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December, 2012:

Sweden imports waste from European neighbors to fuel waste-to-energy program


Sweden’s waste incineration plants generate 20 percent of Sweden’s district heating. (Photo by Vattenfall via Flickr CC.)

Sweden’s successful waste-to-energy program converts household waste into energy for heating and electricity. But they’ve run into an unusual problem: they simply aren’t generating enough trash to power the incinerators, so they’ve begun importing waste from European neighbors.

When it comes to recycling, Sweden is incredibly successful. Just four percent of household waste in Sweden goes into landfills. The rest winds up either recycled or used as fuel in waste-to-energy power plants.

Burning the garbage in the incinerators generates 20 percent of Sweden’s district heating, a system of distributing heat by pumping heated water into pipes through residential and commercial buildings. It also provides electricity for a quarter of a million homes.

According to Swedish Waste Management, Sweden recovers the most energy from each ton of waste in the waste to energy plants, and energy recovery from waste incineration has increased dramatically just over the last few years.

The problem is, Sweden’s waste recycling program is too successful.

Catarina Ostlund, Senior Advisor for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency said the country is producing much less burnable waste than it needs.

“We have more capacity than the production of waste in Sweden and that is usable for incineration,” Ostlund said.

However, they’ve recently found a solution.

Sweden has recently begun to import about eight hundred thousand tons of trash from the rest of Europe per year to use in its power plants. The majority of the imported waste comes from neighboring Norway because it’s more expensive to burn the trash there and cheaper for the Norwegians to simply export their waste to Sweden.

In the arrangement, Norway pays Sweden to take the waste off their hands and Sweden also gets electricity and heat. But dioxins in the ashes of the waste byproduct are a serious environmental pollutant. Ostlund explained that there are also heavy metals captured within the ash that need to be landfilled. Those ashes are then exported to Norway.

This arrangement works particularly well for Sweden, since in Sweden the energy from the waste is needed for heat. According to Ostlund, when both heat and electricity are used, there’s much higher efficiency for power plants.

“So that’s why we have the world’s best incineration plants concerning energy efficiency. But I would say maybe in the future, this waste will be valued even more so maybe you could sell your waste because there will be a shortage of resources within the world,” Ostlund said.

Ostlund said Sweden hopes that in the future Europe will build its own plants so it can manage to take care of its own waste.

“I hope that we instead will get the waste from Italy or from Romania or Bulgaria or the Baltic countries because they landfill a lot in these countries. They don’t have any incineration plants or recycling plants, so they need to find a solution for their waste,” Ostlund said.

In fact, landfilling remains the principal way of disposal in those countries, but new waste-to-energy initiatives have been introduced in Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, and Lithuania.

It is also important, Ostlund notes, for Sweden to find ways to reduce its own waste in the future.

“This is not a long-term solution really, because we need to be better to reuse and recycle, but in the short perspective I think it’s quite a good solution,” Ostlund concluded.

Vic gas power plant plans shelved

CLP = EnergyAustralia

Vic gas power plant plans shelved

EnergyAustralia has shelved plans to build a gas-fired power station in Victoria due to falling wholesale prices and energy demand.

EnergyAustralia said it had told the Victorian government it had deferred work on its request for planning permission to develop and operate an Open Cycle Gas Turbine power station in Yallourn, east of Melbourne.

The proposal allowed for the plant to be converted to a 1000MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine plant.

EnergyAustralia’s group executive manager, energy markets, Mark Collette, said the falling wholesale prices combined with the recent further deterioration in energy demand had led to the decision.

He said the falling demand meant the plant was not likely to be required until much later in the decade.

‘We have therefore decided to put the development on hold until market conditions improve,’ he said.

‘We are seeing further deterioration in the energy market and wholesale prices, and we don’t expect conditions to improve in the foreseeable future.

Mr Collette said continuing with the permit stage was not financially sustainable.

The company would review the decision if there were significant improvements in the energy market, he said.

Mr Collette said the decision would not impact the operations of Yallourn Power Station.

In October, EnergyAustralia blamed the carbon price on its decision to close one of its four units at the Yallourn plant.

Audi to open natural gas, hydrogen plant in 2013

19 December 2012

Audi to open natural gas, hydrogen plant in 2013

Automaker plans to sell new natural gas-powered cars and dive into hydrogen research

By Clifford Atiyeh
MSN Autos

Audi will open a renewable gas plant that will produce natural gas and hydrogen by early next year, making it the first automaker to build and run its own facility for such fuels.

The new, 44,000-square-foot facility in Germany will use water- and solar-generated electricity to produce hydrogen, in a process commonly known as electrolysis. Typically, large-scale hydrogen production has been blocked by excessively high costs and low yields, due to the amount of electricity required and the small amounts of hydrogen that can be produced.

While Audi did not say if its process would be more efficient, it said it would combine the hydrogen with waste carbon dioxide from another nearby gas plant to create methane, which comprises more than 95 percent of natural gas found underground and within shale rock. The result: renewable, synthetic natural gas from an environmentally friendly production process.

