BioCycle December 2005, Vol. 46, No. 12, p. 14
Cloudcroft, New Mexico
WASTEWATER RECYCLING BECOMES REALITY AS VILLAGE GETS FUNDING ASSISTANCE
“We’re up at 9,000 feet and have been able to move our vision of wastewater recycling into reality,” says Mike Nivison, village administrator. “The key is the equipment, and we expect to have the system in place by summer, 2006. We’ve been able to get the shovel into the ground.”
With the total cost of the project estimated at $2 million, Cloudcroft had received an innovation grant of $637,000 by qualifying as a finalist in a state program. New Mexico continues to be short of water due to an extended drought, and the state governor Bill Richardson emphasizes that “water reuse is essential.” Eddie Livingston of Livingston Associates in nearby Alamogordo is the consulting engineer on this water resource project. John Koch of ITT Sanitaire Americas based in Brown Deer, Wisconsin will be supplying the equipment from its ITT Industries division.
The water reuse system consists of a membrane bioreactor and reverse osmosis systems for wastewater treatment and an ultrafiltration technology for water treatment. It is referred to as an integrated membrane system. Cloudcroft is reported to produce between 80,000 and 100,000 gallons of effluent daily.
Says Nivison who had been mayor before becoming the village administrator in 1996, “This village has always been out front with environmental issues. We’re still in a drought period and not out of danger. What we need to put back is close to 90 percent.” A detailed article on Cloudcroft, its equipment and an overall view of wastewater recycling, is scheduled for the January, 2006 issue of BioCycle.
COMPOSTING IN IRELAND TAKES INNOVATIVE TURNS
Executive Director Eric Lombardi of Eco-Cycle and its newest project Eco-Cycle International describes his travels to Ireland leading him to the “perfect food composting system for Boulder County.” In Ireland, he writes in the latest Eco-Cycle Times, the cost to landfill is $150 per ton (more than ten times the rate at Boulder sites. The “recycling tax” on garbage in Ireland is over $20/ton (117 times as much as the 17 cents collected in Colorado). “And then there’s the government’s legal obligation from the European Union to radically reduce the amount of untreated biodegradable waste going into landfills by the year 2016 (as compared to no federal requirements to reduce landfilling in the U.S.) The sum of all these factors is Ireland getting serious about reducing its landfilling rates, and composting has been one of their primary tactics.”
GOVERNOR URGES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO BOOST USE OF ALTERNATIVE FUELS
Calling his plan an “American Energy Harvest” to make the nation less dependent on imported oil, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell challenged the federal government to require energy and utility companies to emphasize alternative fuels and fuel-saving technologies. He also called for canceling $2.6 billion in initiatives that Congress approved earlier this year to accelerate fossil fuel research and explore instead ways to help produce more biofuels. Besides using its purchasing power to stimulate a market for alternatives, Rendell said the federal government needs a “modern day Manhattan Project” to develop homegrown energy sources. No additional federal spending is necessary, he pointed out: “All that is necessary is the political will of the nation’s leaders.”
RENEWABLE DIESEL STANDARD “IS RIGHT COURSE FOR NATION’S FUTURE”
U.S. Senator Barack Obama from Illinois has introduced legislation titled the “Renewable Diesel Standard” bill which calls for 2 billion gallons of biodiesel use annually by 2015. When introducing the bill to his colleagues, Obama stated: “Hundreds of millions of gallons of biodiesel are within the timeline proposed in my legislation, making another small, but bold, step to create jobs in rural America, strengthen our economic security, and improve air quality. A Renewable Diesel Standard is the right course for the nation’s future.” This issue of BioCycle has articles on new companies in the biodiesel industry which confirms the Senator’s views.
LUNCHROOM COMPOSTING PROGRAM WINS TOP ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP AWARD
On November 22, 2005, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger honored 18 individuals, organizations and businesses for making “extraordinary contributions to California’s natural resources and environment.” Said the Governor: “I commend this year’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award recipients for their efforts in making California’s air, land and water cleaner and safer.” The list included SF Environment – City and County of San Francisco, which works with schools to reach 50 percent diversion by collecting organic residuals and taking them to Jepson Prairie Compost Facility. As reported in the October 2005 issue of BioCycle (p. 19), SF Environment offers teachers lesson plans and fact sheets to incorporate into the classroom activities. An estimated 500 tons of organic residuals are diverted each school year from the Altamont landfill; Tamar Hurwitz is a manager with the composting program in San Francisco.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANS INCLUDE COMPOSTING AND CLASS A BIOSOLIDS
In the latest bulletin from the Northwest Biosolids Management Association, Roy Carlson of Richland’s Treatment Facility writes that as construction on a plant modification finishes on the 20-year wastewater plant, long-range plans include starting a composting operation that would use the biosolids from its 43,000 residents, and the wood waste stream generated on-site. “A compost product meeting Class A biosolids standards would have many benefits, especially to the City which would love to apply it to the many parks and facilities in Richmond,” says Carlson. The City has also talked with local wheat farmers about applying biosolids to their land.
