A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 January 1992


“...we see growth in the whole area of resource recovery
and waste management...The energy content of the U.S. waste
represents almost 5% of the country’s total energy consumption,
including gasoline for cars. With that much energy in the waste and
the scarcity of landfill sites, the choice is going to be incineration. And
we supply entire plants for incineration. We also operate waste to energy plants and are specialists in air pollution. Flakt [owned by ABB] is the
world’s biggest environmental control company. There is no other
with the same scope and the same volume. So looking at the
1990s as an environmental decade, we are in
a very interesting position.”

From ABB’s 3/4 page ad in the Wall Street Journal,l 11-14-90, page C-13.

A little background on ABB: municipal waste incinerators to nuclear reactors: ABB was formed in 1987 in a merger that wed Sweden’s Asea to Switzerland’s Brown Boveri. Since then their business has been buying up businesses across the globe. In the U.S. ABB bought out Combustion Engineering for $1.6 billion and Westinghouse’s transmission and distribution operations for $700 million. Worldwide ABB has 230,000 employees and $27 billion in revenues (in the U.S. it’s 30,000 employees and $6 billion in revenues). ABB is the largest company in the world in three fields: (1) leading supplier to the $50 billion electric power equipment industry surpassing Westinghouse, GE & Mitsubishi; (2) air pollution control technology ; and (3) railcar mass transit. They seem to have everything spinning just right in their corporate global orbit. But there seems to be a glitch on the American front which perhaps wasn’t factored into the bottom line: that ordinary people who live in little, ordinary communities don’t want to play Russian-roulette with poisons any more. That glitch spearheaded two recent permit denials for ABB’s Combustion Engineering proposed municipal waste incinerators: an 800 tpd proposal denied a permit in November 1991 in Dakota County, MN (see Waste Not #174), and a 2,250 tpd proposal denied a permit in Chester, Delaware County, PA, in December 1991 (see Waste Not # 183). Perhaps because of these failures the host benefit package in selling an ABB incinerator is being made more tempting (see below). ABB’s new co-chairman is David de Pury, who last year was Switzerland’s ambassador to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade talks. De Pury replaced Fritz Leutwiler who was a former president of the Swiss central bank. The President and CEO of ABB is Percy Barnevik.

The bait offered to Havana, Illinois, to become a dump town.
Proposal: a 1,000 ton per day ABB municipal waste incinerator

As reported in Waste Not #174, residents of Mason County first heard about an ABB incinerator proposal on 6-12-91. The proposal to Mason County came through ABB’s salesman, Mr. John Kirby, but residents quickly became involved, and on 8-13-91 the Mason County Board voted unanimously to kill continued study of the $150 million incinerator proposed to be built north of Havana. But Mr. Kirby of KCI, Inc. (Kirby-Coffman of Springfield, IL) defeated at the county level, persisted with the City of Havana and on Nov. 29, 1991, he sent a 6-page letter to Havana’s mayor, Alan McNeil, offering the following:

1. KCI will advance the city of Havana (pop. 3,600) up to $65,000 for a feasibility study on building an incinerator in the city. Dr. Echol ‘Bud’ Cook, an Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, will lead a 4-member team to study the environmental and ecological effects of a 1,000 tpd incinerator in Havana. This study is expected to be complete in April 1992. The city council of Havana passed a resolution on 12-3-91 agreeing to the study. ABB will be the owner, builder and operator of the incinerator of Havana’s incinerator. 2. Havana will receive a host fee of $1.50 per ton for the life of the 1,000 tpd municipal waste incinerator operation. (The county was offered $1 per ton). 3. Havana “shall be allowed to dispose of its household and commercial waste at the facility in perpetuity and without paying a disposal fee.” 4. If Havana’s water system needs to be enlarged, “KCI agrees to build a water system for the City of Havana...and KCI further agrees to pay the regular charge for water service, less an amount necessary to amortize the capital cost paid by KCI...” 5. KCI will pay for a full time City incinerator inspector. “The full time inspector will report only to the City....KCI will reimburse the City monthly for an amount equal to the compensation, including fringe benefits paid to the inspector.” 6. “The City and KCI will share the income from the steam sold...with the City receiving 50% and KCI receiving 50%...the City and KCI must mutually agree upon the party to receive such steam or energy...” 7. “KCI will furnish attorneys and pay for all costs of litigation” in the event the City is involved in “litigation as a result of the potential siting, or siting of the plant, or as a result of the operation of the plant.” For more information on the Havana proposal contact: Dr. Dorothy Anderson, 122 E. Elm St., Mason City, IL 62664. Tel: 217-482-3124.


