BioCycle World

BioCycle March 2013, Vol. 54, No. 3, p. 6

US Composting Council, BioCycle Form Publication Partnership

The US Composting Council (USCC) and BioCycle Magazine have formed a collaborative partnership designating BioCycle as the official magazine of the USCC. This partnership directly taps the resources, education and outreach capabilities of each organization, and reflects their commitment to grow the composting and organics recycling industry sectors. “Combined, our organizations have been serving the composting industry in the U.S. for over 75 years,” says Lorrie Loder, President of the USCC Board of Directors. “It is exciting for the USCC to now be officially connected through our new partnership with BioCycle.” Adds Michael Virga, the USCC’s Executive Director: “This partnership with BioCycle provides an additional communications tool for the USCC and its initiatives.”

BioCycle views the collaboration as an opportunity to grow the organics management industry. “This new partnership will build a stronger composting, organics recycling and anaerobic digestion industry,” says Rill Ann Goldstein, Publisher of BioCycle. Adds Nora Goldstein, Editor: “Players beyond the BioCycle and USCC communities recognize that the resources being thrown away as waste are in fact edible food for humans, food for the soil, food to generate renewable energy and more. Behaviors and mindsets are changing, in a positive way. Our new partnership with the USCC will accelerate this change.”

Renewables Almost Half Of New U.S. Electricity Generation

Renewable energy sources accounted for 49.10 percent of all new U.S. electrical generating capacity installed in 2012 for a total of 12,956 MW, according to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects. More than a quarter of that new capacity — 25.29 percent, or 3,276 MW — came on-line in the month of December 2012 alone. Wind led the way in 2012 with 164 new units totaling 10,689 MW, followed by solar with 240 units totaling 1,476 MW. Biomass added 100 new units totaling 543 MW while geothermal steam and water each had 13 new units with installed capacities of 149 MW and 99 MW, respectively. By comparison, for the full 12 months of 2012, new natural gas generation in service totaled 8,746 MW (33.15%), coal (4,510 MW or 17.09%), nuclear (125 MW or 0.47%) and oil (49 MW or 0.19%). Renewable sources now account for 15.40 percent of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity: water-8.47%; wind-4.97%; biomass-1.30%, solar-0.34%; and geothermal-0.32%.

Composting And Air Emissions Requirements Workshop At BioCycle West Coast

One of the most significant challenges facing composting operations in California are local air quality district and federal Clean Air Act rules that set stringent emissions requirements in impacted “airsheds.” A day-long workshop on April 8, 2013 at BioCycle’s 27th Annual West Coast Conference in San Diego (full conference is April 8-11) reviews emissions requirements for composting operations and then takes an in-depth look at the performance of positive air aerated static pile (ASP) composting with biofilter layer technology. Results of a research project that involved the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the Association of Compost Producers, CalRecycle, air emissions consultants and Central Valley compost manufacturers will be presented. Details to be covered include conveyorization of composting materials and the biofilter layer, ASP system design, moisture management, use of a photovoltaic system to power aeration fans, and diesel emissions reductions. Instructors Chuck Schmidt and Tom Card will review the emissions assessment strategy and mass emissions analysis. The workshop ends with a discussion of best management practices for open air composting to comply with emissions requirements. To learn more, visit www.biocyclewestcoast.com/agenda.

“Vermont Digester Scene” Article Modification

A clarification was received from Green Mountain Power (GMP) in Rutland, Vermont about its Cow Power program (started by Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) in 2004) following publication of BioCycle’s cover story, “Farm Digester Evolution In Vermont,” in the February 2013 edition. GMP’s comment was prompted by a quote in the article about the Cow Power program by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM). In response, the following statement by Chuck Ross, Secretary of the Vermont AAFM, was submitted to BioCycle as a clarification:

“The CVPS Cow Power program, now GMP Cow Power, is an innovative green energy initiative created approximately 10 years ago which helped farmers address challenging waste management issues and improve their bottom line. Today, the program is highly acclaimed for its success, bringing many digesters on-line, and has established Vermont as a national leader for this technology. One of the challenges of this program is matching the customer demand with the supply of the digester-produced energy. CVPS and now GMP, have worked hard to make sure the revenue has been available to meet the premium. The renewable energy marketplace has continued to evolve since the program’s inception. As GMP Cow Power looks to the future it will need to continue to work to align customer demand with the farm-supplied gas so that farmers can have the financial certainty they need to make these investments and Vermont energy consumers can continue to help drive the creation of green renewable base load power generated from the manure of our farm industry.”

