Civic News
Environment / Municipal government

Baltimore wants to turn Inner Harbor Water Wheel trash into energy

The mayor's office is proposing to haul the trash from the headline-grabbing innovation to the BRESCO waste-to-energy plant.

The Inner Harbor Water Wheel, sans googly eyes. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Since it started spinning in May, the Inner Harbor water wheel has sucked up almost 150 tons of trash. Now, that trash will be turned into energy.
“We’re turning this trash into treasure,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at a Tuesday press conference.
The City is proposing a contract at Wednesday’s Board of Estimates meeting that will allow the trash to be hauled to the Baltimore Refuse Energy Systems Company (BRESCO) waste-to-energy plant. Under the contract, the city will pay for the disposal of the trash. The contract is good for five years, and will cost $150,000 per year, according to Baltimore Public Works Director Rudolph Chow.
The contract is designed to integrate the solar-powered water wheel more seamlessly with city operations. Since May, it’s made numerous international headlines, and picked up enough cigarette butts to line the route between Baltimore and Frederick.
The notoriety only seems poised to continue, as inventor John Kellett has gotten inquiries about the innovation from people in China, Brazil, India and other countries. Kellett believes the wheel can be used as a solution to clean up trash around the world.
Baltimore could also be getting a second water wheel. Officials said they’re looking into installing a second, potentially smaller, water wheel in the Inner Harbor. They still have to raise the money for “junior,” however.
And, in case you missed it, here’s the Water Wheel video from last May that has racked up 1.1 million views:

Companies: City of Baltimore

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