Ecomaine, a publicly owned waste-to-energy facility serving 70 Maine communities, is investing in electric waste-hauling trucks that will be fueled by incinerated household trash.

Portland-based ecomaine announced the move Monday, saying it will replace its two diesel-powered waste haulers with electric trucks by the end of this year. Ecomaine said it believes it is the first company in the U.S. to utilize a waste-hauling system that is powered entirely by its own waste-to-energy operations.

Lion Electric Co’s prototype e-truck, which ecomaine hopes will replace its two diesel-powered waste haulers by the end of this year. Photo courtesy of Lion Electric Co.

The operation manages waste disposal and recycling for member communities across the region. Household waste is incinerated and converted into electricity, which ecomaine sells and feeds onto the electric grid. The agency uses its fleet of trucks to haul some waste from the incinerator to a nearby landfill.

The electric trucks will cost a total of $1 million, said Matt Grondin, spokesman for ecomaine. Half of the cost will be covered by grants provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Ecomaine also estimates that the shift to all-electric will save 75 percent on fuel costs over six years, in addition to reducing maintenance costs and eliminating emissions.

The trucks purchased by ecomaine will take 9 to 10 months to produce and will likely arrive near the end of 2020. The trucks will join ecomaine’s electric cars, also powered by trash.

“The fact that we are using trucks to haul waste that are also powered by waste really closes the loop on the story of Maine’s trash,” CEO Kevin Roche said in a written statement.

Ecomaine board member Mike Shaw of Scarborough said the investment could lead some of ecomain’s member communities to make the switch to electric vehicles in the future.

“To have ecomaine pilot this technology and to research its application on behalf of all 70 of our communities allows us to mutually benefit from that knowledge, rather than each town going it alone,” Shaw said.

This story was corrected at 9:25 p.m. on March 9, 2020, to say the total cost of the trucks will be $1 million.


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