REW Staff

The Staff of Renewable Energy from Waste is dedicated to providing the most comprehensive news coverage of this burgeoning industry.




August 11, 2014

Municipal WTE

Enerkem opens commercial biorefinery in Alberta

Montreal-based Enerkem officially inaugurated its first full-scale municipal waste-to-biofuels and chemicals facility in Edmonton, Alberta, June 4, 2014.

This facility, operated by Enerkem Alberta Biofuels, is among the world’s first commercial facilities to be built for the production of renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels. During its construction, more than 600 direct and indirect jobs were created for the modular manufacturing of the facility’s systems and their on-site assembly.

“The city of Edmonton is a world leader in sustainable waste management, and the opening of the waste-to-biofuels and chemicals facility demonstrates our commitment to finding innovative solutions to harness the value in waste, said Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson. “This type of leading-edge innovation demands a team approach and we’re proud of our partnership with Enerkem and Alberta Innovates - Energy and Environment Solutions (AI-EES).”

“This game-changing facility provides clear environmental benefits as it converts waste into value-added products,” says Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Robin Campbell. “This is another great example of Alberta innovation at work, helping to diversify our economy through new, leading-edge technology.”

The facility is a collaboration between Enerkem, the city of Edmonton and AI-EES. It will have a production capacity of up to 38 million liters per year, is designed to help the city of Edmonton increase its residential waste diversion rate to 90 percent and is expected to generate net economic spending in the local area of nearly CA$65 million annually.

The startup of the biorefinery follows a rigorous commissioning plan which is nearing completion. Biomethanol production will begin progressively during the startup. A module converting the biomethanol into advanced ethanol will be added by the end of 2015.

Enerkem makes biofuels and renewable chemicals from waste. With its proprietary technology, Enerkem converts nonrecyclable municipal solid waste (MSW) into methanol, ethanol and other widely used chemical intermediates.

Enerkem currently operates a demonstration plant and a pilot facility in Quebec. The company is developing additional biorefineries in North America and globally based on its modular manufacturing approach. Enerkem’s technology and facilities are designed to help diversify the energy mix and make greener everyday products while offering a sustainable alternative to landfilling and incineration, the company says.


Transportation fuels

Large-scale waste-to-diesel-fuel plant running in Louisiana

Technology provider UOP LLC, Des Plaines, Iowa, a Honeywell company, says its UOP/Eni Ecofining process technology is now powering what it calls “the largest commercial advanced biofuel facility in the U.S.”

Honeywell says the Diamond Green Diesel facility in Norco, Louisiana, is now capable of producing more than 130 million gallons of diesel fuel annually made from inedible oils and other waste feedstocks.

Unlike some other forms of biodiesel, the Honeywell Green Diesel fuel produced using the UOP process “is chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel and can be used as a drop-in replacement in vehicles with no modifications,” according to a Honeywell news release.

The facility is a joint venture of Darling International Inc. and Diamond Alternative Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Valero Energy, San Antonio, Texas.

“Commercial production at the Diamond Green Diesel facility is a significant milestone for the renewable energy industry,” says Veronica May, vice president and general manager for Honeywell’s UOP Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit. “UOP has leveraged 100 years of refining technology to make real alternative fuels.”

The Diamond Green Diesel facility will produce more than 200 million “ethanol-equivalent-gallons per year” of biomass-based diesel as defined under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

UOP says it worked with Italy’s Eni S.p.A. to jointly develop the Ecofining process, which uses hydro-processing technology to convert nonedible natural oils and animal fats to Honeywell Green Diesel.


Mass burn

Covanta to build mixed waste recycling plant in Indianapolis

Morristown, New Jersey-based Covanta, a waste, recycling and renewable energy operator, and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard have jointly announced a plan to bring recycling to all single-family homes in the city of Indianapolis through the construction of a new material recycling facility.

The Covanta Advanced Recycling Center, to be built next to the Covanta Indianapolis Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facility, will use processing equipment to recover recyclables from mixed municipal solid waste (MSW).

The company expects to invest $45 million to build the facility. The EfW facility has been in operation in Indianapolis since 1988.

Currently, Phoenix-based Republic Services offers a fee-based recyclable curbside collection program for Indianapolis residents.

