Kristin Smith

Kristin is a member of the Recycling Today staff.


Going deeper

Industry Events

The 2014 Renewable Energy from Waste Conference will delve deep into the opportunities and obstacles of waste conversion Nov. 17-20, in San Jose, California.

August 7, 2014

Waste conversion technology developers and solid waste managers read Renewable Energy from Waste (REW) magazine to gain a better understanding of the waste conversion industry. In November, our coverage of the industry goes even deeper with an event designed to take understanding of the industry further than ever before.

With a technical workshop, an educational program and tours that connect material recovery with energy production, the second annual Renewable Energy from Waste Conference, Nov. 17-20, 2014, in San Jose, California, offers attendees a content-rich experience.

The Recycling Today Media Group, publisher of REW; solid waste consulting firm Gershman Brickner and Bratton (GBB); and Smithers Apex have once again joined forces to produce the conference. The city of San Jose was chosen as the host location in view of its position as a leader in solid waste management and energy recovery.

San Jose Environmental Services Department Deputy Director Jo Zientek oversaw San Jose’s overhaul of its commercial waste system, leading to a tripling of its commercial recycling rate. “We can count on the REW Conference to facilitate the information exchange that helps those of us in the waste management community learn from each other and become more successful in our endeavors,” he says.

Fueling progress

Following the overwhelming success of the inaugural 2013 event, the REW Conference has become firmly established as the premier event for this rapidly developing and dynamic waste conversion industry.

“It’s good to get the industry together and have conversations,” said Kevin Johnson, partner, Stoel Rives LLP, Minneapolis, after attending last year’s conference. “Obviously some of these folks are competitors but you can tell they are agreeing to collaborate to move the industry forward. Without having a conference like this, it really would inhibit progress.”

This year’s main conference program kicks off Tuesday, Nov. 18, with an “Overview of waste conversion projects in North America” given by Harvey Gershman, president of GBB, Fairfax,Virginia. That session will lead right into a session about the host city’s success in making waste conversion part of its solid waste strategy.

“A city with a vision: How San Jose made waste-to-energy a reality,” will provide detailed information on how the city was able to develop the nation’s first large-scale system of its kind for waste-collection, processing and energy recovery.

Stephanie Molloy, San Jose’s supervising environmental services specialist, Integrated Waste Management Enforcement and Regulations Group, will be the main speaker of the session, explaining how the city worked with developers to implement a waste collection and processing system to maximize recyclables and energy recovery.

Molloy will be joined by a panel which includes Carl Mennie, division manager, Republic Services - Newby Island Resource Recovery Park (NIRRP), the facility which processes San Jose’s waste; and Emily Hanson, Zero Waste Energy Development Co. (ZWEDC), the facility that converts San Jose’s organic waste into biogas.

The session was specifically designed to allow ample time for the audience to ask questions to panelists and gain further understanding into the development of San Jose’s program.

“Making the case for conversion,” “Financing fundamentals” and “Leading by example in the Golden State,” round out Tuesday’s programming by breaking down key elements needed for project success, from public support to financial backing to legislative knowledge.

Wednesday, Nov. 19, sessions will cover more specific projects and companies that have incorporated waste conversion into their operations. “The integrated model,” provides examples of integrated waste management projects in various stages of development.

Jim Schubert of the city of Edmonton will discuss how that Canadian city incorporated waste-to-fuels into its model. Kyle Mowitz will share the model Infinitus has developed in Montgomery, Alabama, to process mixed waste and use anaerobic digestion (AD). A similar project being developed in Ohio will be the focus of Team Gemini Founding Partner and President Doug Haughn’s presentation, and Todd Green of Tulsa, Oklahoma-based American Waste Control will share details on that company’s project to capture energy from a landfill it operates for its material-recovery-facility residuals.

Next, attendees will hear about private-sector waste conversion projects in the session, “Corporate achievements in waste conversion.” Sierra Nevada Sustainability Coordinator Mandi McKay will discuss how that company is using biogas from its brewing operations. Michael Van Brunt, director of sustainability, Covanta, will discuss the waste-to-energy operator’s partnership with Kuerig to create compost and energy from used K-cups.

Wednesday afternoon will continue with the project theme with updates on AD facilities, and finally, the day will conclude with an overview of the latest research and developments in the waste conversion field. The session program, with speaker confirmations to date, can be found on page 40. The full agenda with session descriptions is updated regularly at



Another layer

Adding a layer of coverage to this year’s conference will be a workshop presented by renowned mechanical biological treatment (MBT) expert Dr. Matthias Kuehle-Weidemeier, CEO of the Germany-based waste treatment specialists Wasteconsult International (Kuehle-Weidemeier’s article, “A solid link,” appears on p. 24 of this issue.). For an additional fee, REW attendees can participate in the half-day workshop, “MBT as a nonthermal treatment option for mixed and residual waste,” Nov. 17 from 1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Tourist attractions

The REW Conference understands the value of tying in tours of working facilities into its program.

A limited number of spaces are available for tours of NIRRP and ZWEDC on Thursday, Nov. 20. Tours will include stops at both facilities, allowing visitors to see how waste is processed at the NIRRP material recovery facility and prepped for use as a feedstock for AD, compost or fuel product at ZWEDC.

With the MBT workshop and facility tours being offered on top of an already robust conference program and exhibitor list, attendees will have access to contacts, business strategies and technology about the waste conversion industry all in one place.

Jim Keefe, publisher of The Recycling Today Media Group, Richfield, Ohio, says, “The forthcoming conference will equip organizations with the contacts, information and strategies that allow you to capitalize on this fast-growing market.”


The author is managing editor of Renewable Energy from Waste and can be reached at

To learn more about the Renewable Energy from Waste Conference, visit

Hear from attendees. Attendees share why the Renewable Energy from Waste Conference is valuable in a video preview available at


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