January 25, 2011 | General

Global Roundup

BioCycle January 2011, Vol. 52, No. 1, p. 38

Dublin, Ireland
AD Europe 2011: International Conference & Trade Fair on Anaerobic Digestion of Organic Waste & Agricultural Residues, will be held February 24-25 in Dublin. The conference is organized by the European Compost Network & Cré Ireland in cooperation with the European Biogas Association and the Irish Bioenergy Association. Topics to be covered include: Status and trends on anaerobic digestion of agricultural residues, energy crops and biowaste in Europe; Process optimization, including how to increase biogas yield; digestate quality and use; biomethane, biofuels and use of heat in district heating systems; European biowaste policy and impacts on anaerobic digestion; and combining an AD plant with a composting plant. Key advice will be available on setting incentives for AD in member states in Europe and from the European Investment Bank on how to raise financing for an AD plant. Project and biogas use subsidies also will be addressed. To learn more, visit
Willunga, South Australia
When Peter Wadewitz of Peats Soil and Garden Supplies in Willunga wanted to build a composting facility in a remote area with no electrical supply, he turned to Martin Hauke of Hauke-Erden in Remseck, Germany for assistance. Almost 20 years ago, Hauke had been tasked by his company, a producer of soil and garden supplies, to improve and increase compost production – while also facing a temporary facility relocation. “To increase capacity, we needed to get away from small triangle windrows that required frequent turning,” recalls Hauke. “I knew injecting air into the heap would be more economical than compost containment solutions such as in-vessel systems. And because our facility would have to undergo relocation, the system would have to come with us. This set of circumstances led to the development of the mobile aerated floor (MAF) composting system.” The floor can be placed on almost any level ground; individual units are linked together to increase processing capacity as needed. When it is time to transfer the material, the system can be disassembled and removed, with aeration pipes pulled out for later use.
Wadewitz had purchased six MAF units for evaluation in April 2008. A series of tests and trials were conducted with differing compositions to determine the effectiveness of the system. Wadewitz eventually ordered another 12 units but the intended site was isolated and had no power supply. It wasn’t cost-effective to run the aeration system on a dedicated generator; peak loads when the induction motors start would require a generator load capacity up to the task, which meant a significant fuel bill. The solution was to utilize large deep cycle batteries in combination with high performance inverters (to briefly supply peak loads) while a small efficient generator maintains the average load (and recharges the batteries). The power unit is housed in a compact weatherproof mobile cabinet.
Auckland, New Zealand
In early December, Auckland Mayor Len Brown turned the key on that country’s first rubbish truck to be powered by landfill gas. According to the Rodney Times, the mayor had to turn the key from the passenger seat since he lacks his country’s equivalent of a Commercial Drivers License, after which he went for a spin as a passenger courtesy of a Redvale Landfill driver. Trash trucks servicing the Transpacific-owned landfill use up about a million liters of fuel annually. According to the article, 54 million liters (14.3 million gallons) of diesel equivalent fuel are expected to be generated from the landfill annually. “This is the type of innovation that is going to drive our city,” Mayor Brown stated in the article. “We need to find alternative energy and are desperately keen to develop alternative energy for vehicles in particular.”
The captured landfill biogas is around 60 percent methane, 30 percent carbon dioxide and 10 percent other gases, including hydrogen sulfide. Highly corrosive to engines, the hydrogen sulfide is removed through scrubbing equipment supplied by project partner New Zealand Greenlane Biogas, part of Flotech Group. The engines must be converted to a dual-fuel system so the trucks can run on diesel if necessary. Dieselgas International converted the prototype truck. With an investment of around $20,000 per truck, that cost is recuperated in around eight months. The partners are also looking at large-scale dairy farms, the food and beverage industries and the pulp and paper waste industries as potential producers of biofuel.
Adelaide, Australia
International Symposium On Organic Matter Management and Compost Use In Horticulture is taking place April 4-7, 2011 at the University of Adelaide. The Symposium highlights the vital role that soil organic matter plays in sustaining long-term soil fertility and productivity, and says Johannes Biala, conference convener, “for ensuring the viability of future food production …. All of this is nowhere more pertinent than in intensive horticultural field cropping. However, the success of other horticultural sectors, such as amenity horticulture [e.g. gardens, landscapes] and the nursery industry, is equally dependent on proper management of organic matter, i.e. the production and use of high quality and fit-for-purpose growing media, soil blends, mulches, etc.” All horticultural sectors will be addressed and represented, from vegetable and fruit production to turf, blended soils, potting and container media, viticulture, flower production and tree cropping. For more details, visit
Washington, D.C. (And Beyond)
According to “State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet” (Norton/Worldwatch Institute, 2011), sustainable transformations in agriculture hold the keys to both reducing poverty and to curbing climate change. Soaring petroleum prices and unfair trade agreements exacerbate growing environmental problems faced by developing nations, Worldwatch points out, and despite the United Nations goal of halving global hunger by 2015, the world is on a trajectory that could see 600 million more people joining the one billion who currently go hungry daily.
For the past two years, Worldwatch’s Nourishing the Planet team has traveled through 25 sub-Saharan African nations – places in which hunger is greatest and rural communities struggle most – and discovered a diverse mix of grassroots projects initiated by farmers’ groups, private volunteer organizations, universities and others. Topics with global application/ implication include Africa’s pivotal role in preventing climate change, ways in which urban farmers are feeding city dwellers and closing the nutrient loop with livestock farming and diverse cropping systems. State of the World 2011 assesses the state of agricultural innovations – from planting methods to irrigation technique to agricultural policy – with a focus on sustainability, diversity and ecosystem health as a means to guide governments, foundations and concerned citizens toward effectively eradicating hunger and poverty. For more information, go to and

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