Covanta says the new processing facility will increase the amount of material recycled in Indianapolis by up to 500 percent at no cost to the city or its residents. Residents will no longer need to separate recyclables from the trash. They will place their unsorted waste in one bin.

“Covanta’s Advanced Recycling Center provides a common-sense solution that makes Indy a much more sustainable city,” says Ballard. “This state-of-the-art facility will take Indy from a 10 percent recycling participation rate to 100 percent without any new government mandates, fees or tax increases. It is a win-win-win for the city, its residents and the environment.”

The Covanta Advanced Recycling Center will use automated sorting equipment modeled after recycling facilities in Europe to process mixed waste, according to the company. Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, Stamford, Connecticut, will supply the equipment for the recycling facility. It will include magnets, eddy current separators and optical sorters.

The project has been met with some opposition from groups that support separating recyclables from waste prior to processing.

Cassie Stockamp, president of the Indiana Recycling Coalition, expresses concern over the proposed recycling facility, saying the quality of the recyclables will suffer. According to Stockamp, other options, including a two-bin program, might result in higher quality recyclables.

Covanta says it has done its research and is confident the recyclables collected at the facility will meet the expectations of its customers.

“The Covanta Advanced Recycling Center, combined with our energy-from-waste facility, will create a first-of-its-kind, next-generation system for sustainably managing waste in North America, further supporting Indianapolis’ position as a national leader in sustainability,” says Anthony Orlando, Covanta president and CEO. “We look forward to expanding and extending our partnership with the great city of Indianapolis. This investment will benefit the environment, the city and Covanta.”

The company expects the project to create 70 jobs during construction and employ 60 permanent full-time employees to operate the facility once construction is complete.

Covanta says the facility will accomplish the following:

  • recover from 80 to 90 percent of recyclable materials, increasing recycling in the city by about 500 percent;
  • significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to pulling 40,000 cars off the road;
  • complement the city’s existing EfW facility by sharing trucks and maintaining current traffic flow and avoiding additional vehicle emissions and burdens on road infrastructure; and
  • help the state of Indiana increase its recycling rate toward the goal of 50 percent.

According to Covanta, the EfW facility provides nearly half the steam used by the downtown Indianapolis steam loop.

The recycling plan is subject to approval from the city’s Board of Public Works. Covanta says it expects the facility to be up and running in 2016, following the receipt of necessary permits.

More information about the Covanta Advanced Recycling Center in Indianapolis is available online at recyclingcenter.


Plastics to oil

Plastics-to-fuel company receives investment from Ontario agency

The province of Ontario’s Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) SD Tech Fund has announced plans to invest CA$2 million ($1.86 million) in GreenMantra Technologies, a plastic scrap-to-fuel firm headquartered in Brantford, Ontario.

The company was founded in 2010 to commercialize a catalytic technology that breaks down plastics into waxes and fuels.

GreenMantra says its technology platform is highly flexible and can use a wide variety of plastics feedstock, including virgin polyethylene and polypropylene, recycled consumer plastic scrap, industrial plastics and mixed plastic feedstock.

The tech fund is charged with supporting projects that address issues such as climate change, air quality, clean water and clean soil.

“GreenMantra is very thankful for the support from SDTC,” says Tim Haig, president of GreenMantra Technologies.

“With funding ready to go, we’re eager to showcase the capabilities of GreenMantra’s technology and become the industry’s leading supplier of environmentally friendly waxes,” adds Haig.


Anaerobic digestion

CR&R AD facility underway

CR&R Environmental Services, a waste and recycling firm based in Stanton, California, has entered the construction phase of its anaerobic digestion facility in Perris, California.

The project’s first phase will convert more than 80,000 tons per year of municipal organic wastes into renewable natural gas (RNG).

The project is permitted for three additional phases that will convert more than 320,000 tons of organic wastes into RNG and generate the energy equivalent of 4 million diesel gallons, making it the largest project of its kind in the United States at full build-out.

“We are excited to get construction for phase 1 in full swing,” says Mike Silva, civil engineer and project manager for CR&R. “After five years of careful planning, it’s nice to see the steel finally coming out of the ground.”

CR&R’s process entails the collection of curbside green waste and food scraps from its municipal waste collection customers in southern California. This source-separated material will go through a proprietary sorting process to provide conditioned organic material to feed the anaerobic digester, which converts the material into biogas. The gas is upgraded to produce RNG, which can be used in CR&R’s natural gas collection vehicles.

