ash goes, government standards are allowed 10,000 parts per million. He claims his ash reads at 0.04, which is 250,000 times cleaner.
“Garbage today is essentially the same now as it was 10 years ago,” says Kearns.
Some have asked why, even today, there is no MOE or ETA approvals for his machine. These approvals will be necessary when the permanent 20-ton per day unit is delivered and up and running.
Kearns explained that if he went ahead and had the sample loaner 10-tons per day unit tested where it is now located, which is under a temporary enclosure outside, open at both ends, he would have to do the same tests all over again when the new unit is moved inside.
“There are different criteria for inside testing,” he says. “There are different criteria involved. The site plays a very important role.”
Kearns met with Chief Hill, Mike Montour and Dale Bomberry the next day to go over details of the agreement signed by the outgoing Chief Bill Montour. In that meeting it was decided that the Elected Council will have some testing done early in the New Year.
“That’s not a full compliance test,” said Kearns. “That is when you test everything. They want people to come in to verify that this machine does exactly what I said it would do. An of course I agree with that.”
For tests to be done accurately, the disintegrator will have to have been running continuously, on a 24/7 schedule for a good week before they set a date for those independent tests to be done.
Until now, manpower has been a problem in getting Kearns unit up to full efficiency, as Six Nations has to post the jobs and conduct interviews. However this situation will be solved and the manpower trained by the end of January.
But there has been a glitch or two along the way as well; none that Kearns would consider problems.
The main burner has not been running a full capacity, however Kearns knows what the problem is and is rectifying it.
Some people have been concerned about an odor in the air around the machine.
“The burner was not doing what it was supposed to do said the inventor. “So, we started firing it up with wood. I called in a burner technician but he could not come because it was not registered under the Technical Standards and Safety Authority of Ontario. The tradesman would not come because they could lose their license if they worked on something that was not approved.
“What he smelled was unburned fuel. The flame was only 16 inches when it is supposed to be 8 feet. I called supplier to get it fixed. TSSA wrote back to give approval after the supplier spoke to the TSSA. I forwarded the letter from TSSA Friday and the situation will be fixed soon. It didn’t get anywhere near what it was supposed to, so I shut it down.”
With the holidays right around the corner, Kearns doesn’t expect to be ready to fire it up full speed until early January.
But Kearns was also at Band Council bearing a gift for the new Elected Chief. It was a Mi’kmaq basket created by artist Ann Marie Prosper in the 1950’s, as a token of appreciation and congratulation to the new Chief.