Covanta partners with Project Kaisei turning trash into diesel

Covanta Energy Corporation and Project Kaisei have joined forces to clean up ocean debris as part of a project commitment with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). The partnership was formally announced during the opening plenary at CGI’s annual meeting in New York. Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, CGI convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Both organizations are members of CGI.

Project Kaisei is a non-governmental organization focused on reducing plastic waste in the ocean. Covanta Energy is an internationally recognized owner and operator of large-scale energy-from-waste and renewable energy projects. Together they have committed to clean up ocean debris, beginning with the Plastic Vortex in the North Pacific Gyre; stem future plastic waste flows from entering oceans; and test a new waste-to-fuel technology for the remediation of non-recyclable plastics and plastic waste. The project will showcase how plastic, and waste in general, can have a beneficial secondary market value when properly processed, and will help initiate a larger scale cleanup effort of the ocean, aiding in the protection of marine life.

“It is estimated that roughly 90 percent of plastics made today aren’t recycled. This poses a significant opportunity for reuse, recycling and energy recovery,” said Paul Gilman, Covanta Energy senior vice president and chief sustainability officer.

Beginning in late 2010, Project Kaisei, the lead on the project, will collect plastic debris from the ocean for remediation testing. Covanta Energy will use the debris to test its new waste-to-fuel technology to convert the plastic into a diesel substitute using its catalytic process for converting solid organic materials directly to mineral diesel fuel. If successful, the end result is expected to be an innovative, sustainable solution for communities around the world to deal with non-recyclable plastics and plastic waste.

Covanta Energy and Project Kaisei have set a target to convert 50 tons of marine debris into renewable fuel each year.