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Proven Experience

SEMASS Resource Recovery Facility

The SEMASS Resource Recovery Facility, developed by Energy Answers, exemplifies our corporate commitment to conserve resources and manage solid waste effectively. SEMASS is our primary basis for design of current operating facilities and future development projects.

Energy Answers' technology has been in operation at the SEMASS Resource Recovery Facility in Rochester, Massachusetts since 1988. SEMASS was designed and developed by Energy Answers to solve solid waste disposal problems in an environmentally sensitive and economically attractive way by emphasizing the total recovery and reuse of waste materials with energy generation. The company developed and managed the private financing for the base plant, with a capacity of 2000 tons per day, as well as the expansion, which brought SEMASS to its current capacity of 3000 tons per day. Energy Answers was also the general manager and co-operator of the SEMASS project from 1988 to 1996. The SEMASS Partnership was sold to American Ref-Fuel in June 1996, and subsequently to Covanta Energy, to allow us to devote our efforts toward implementing our resource recovery technology on a world-wide scale. Energy Answers International retains all rights to our technology at SEMASS, which will continue to serve as a model for future projects.

Below is video of Energy Answers' processed refuse fuel technology used at the SEMASS Resource Recovery Facility.

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The SEMASS Resource Recovery Facility currently meets all the U.S. emission limits, and with minimal design enhancements, can meet all EU regulations and emissions limits.


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The environmental record and economic contributions of SEMASS have earned numerous awards and recognition. Additionally, the Smithsonian Institute featured the SEMASS Resource Recovery Facility as a "model" waste-to-energy facility in a video they produced for their Science in American Life Exhibit.

Significant Design Features of SEMASS

The original design for the SEMASS facility constructed in 1989 was state-of-the-art, using very progressive design attributes which resulted in maximizing the positive impacts of resource recovery. Some of the more significant design aspects, or results, are listed below:

  • Maximum net electric energy generation per ton of waste for any waste-to-energy facility in the world - 590 kwh/ton
  • Maximum total energy generation from waste - 650,000 megawatt hours/year
  • Minimum residue generated/ton of waste 11.5%; includes 9% fly ash for which uses are being developed
  • Only separate fly ash and bottom ash recovery and treatment system in the U.S.
  • Only dry bottom ash removal system in the U.S.
  • Only fully integrated bottom ash materials recovery system in the United States and Canada
  • First large-scale U.S. waste-to-energy facility with spray dryer scrubber for neutralization of acid gases and dioxin
  • First U.S. facility with rail delivery of waste (from all Cape Cod Massachusetts communities)
  • Zero water discharge facility with minimum water consumption per ton of waste processed (+/- 135 gallons/minute)

The Energy Answers PRF Resource Recovery Solution gets closer to 100% recovery than any other system by far. The SEMASS Resource Recovery Facility has demonstrated over 20 years of success, and new innovations will make landfilling a practice of the past. (see Peter Anderson article from Waste & Recycling News, 11/12/12)

SEMASS Technical Description and Performance History 6 MB file (PDF)

Link to Awards
"SEMASS has demonstrated that environmentally sound solid waste disposal can be accomplished on large geographic scales, and in the real world of business economics. The work of SEMASS illustrates how to interweave ecological issues, politics, government, transport systems and other issues to achieve good solutions to a major societal problem." - Ecological Society of America


Link to Cape Cod Solution

Within a 3 mile radius of SEMASS there are about 1200 acres of cranberry bogs which are an essential component of this major agricultural region.