The on-line version of “Farm Digester Evolution In Vermont” has been modified with this clarification (available at www.biocycle.net).

California Bill Would Advance Organics Recycling

In February, California State Assemblyman Wes Chesbro introduced AB 323, a package of policies designed to drive recycling of yard trimmings and food scraps, resulting in reduction of pollution and greenhouse gases while creating jobs. A key component of AB 323 is a current California law that allows use of green waste as landfill cover to count toward diversion through recycling. The bill would require that “no later than January 1, 2020, the use of green material, as defined in regulations by the department, as alternative daily cover or alternative intermediate cover, does not constitute diversion through recycling and shall be considered disposal for purposes of this division,” explains Californians Against Waste (CAW), a key supporter of the legislation.

The act would also require businesses — defined in the bill as “a commercial or public entity that generates more than 4 cubic yards of commercial solid waste per week or is a multifamily residential dwelling of 5 units or more” — to arrange for recycling services. This includes separate organics collection for large quantity commercial organics generators. To learn more, visit www.cawrecycles.org.

Biosolids Boost Soil Phosphorus Levels — For Years

Research by a U.S. Department of Agriculture agronomist, Eton Codling, analyzed how long nutrients in biosolids remain in the soil after land application. Codling, who works at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Environmental Management and Byproduct Utilization Laboratory, measured mineral levels in three different soils that had received a single amendment from a biosolids processed either via high heat, additions of lime, anaerobic digestion or air drying. Land application to the soils at several different rates had occurred from 16 to 24 years earlier during previous studies on biosolids. As part of the earlier work, the fields had been cropped after the biosolids had been added, so nutrients in the experimental fields had been available for crop uptake for at least 16 years before Codling began his research. He observed that phosphorus levels were generally higher in the biosolids-amended soils than in soils that didn’t receive the amendments, a strong indication, he says, that soluble phosphorus levels in the amended soils could exceed typical plant requirements for years after biosolids were added. Codling also found that phosphorus solubility varied with the biosolids type and application level. For instance, a soil amended with heat-treated biosolids contained higher levels of water-extractable phosphorus than the same soil type amended with lime-treated biosolids.

Codling conducted a subsequent study in which wheat was planted in pots filled with each type of amended soil, explains an article in ARS’ Agricultural Research magazine (January 2013 issue). Yields from wheat grown in three of the five biosolids-amended soils were higher than from wheat grown in control soils. The highest yields were recorded for wheat grown in soils amended with biosolids created via anaerobic digestion But yields from wheat grown in lime-treated biosolids were severely reduced, probably as a result of manganese deficiency, reports Codling.

Reimagining Wastewater Treatment Utilities

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) have jointly released a document — “Water Resources Utility of the Future: Blueprint For Action” — that defines the evolving environmental, economic and social roles that clean water utilities are playing in their communities. The three organizations explain that the Blueprint “will transform the way traditional wastewater utilities view themselves and manage their operations. The document explores how traditional publicly owned treatment works have mastered their core wastewater treatment function and are now redefining themselves as resource recovery agencies and vital community enterprises.” They add that the new document “opens the door to re-imagining the Clean Water Act in the wake of unprecedented progress and evolution over the 40 years since the Act’s passage.”

States Jeff Eger, Executive Director of WEF: “Today’s utilities are reclaiming and reusing water, extracting and finding commercial uses for nutrients and other products, becoming more efficient energy users and renewable energy producers, and using green infrastructure to manage storm water and to improve the quality of life. They are essential to thriving, sustainable communities.” The organizations recognize that resistance to transitioning to a utility of the future is strong, “reinforced by regulatory pressures, strained utility budgets, political reluctance to raise rates, customer confusion about the benefits of innovation, skyrocketing demands for capital competing for every dollar, risk and regret associated with technology failure, and venture capital looking elsewhere for faster and safer returns. … This Blueprint for Action examines these barriers, suggests incentives for innovation, and compiles a series of actions that could change the dynamics of this industry.” A PDF of the Blueprint can be downloaded at WERF.org (under News/Press releases).

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