Currently, Richland produces 927 dry tons of class B biosolids per year. Biosolids are mixed with sandy-loam soil and wood chips at a prescribed C:N ratio to produce a soil amendment used for land reclamation at the landfill.
CITY COUNCIL EXPLORES MUNICIPAL ANAEROBIC DIGESTER AT NEARBY FARM
According to city manager Ed Larson, with a dairy farm having 5,000 cows producing eight million cubic feet of manure a year just eight miles away, “the opportunity is there to make methane.” City Council decided to explore if there’s a marketable product that could be sold to local industries. The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) Center for Producer Owned Energy provided funds to help Morris (pop. 5,000) take a closer look at municipal methane. The project calls for building an anaerobic manure digester and methane transportation system at the West River Dairy. Its feasibility is being evaluated by an engineering firm that specializes in energy utilities called Sebesta-Blomberg. Technical issues include gas production, manure management, construction and operating costs, financing and biogas marketing. A report in AURI Ag Innovation News (Oct.-Dec 2005) notes that Morris, Minnesota is home to agricultural research stations, a University of Minnesota campus, and is the site of several green power demonstration projects. “We decided we should pursue it,” adds Larson when the ethanol plant in town expressed an interest in buying methane.
FARMERS ARE URGED TO EVALUATE NEW WAYS TO MAKE MANURE MANAGEMENT RESIDUES MORE PROFITABLE
Digester costs have been funded in the past with the USDA Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG), notes Roger Kasper of the Wisconsin Biogas Development Group, who reminds readers that funds will be available to assist a new business start-ups to make manure and residues more profitable. Last year, 171 recipients from 42 states received $14.6 million to implement innovative projects, including five from Wisconsin.
Wisconsin agricultural groups and producers have used VAPG grant funds for projects that included new venture start-ups, feasibility studies to develop new products and grow brand marketing. Funds can be used for determining viability of potential value-added venture or for working capital funds. Contacts mentioned by Kasper are Greg Lawless, Ag Innovation Center at (608)265-2903; and Carl Rainey, DATCP at (608)224 5139.
2005 BAN ON METHYL BROMIDE STILL HAS LOOPHOLES
While sickened farmworkers and consumers still fight to uphold the 2005 ban on use of the poisonous fumigant methyl bromide – officially prohibited by an international treaty “except for most critical uses,” its application continues on strawberries, tomatoes, peppers and other crops. According to an Associated Press article, “the Bush administration, at the urging of agriculture and manufacturing interests, is making plans to ensure that methyl bromide remains available at least through 2008 by seeking and winning treaty exemptions. Also, the administration will not commit to an end date.” The amount of the fumigant that the administration requested under treaty exemptions for the next two years is lower than in 2005. Described in the AP report as “odorless and colorless,” methyl bromide is a gas usually injected into the soil before planting, then covered with plastic sheeting to slow its release into the air. The chemical depletes the earth’s protective ozone layer and can harm the human neurological system. Workers who inhale enough of the chemical can suffer convulsions, coma, neuromuscular and cognitive problems.
The U.S. had signed the Montreal Protocol treaty, committing to phase out methyl bromide by 2005, but the U.S. has used a provision for exemptions to allow farmers to continue its use. Continues the AP: “That exemption process leaves the U.S. 37 percent shy of the phaseout required by 2005, with at least 10,450 tons of methyl bromide exempted this year. …U.S. Officials are heading to a meeting on December 7 to begin negotiations on exemptions for 2007 and are preparing requests for 2008.”
Los Angeles County, California
CONVERSION TECHNOLOGIES TO PROCESS TRASH INTO RENEWABLE FUELS EVALUATED BY TASK FORCE
The Los Angeles County Integrated Waste Management Task Force recently adopted the Conversion Technology Evaluation Report which could take Southern California one step closer to “being first in the nation to use conversion technologies to turn into fuel the trash that remains after recycling.” The Report recommends developing a demonstration facility to provide relevant data on the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of these technologies.
Currently, about half of all waste generated in California is sent to disposal, resulting in 40 million tons of trash discarded each year. Conversion technologies can recover useful products from the residual trash, reduce greenhouse gases, increase recycling rates, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, all while complementing the existing recycling infrastructure and meeting Southern California’s strict environmental regulations.
The findings indicate that conversion technologies have the potential to revolutionize solid waste management in the United States. At present, over 140 conversion technology facilities are successfully operating in Europe and Asia, but no commercial scale facility exists in the U.S.
The Report evaluated dozens of technology suppliers and identified the six most suitable technologies capable of developing a demonstration facility in partnership with a materials recovery facility (MRF). The partnership with a MRF is key, as this synergy will provide the facility with a readily available feedstock that has already been stripped of recyclables. The Report also identified six MRFs willing and capable of partnering with a technology supplier. Visit www.lacountyiswmtf.org.