Audi says it can produce more than 1,100 tons of synthetic natural gas and consume nearly 3,100 tons of carbon dioxide each year. That would be enough to power 1,500 new Audis running on compressed natural gas for 9,320 miles year. The A3 TCNG, Audi’s first natural gas-powered car, will go on sale in Europe in late 2013. A natural gas trim of the next-generation A4 will bow in 2015.

Audi e-gas plant (c) Audi

Company parent Volkswagen has been selling “bifuel” vehicles — cars that can run on either natural gas or gasoline — for many years across Europe, as has Mercedes-Benz, Opel and Ford, but such models cost thousands of dollars more than gas-only cars and represent a tiny silver of the market as compared to diesel.

Due to record-low fuel prices, natural gas-powered cars are beginning to expand in the U.S., with special versions of the Ram, Silverado, Sierra and F-150 pickups. But without incentives or a major refueling infrastructure, natural gas remains rare among light-duty vehicles. Hydrogen, in even scarcer amounts, is a complete pipe dream at this point.

But Audi’s plant is a big step that may accelerate these alternative fuels into the mainstream. Until now, only Honda has built and sold a production hydrogen car; Audi’s German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz are bit players.

Honda has sold the Civic Natural Gas since 1998, and its resulting expertise in high-pressure fuel storage led it to sell the first production hydrogen fuel-cell car, the FCX Clarity, since 2008. Toyota has said it plans to market a similar hydrogen-powered car by 2015 and continues to run an experimental fleet of hydrogen-powered Highlander vehicles in the U.S. General Motors ran a fleet of 100 hydrogen-powered Equinox vehicles during a three-year demonstration from 2008 to 2011.

BMW used to run several 7-Series models on liquid hydrogen, as opposed to the fuel’s natural gaseous form, to demonstrate how conventional internal-combustion engines can be so equipped. So far, BMW hasn’t made progress in putting the car into series production. Mercedes-Benz is leasing the hydrogen-powered F-Cell, based on the European B-Class, to roughly 70 people in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where the highest concentration of public hydrogen stations — about 26 — are located.


Biomass Incineration | Energy Justice Network

See how much CO2 MSW incineration creates

Trash and biomass incineration are far worse for the climate than coal, per unit of energy produced.

Trash incineration releases 2.5 times as much CO2 as coal, and 55% more if you pretend that the biogenic* part doesn’t count.  Biomass is nearly 50% worse than coal.  This is based on the latest U.S. EPA eGRID 2012 data (2009 data, released in May 2012).
Please note that, especially with the practice of fracking, natural gas is actually worse than coal for global warming, if you count all of the methane leakage from extraction to pipelines to end uses.  This chart is just for smokestack emissions, but for the whole picture on global warming pollution from gas vs. coal, see:

* The “biogenic doesn’t count” (a.k.a. “carbon neutrality”) argument relies on the assumption that the extra pulse of carbon pollution is instantly sucked up by trees grown specifically to offset the emissions from the trees burned. In reality, it takes centuries to become “zero” and about 40 years for biomass to become only as bad as coal. That figure, from a study done for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, caused that state to adopt the strictest limits on biomass incineration in the nation, making it basically ineligible for renewable energy credits. Studies on this can be found in the links on the right sidebar on our biomass page:

Click to download

Howarth et al. 2012. Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Systems. Background paper for The National Climate Assessment (NCA)

Learn more about the NCA here

Venting and Leaking of Methane from Shale Gas Development: Response to Cathles et al.

Online Supplemental Material Quick Link (pdf)


Howarth, R. W., R. Santoro, and A. Ingraffea. 2012. Venting and Leaking of Methane from Shale Gas Development: Response to Cathles et al. Climatic Change. In Press.

Should Fracking Stop? Point:Yes, It’s too high risk.

read Point & Counterpoint on ACSF blog


Howarth, RW and A Ingraffea. 2012. Should Fracking Stop? Point/Counterpoint Nature, DOI:10.1038/477271a

Methane and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations

Online Supplemental Material Quick Link (doc)


Howarth, R. W., R. Santoro, and A. Ingraffea. 2011. Methane and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations. Climatic Change Letters, DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0061-5

Indirect Emissions of Carbon Dioxide from Marcellus Shale Gas Development. A Technical Report


Santoro, R. L., R. W. Howarth, and A. Ingraffea. 2011. Indirect Emissions of Carbon Dioxide from Marcellus Shale Gas Development. A Technical Report from the Agriculture, Energy, & the Environment Program at Cornell University. June 30, 2011.

西氣東輸二線天然氣供港協議獲通過 Second West-East Gas Pipeline Gas Supply Agreement Approved

From: CLP News [] Sent: 21 December, 2012 19:28 To: Subject: 西氣東輸二線天然氣供港協議獲通過

Second West-East Gas Pipeline Gas Supply Agreement Approved

Dear Friends,

Subsequent to our announcement made last week on the 2013 tariff adjustment, I would like to give you another update on CLP’s latest business development – the commercial agreement to bring natural gas from the Second West-East Gas Pipeline (WEPII) to Hong Kong has recently been approved by the Executive Council of the HKSAR Government.