The RNG generated from the first phase of the project will fuel about 70 collection vehicles. Subsequent phases will enable CR&R to inject RNG into the Southern California Gas pipeline. “Even though it will be challenging, we are confident that we can get our biogas cleaned to the stringent California pipeline standards,” says Silva. “We will be one of the first in the state to accomplish this.”

Other added benefits of the Perris facility include the generation of nutrient-rich coproducts that can be used as soil amendments and fertilizers. These materials can be processed to generate organic compost and other products that are widely used in agriculture, nurseries and the home-gardening industry.

CR&R anticipates completion of the first phase by the first quarter of 2015. The timeline for the development of future phases is dependent on the outcome of state grants that CR&R has applied for, says Paul Relis, senior vice president at CR&R. “These types of projects are very capital-intensive,” Relis notes. “Grant funds allow the state to seed projects that will ensure the success of California’s ambitious organic waste diversion goals.”

CR&R has received grants from the California Energy Commission (CEC) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), which enabled them to move forward with the project’s first phase.

The core of the technology for the Perris facility comes from Germany-based Eisenmann, which has installed more than 90 biogas plants worldwide and has a U.S. office in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The company’s high solids anaerobic digestion system employs a continuously fed, horizontal plug flow design which it says allows for maximum biogas production.

The gas clean-up system is supplied by Greenlane Biogas, based in New Zealand. This system will use water scrubbing and other advanced technologies to clean raw biogas to required specifications for use as vehicle fuel or pipeline injection.



Advanced Plasma Power receives order for Canada WTE project

Advanced Plasma Power (APP), London, a waste-to-energy and waste-to-fuels company, has signed a contract as the technology provider for a new 20-megawatt (MW) waste-to-energy (WTE) plant in the Port of Hamilton, Ontario, being built by Port Fuels & Materials Services Inc. The contract, valued at nearly $33 million, represents the company’s first order for a full-scale commercial facility and is a significant step toward the widespread adoption of its technology, the company says.

According to APP, Ontario produces approximately 13 million metric tons of commercial and municipal waste annually. The region is under pressure to develop alternative waste management strategies. The project in the Port of Hamilton will, subject to final regulatory approval, use APP’s Gasplasma technology to process up to 170,000 metric tons of waste annually delivering power to the Canadian electricity grid.

The plant will process a wide range of waste streams produced in the Port of Hamilton region to deliver a clean, high-quality syngas that will be used directly in highly efficient gas engines to generate power. Construction on-site will start upon completion of consents and permitting, which are underway.

Rolf Stein, CEO of Advanced Plasma Power says, “This landmark deal is a significant milestone for the commercialization of the Gasplasma technology. “



Philadelphia exceeds 70 percent waste diversion goal

The city of Philadelphia has exceeded its goal of 70 percent waste diversion for the second consecutive year in 2012, according to a report issued by Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s Office of Sustainability. According to the Greenworks 2014 Progress Report, half of all waste generated by the city was recycled and another 23 percent was used for energy production.

The report also notes in 2013 the Philadelphia Streets Department began diverting all waste from landfill through a combination of recycling and waste-to-energy (WTE) practices. To achieve a 73 percent diversion rate, the Philadelphia Streets Department improved recycling rates in all waste streams, capturing more than 1.3 million tons of recycling in 2012, according to the report.

Construction and demolition (C&D) debris diversion reached a record 80 percent in 2012, and residential recycling also reached an all-time high of 21 percent.


Anaerobic digestion

Bluesphere developing AD projects in New England and North Carolina

Israel-based Bluesphere Corp., a developer, manager and owner of waste-to-energy (WTE) projects, has announced that Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, has issued the company an air emissions permit for a 5.2 megawatt (MW) organic WTE project in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“This marks another milestone in the development of our 5.2 MW clean energy project in Charlotte. The air permit usually tends to be one of the more difficult-to-get permits,” says Bluesphere CEO Shlomi Palas. “We are now preparing to submit applications for the remaining permits, but the biggest piece of the permitting process is now behind us. We are nearing groundbreaking on the site and will produce and deliver power on schedule.”