ABB Inc. In Stamford, CT. President & CEO: Gerhard Schulmeyer. U.S. umbrella headquarters.

ABB Resource Recovery Systems. HQ in Windsor, CT. President J.H. Miller. Operating municipal waste incinerators - all RDFs: 2,000 tpd Hartford, CT; 2,200 tpd Honolulu, HI; 3,000 tpd Detroit, MI. In 1991 Kidder Peabody ranked ABB as 5th in the waste-to-energy field.

ABB Flakt. HQ in Atlanta, GA. President, John Camardella. “World leader” in air pollution control technologies. (Flakt in English means fan). Air pollution controls for gas, coal, electric, nuclear and waste industries (desulfurization, ESP’s, scrubbers, SO NOX), industrial fans and paint finishing systems.

ABB Environmental Services. HQ in Portland, ME. President: M. Dale Sands. An environmental consulting firm which includes air quality engineering, hazardous waste site assessment and remediation.

ABB Environmental Systems. HQ in Knoxville, TN. President: William Scott.

ABB Sanitec. HQ in Winston Salem, NC. This is a freestanding subsidiary of ABB Env. Services. President: John Cusack. Sanitec is a microwave technology for disinfecting medical waste. Currently this microwave technology has been in use for the last year at the Forsythe Memorial Hospital in Winston Salem, NC. New York State approved ABB’s microwave technology in Dec. 1991.

ABB Power Plant Business. Pres.: Richard J. Slember. Coal burning power plants and natural gas turbines.

ABB Nuclear. President: Peter Van Nort. Part of the power plant industries.

ABB Traction. HQ in Elmira Heights, NY. President: Lutz Elsner. World’s largest maker of railcar mass transit. A high speed train for New York to Boston, developed and manufactured by ABB, will be demonstrated in a joint effort of Amtrak, the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration, Swedish State Railways and ABB as early as 1992.

ABB Process Automation. President, Donald Bogle. Controls for textile and paper mills.

Some ABB acquisitions and ventures: Bought the W.German steam turbine business of AEG and inked a nuclear reactor joint venture with Siemens-Business Week, 7-23-90, pg.66; ABB Atom won contracts worth more than $115 from the Swedish Power Board for delivery of reload fuel to Sweden’s three boiler water reactors-NYT, 11-30-90; signed joint venture with Italy’s Finnemeccanica with sales of $1.2 billion; in 1989 takes a 40% stake in Britain’s leading railcar manufacturer, BREL; increased its ownership in Vetco Gray to 100% from 19% of the voting stock. Vetco Gray makes exploration and production equipment for the offshore oil & gas industry- WSJ, 4-4-91, pg A6; received a $200 million contract from Korea Electric Power for two nuclear steam supply systems-WSJ, 7-24-91, pg.C-12; received $166 million contract to install systems to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions at a PA Electric Co. power station-WSJ, 9-13-91, pg.C-15; announced a joint venture with EJF Ltd. in Czechoslovakia -NYT, 12-8-90, pg.35; ABB Atom together with Ansaldo & Fiat under the name Consorzio Plus aims to develop a central electric power generating plant for possible use in Italy, even though 2 years ago in a national referendum people voted against nuclear power plants-WSJ, 12-18-90, pg.C-13; bought Blount’s Swiss subsidiary and owner of mass-burn technology that Blount used in its waste-to-energy plants: W+E Umwelttechnik AG. Montenay bought the U.S. licence while ABB bought the worldwide (non U.S.) licence, while Ogden Martin bought up Blount’s operating incinerators; it’s ABB Canada unit signed a $30 million to supply autotransformers to Hydro-Quebec, the Canadian electricity utility-7-4-91, NYT, pg.D-3. See also: Harvard Business Review, March-April, 1991, and Business Week, 7-23-91, pgs. 64-66.

WASTE NOT # 181 A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year. Annual rates are: Groups & Non-Profits $50; Students & Seniors $35; Individual $40; Consultants & For-Profits $125; Canadian $US45; Overseas $65. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.