TAX CREDITS AND LOANS PROPOSED FOR ANIMAL WASTE RECYCLING FACILITIES
A new bill (H.B. 1413) authored by Rep. Tom Caltagirone was unanimously passed by the House legislature to provide state investment tax credits, equal to 75 percent of the initial facility costs, for qualified animal waste recycling projects. A special fund also would be created to provide low-interest loans to waste recyclers, promoting growth of alternative industries across the state. Animal wastes are generated both on farms and at food processing plants, Caltagirone stresses. “This is really a win-win situation that will enable us to start converting trash while reducing the burden on landfills,” sums up the Representative whose Reading office can be contacted at (610) 376-1529.
Haskell County, Kansas
CATTLE MANURE TO ETHANOL
A 100-million-gallon fuel ethanol plant that will use one billion pounds of cattle manure annually to power the facility is being built by Panda Energy International. The refinery when complete will convert corn and milo into ethanol, replacing the need to import 100 million gallons of gasoline each year. Based in Dallas, the energy company is developing ethanol plants, biomass electric generating facilities and biodiesel projects.
BIOMASS COLLABORATIVE PROVIDES DATA ON RENEWABLE ENERGY ISSUES
Rapidly increasing fuel prices in the wake of supply disruptions, along with increasing international demand for petroleum, and the continuing war in the Middle East serve as a reminder of the need to diversify our energy supply, improve efficiency, and work to reduce consumption stresses the latest issue of the California Biomass Collaborative. It continues: “At $3 per gallon, the energy cost of diesel fuel exceeds $20 per million Btu. Most of the biofuels from biomass including ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, biogas, syngas and hydrogen have actual or projected production costs below this value. As natural gas prices increase, electricity from all types of biomass is becoming increasingly competitive as well, particularly in combined heat and power applications.”
According to the U.S. Forest Service, 5.5 million acres of California public forestland are in need of fuels reduction, which could produce biomass products. Mechanical treatment can be biomass harvesting which cuts and removes the fuel from the site, or on-site chipping where trees are cut, chipped and spread back on the forest floor in a less flammable condition. The Biomass Collaborative estimates about 10 million “bone dry tons” as thinnings, slash and biomass could be available annually for harvest in California. Current biomass harvesting levels are well below this value.
BIODIESEL COMPANY BUILDS DISTRIBUTION THROUGHOUT NORTHWEST
SeQuential Biofuels, LLC is a biodiesel marketing and distribution company that supplies blends for heat, power and transport to businesses, government and individuals throughout western Oregon and western Washington. In partnership with regional fuel distributors, SeQuential provides pure biodiesel (B100) directed to customers through its mobile retail pump, also offering a 20 percent biodiesel blend at its locations in Eugene, Portland and elsewhere. Founded by Josh Endicott, Tomas Endicott and Ian Hill in 2002, the company is working to expand the fleet and retail markets throughout the Pacific Northwest. SeQuential also continues to research the feasibility of other biofuels and biobased products from feedstocks collected or produced in the region. For details, visit the website: sqbiofuels.com.
STATE BIOMASS RESOURCES COULD GENERATE 1.6 BILLION kWh OF ELECTRICITY
Arizona could generate enough power from its biomass resources – estimated at 1. 6 billion kWh of electricity – to power 160,000 homes – eight percent of its residential needs. As reported in the October 2005 issue of Biomass Initiative Newsletter, urban residues contribute 366,000 dry tons annually; forest and mill residues could annually supply 261,000 and 251,000 dry tons respectively; agricultural residues would add up to 222,000 dry tons per year. But the only biomass projects currently in development are three forest residue facilities.
Meanwhile, statistics from a few years ago showed that petroleum at 33 percent was the leading source of energy, followed by coal at 27 percent, nuclear power at 19 percent, and natural gas at 15 percent. Hydroelectric power supplied five percent, while biomass accounted for only one percent in 2001.
According to Biomass Initiative Newsletter, to encourage biomass energy use in the state, there is a tax reduction for converting a wood fireplace to a qualifying wood stove. There is also an Environmental Portfolio Standard that requires growing percentages of renewable energy for utilities each year starting at 0.2 percent in 2001, and rising to 1.1 percent in 2007. In addition, state public buildings constructed after February 2005 are required to obtain 10 percent of their power from renewable sources.
St. Paul, Minnesota
CLEAN ENERGY RESOURCE TEAMS REACH OUT FOR BIOFUELS TO PROTECT FUTURE
CERTs – Clean Energy Resource Teams – are connecting Minnesota citizens with technical resources needed to implement community-scale energy efficient projects. CERTs are presenting community-wide programs that would double biodiesel use in 15 southwest Minnesota counties. Another team in the center of the state is highlighting the work of the Minnesota Ethanol Co-op in Little Falls to be powered with waste wood and biomass. NW CERT is helping a University of North Dakota team with an on-site biomass gasifier. The NW CERT is also exploring potential for biogas at food processing plants. CERT is partnering with the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute to set up a biomass exchange web site. For additional details on programs, contact Karla Kingsley via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 25, 2005 | General
BioCycle December 2005, Vol. 46, No. 12, p. 14