Waste conversion into fuel skyrockets
Last June it was announced that the City of Edmonton, the Alberta government and two technology companies would invest $70 million dollars to build the world’s first and largest chemical processing plant to convert municipal waste into methanol, ethanol and other biochemical derivatives.
In following up on the story, American Recycler learned that this project is actually happening. This project could become the prototype for handling municipal waste in the future.
According to the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy, approximately two-thirds of everything that is dumped into landfills contains cellulose and is a potential source of fuel. More importantly, cellulosic ethanol yields approximately 80 percent more energy than is required to grow and convert it.
Ethanol, of course, is a renewable transportation fuel that today is largely made from grains such as corn and wheat, but cellulose ethanol can be made from agricultural byproducts, such as straw, corn cobs, and corn stalks, which are often discarded as waste, or made from new crops like switchgrass, the tall, native grass that once covered most of the North American prairie.
Test plots of switchgrass at Auburn University have produced up to 15 tons of dry biomass per acre, and five-year yields average 11.5 tons, enough to make 1,150 gallons of ethanol per acre each year. And, switchgrass thrives with little or no irrigation or fertilizer. ...read more
FOCUS on SOLID WASTE
View upcoming topics
- Republic and Allied: The first 100 days
- Recession impacts solid waste industry
- When rats attack: Vector control
- Waste Connections to acquire Potrero Hills Landfill
- Republic caps landfill with flexible solar cover
- $30 million methane tax credit scam unearthed
- DEP fines Veolia for waste violations
- EQUIPMENT SPOTLIGHT: Waste Compactors
- Obama chooses Stanislaus to run EPA waste office
- Republic Services and Mack partner to introduce first American-built hybrid diesel garbage truck
- Pennsylvania DEP approves higher tonnage limit for Veolia
- South Carolina approves temporary landfill ban
- Clean Harbors facility receives EPA recertification
- N-Viro signs lease extension for Florida N-Viro soil facility
- ON TOPIC: Waste companies cope with challenges
- A CLOSER LOOK: Portland Disposal
- Columbus man indicted in buried truck, trash, tires case
Last December Republic Services, Inc. and Allied Waste Industries, Inc. completed their merger, which created the second largest waste and environmental services company in the States, now operating as Republic Services, Inc. The hundred day mark has come and gone, and though the honeymoon may be over, the combined companies still seem to be thriving.
The merger of the companies only happened after a long courtship where each partner had time to get acquainted and learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses. “What’s interesting is that there had been talks between the two companies for almost five years. It wasn’t until the early part of 2008 when the conversations were reinitiated and the deal ultimately came together,” said Doug Borro, Republic’s vice president of program management for the merger.
A quick overview of the deal: Republic, with approximately $3.3 billion in 2008 revenues, acquired Allied with approximately $6.1 billion in 2008 revenues through an all stock transaction. Proforma guidance for 2009 is $8.4 billion.
A week after the June merger announcement, the functional leaders of both companies held an engagement party in Floridia. Doug Borro commented on the cocktail party before the formal meeting, “The level of camaraderie was uncanny. We all seemed to gravitate towards our counterparts at the other company and the emotional merger was immediate. I was with Allied during the BFI acquisition and while we did the mechanical merger it was a very hard emotional merger between the people.” ...read more