By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

Naanovo, the company that sought and gained the blessing of local government to conduct a feasibility study for a waste-to-energy plant in Del Norte County, never came back.

The Canadian-based firm had shown a great deal of interest in building one of its plants here. And when Naanovo's representatives left town in February, its president said they would soon return.

andquot;They haven't come back because they haven't been invited to come back,andquot; said Crescent City City Councilman Herb Kolodner. andquot;What they got was an approval to continue to study the concept ... now we have another company with a strong desire to do this project.andquot;

Kolodner, who has spearheaded the idea of the facility in Del Norte, said he received a letter from Naanovo President Thomas Morrow last week. In that letter, Morrow indicated the company wanted some basic assurances before investing anymore time in the project.

andquot;They wanted us to guarantee a certain (trash) supply they said they needed to convert into power,andquot; said Kolodner. andquot;There are no guarantees yet.andquot;

Morrow did not immediately return messages yesterday.

Kolodner said he was more impressed with an unnamed company he has been in discussions with in recent weeks.

andquot;They have one facility in Minnesota,andquot; he said. andquot;My comfort level goes up considerably when I can go there and touch it - talk to the people, the mayor, and ask if they have any problems. Naanovo doesn't have any plants in the U.S.andquot;

Kolodner travelled to Sweden to visit a Naanovo plant last year. Afterward, he said he was impressed with the technology the company used.

Waste-to-energy plants have been built in several regions of the country since the 1970s. The concept is to burn household waste and convert it into electricity and steam, thus reducing trash disposal costs and providing a local source for electricity.

The problem is many of the earlier plants have gone idle because of the high cost to maintain them and because of environmental reasons. Kolodner said these problems would not plague Del Norte.

andquot;There are two provisions that must be met: One, there must be no pollution connected with it, and air quality is a concern that has been raised often. And two, it must be financially viable,andquot; he said.