Bluesphere’s facility will take in organic waste such as food and farm waste that would normally be landfilled. The organic waste is processed in an anaerobic digester to emit biogas, which then is turned into electricity with compost as a byproduct. The facility generates revenues from the intake of organic waste, as well as the sale of renewable electricity and the sale of compost.

A domestic power holding company has signed a long-term contract with Bluesphere to purchase electricity generated at the plant. Compost, which is a byproduct of the organics-to-energy generation process, will be purchased under a contractual agreement.

Bluesphere also has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a local developer operating in the recycling and compost business to codevelop a WTE project in the Boston metropolitan area.

This marks the third waste-to-energy facility in development for Bluesphere. It is also developing a 3.2 MW WTE facility in Johnston, Rhode Island.

Per the terms of the MoU, Bluesphere will take advantage of the site’s existing operations to build and operate a 5.2 MW waste-to-energy plant on the same premises in the Boston metropolitan area. The advantage of such an approach is that the joint project will benefit from the site’s existing permits and feedstock supply arrangements.



Cirque Energy to develop biomass gasification plant in Texas

Detroit-based Cirque Energy Inc. has signed an agreement for the development of project to install a 2.5 megawatt (MW) biomass gasification power plant to be known as the Midland Biomass Energy Station (MBES) in Midland, Texas.

The project will be developed in conjunction with ReCom Operating Partners, a Midland urban wood waste recovery and recycling operation. Cirque Energy will install, operate and maintain the plant, which is expected to be operational by the end of the first quarter of 2015. The MBES will sell the renewable electricity generated by the project through the deregulated Texas utility market under a multiyear power purchase agreement.

Cirque Energy is working in partnership with Northrop Grumman Corp., Falls Church, Virginia, to bring to market a Deployable Gasification Unit (DGU) that can use solid waste to provide fuel or supplement traditional fuels used to generate combined heat and power (CHP). For the MBES project, four DGUs will work in parallel to process the urban wood waste to generate clean, renewable electrical energy.

“The Midland Texas project will allow us to rapidly bring to market our DGU technology. We are excited about the opportunity to place four units into service which will quickly allow us to gain commercial operating hours on the systems,” said Richard L. Fosgitt, Cirque’s vice president of engineering and technology.

The DGU is designed to use combinations of typical garbage/municipal solid waste, waste wood, dunnage, cardboard, plastics, mixed paper and food wastes.

By focusing on these fuels, Cirque Energy’s gasifier and gas cleanup technology has been designed to generate a clean syngas that can be cofired in conventional diesel or natural gas internal combustion CHP engines. With a sufficient supply of waste material, a commercial or industrial facility can expect to replace up to 70 percent of the fossil fuel consumption to power CHP engines, according to Cirque.


Transportation fuels

British Airways, Solena Fuels plan waste-to-jet-fuel plant

The U.K.-based airline British Airways (BA) and the biofuel producer Solena Fuels, Washington, D.C., have jointly announced plans to build a facility in the U.K. that will produce jet fuel from waste. The project will be located on the site of a former oil refinery in Thurrock, U.K.

When it opens in 2017, the facility will convert scrap paper, food scraps and garden waste into liquid fuel, according to the companies.

BA estimates 575,000 metric tons of postrecycled waste will be converted into 120,000 metric tons of liquid fuels using Solena’s integrated technology. BA says it has made a long-term commitment to purchase all 50,000 metric tons per year of the jet fuel produced at market competitive rates.

Willie Walsh, CEO of BA’s parent company IAG, says, “We are always striving to reduce our impact on climate change and this first-of-its-kind project marks a significant step for the aviation industry. The construction of the GreenSky London fuel facility at Thames Enterprise Park will lay the foundations for British Airways to reduce its carbon emissions significantly. The sustainable jet fuel produced each year will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.”

Solena, which has the patented high-temperature plasma gasification technology, says it will be able to convert waste into synthetic gas. The gas will then be converted into liquid hydrocarbons using third-party technologies, which will include cleaning and conditioning of the gas, a Velocys Fischer-Tropsch conversion process, hydrocracking and electric power production.

Robert Do, president and CEO of Solena Fuels, says, “We are excited to help British Airways achieve its sustainability goals by providing an innovative solution to produce drop-in jet fuel.


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