New Report and Workshop Targets Potential of Organic Waste to Fuel
Springfield, VA – Energy Vision, a national non-profit environmental research and education organization which promotes the transition to renewable transportation fuels and energy sources in the U.S., has completed a new report on the organic wastes in the U.S. and on state and municipal trends in diverting these materials from landfills for beneficial use. Read Full online Release). EVfinal_June_16_2014_Springfield – Download PDF.
CleanWorld’s Dr. Ruihong Zhang will be on the workshop panel. According to Energy Vision’s President, Joanna Underwood:
“The report concludes that turning the nation’s vast stream of organic waste into the lowest-carbon commercially viable transportation fuel deserves support as a leading strategy in national efforts to reduce petroleum dependence and respond to climate impacts.”
While the full Energy Vision report, Organic Waste: A New Frontier in Recycling & Clean Fuels, will be released in August, excerpts will be available to attendees of a June 17th workshop in Springfield, VA.
At this workshop, “Extracting Value and Vehicle Fuel from Waste: Renewable Natural Gas,” hosted by Energy Vision and the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition (GWRCCC), regional municipal leaders, energy and transportation planners, solid waste industry officials and other stakeholders will learn about effective programs and approaches for converting organic waste into a renewable form of natural gas, called “RNG”.
Ronald Flowers, Executive Director of GWRCCC, will welcome the workshop attendees and the featured speakers, who include George Hawkins from the DC Water & Sewer Authority, John Somers from Clean Energy Fuels (CA), Mel Kurtz from Quasar Energy Group (OH), Charles Ker from Cummins Westport (Vancouver), and Dr. Ruihong Zhang, America’s leading researcher on anaerobic digestion of food waste from the University of California at Davis.
The workshop will highlight case studies from two commercial facilities in the U.S. where organic waste is being converted into RNG: CleanWorld’s Sacramento BioDigester in Sacramento, CA and Quasar Energy Group’s Bio-Energy Digester in Columbus, Ohio. The RNG produced at both sites, by collecting and refining the biogases created as organic wastes decompose, is used on-site to fuel local waste hauling fleets as well as other public and private fleet vehicles such as university buses, street sweepers, and commercial delivery vehicles.
“These projects,” according to EV Vice President Matt Tomich, “represent leading examples in building and operating organic-waste-to-RNG facilities. They demonstrate the many economic and environmental benefits of converting organic waste into low-carbon transportation fuel. In addition to these two operational projects, there are 5-10 other food-and-agricultural-waste-to-RNG projects in development in North America. This workshop focuses on how to plan such projects most efficiently and effectively.”
The potential for organic waste as an energy resource is immense. Energy Vision’s new report cites a 2012 waste characterization study by EPA, “Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2012,” which states that 164 million tons of municipal solid waste were landfilled, nearly one third of which was composed of food and agricultural waste.
By transforming the organic portion of our waste stream into vehicle fuel, Energy Vision estimates that renewable natural gas could displace up to 25% (or 9.5 billion gallons) of the diesel fuel consumed in the U.S. and cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from diesel fuel by 88% or more, for each vehicle converted.
“The opportunity for food and organic waste to be used as a renewable fuel source is significant,” said workshop presenter Dr. Ruihong Zhang. “Energy Vision is taking the lessons learned from leading technology and development companies to communities across the country. Now it is a matter of implementation and collaboration to make the goal of converting 100% of our organic waste in the U.S. possible.”
The American Biogas Council is currently working with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency to construct a “Biogas Roadmap.” This roadmap lays out strategies to accelerate adoption of cost-effective technologies that reduce GHG emissions.
The roadmap is due for release this summer, when the President will also have laid out his Climate Action Plan, in which methane gas emission reductions play a leading role. (Fact Sheet: Strategy to Cut Methane)
In addition to the Biogas Roadmap, a number of state and municipal policies — highlighted in Energy Vision’s forthcoming organics report — are currently bolstering this movement by their landfill bans and mandates that organic wastes be productively used. Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont have already implemented organics diversion policies, and in California, a bill pending approval in the Senate,
AB 1826, authored by Assembly Member Wes Chesbro (D-Arcata) would mandate commercial entities producing over one cubic yard of organic waste per week to divert this material from landfills by 2020.
Energy Vision, is a national non-profit environmental organization that analyzes and promotes strategies for making the most rapid progress in the U.S. to the petroleum-free and carbon neutral fuels needed for a sustainable transportation future.
The GWRCCC, a multi-sectoral coalition that is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program, promotes regional reductions in use of petroleum-based vehicle fuels through a coalition of effective partnerships, increasing the use of alternative fuels, vehicles and infrastructure, and encouraging economic opportunities in clean energy technologies, fuel efficiency improvements, and related academic research.
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