CLP requires new gas sources to timely replace the existing Yacheng gas field which is depleting rapidly. The new gas supply is also essential for CLP to sustain a green power generation to meet government’s increasingly stringent emissions requirement beyond 2015 and to help raise the city’s air quality. According to PetroChina, WEPII is the largest energy investment project in the history of modern China. It is one of the three new gas sources for securing Hong Kong a long term and stable gas supply as contemplated under the Memorandum of Understanding on energy cooperation signed between the HKSAR Government and the Central Government in 2008. Following ExCo’s approval on the Gas Supply Agreement, WEPII gas will arrive Hong Kong early next year, opening a new chapter in Hong Kong’s clean power generation history.

For more details about the WEPII project and the related gas supply agreement, please refer to the enclosed press release or visit the following website:

Thank you for your continuous support and CLP will continue to provide a safe, reliable, environmentally-friendly and reasonably priced electricity supply for Hong Kong, as we always do. May I take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Best regards,

Quince Chong
Chief Corporate Development Officer
CLP Power Hong Kong Limited






‘The World is in Our Hands’ – Think before you print


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150,000 TPA Plasma Arc Gasification Waste to Energy Plant for Ottawa

Plasco 150,000 TPA Plasma Arc Gasification Waste to Energy Plant for Ottawa

18 December 2012

Ottawa, Ontario based Plasco Energy has signed an agreement with the City of Ottawa to build a 150,000 tonnes per year plasma arc gasification waste to energy facility.

The company said that under the contract with Ottawa, the City will supply 109,500 tonnes of municipal solid waste and has a right of first refusal to supply the balance of plant capacity.

The site for the facility has been leased to Plasco for nominal cost by the City, which will pay a tipping fee for each tonne processed of $83.25 per tonne, escalating annually at the rate of increase in the Consumer Price Index.

The first 20 years of the contract are fixed and the City has options for a further four five year extensions.

The company added that the City of Ottawa has made no other financial contribution and has no other risk or obligation.

The City estimates that the deal will extend the life of Ottawa’s existing landfill by at least 28 years saving the City approximately $250 million in future landfill capital costs.

Construction is expected to commence in the second half of 2013 with commercial operation planned for the first half of 2015.

Plasma arc technology

The company said that the new facility will be built to the Plasco Conversion System (PCS) design and will incorporate three proprietary Integrated Converting and Refining System (ICARS) modules.

According to Plasco the PCS breaks down garbage using its patented ICARS system, which gasifies the waste and refines the resulting gas using plasma technology.

The synthetic gas created from the waste fuels General Electric Jenbacher internal combustion engines, together with a steam turbine driven by heat recovered from the process and engines, which the company said will produce approximately 15MW of net electricity that will be sold to the grid.

Further to this any residual solids are refined using Plasma to produce slag which meets requirements for a range of applications, including construction aggregates and abrasives.

Moisture in the waste is recovered, cleaned and made available for reuse in the community.

Effective throughput of the facility will be 130,000 tonnes per year.

The company claimed that there are no emissions to atmosphere in the conversion process, with any unused gas sent to a flare. Exhaust from the engines and flare have emission levels significantly below the most stringent standards in the world.

The ICARS modules will be manufactured in Ontario and, according to Plasco, site construction and assembly of the PCS will create about 200 construction jobs.

Once complete the facility will permanently employ 42 operations technicians.

Plasco added that construction and operation of the Facility will be subject to receipt of and compliance with the terms of Environmental Compliance Certificates to be issued by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Read More

Pollution Control System for Canadian Plasma Gasification Firm
Plasco Energy has selected Ontario based air pollution control systems company, Macrotek to design and engineer a commercial gas cleanup system.

Plasma Gasification of Waste Meets Desalination Onboard Ship
Vision Plasma Systems is in discussions to retrofit retired ocean vessels to function as floating waste remediation sites and water desalination plants powered by waste gasification.

Massachusetts considering gasification and pyrolysis projects

December 18, 2012

By Jeremy Carroll

Massachusetts is considering altering its MSW incinerator moratorium to encourage the development of alternative technologies, including gasification and pyrolysis.

The Department of Environmental Protection is seeking public comment on the plan. The plan would allow for 350,000 tons of waste per year to be disposed of using gasification or pyrolysis, if the master plan’s disposal reduction goals are met.

The plan outlines an effort to divert 450,000 tons of food waste and organic materials by 2020 and build 50 megawatts of renewable energy from anaerobic digestion of that diverted waste. Starting in 2014, the plan would phase in a ban on food wastes from food processors and large institutions such as colleges, hotels and grocery stores.

“The Commonwealth’s target is to reduce waste disposal by 2 million tons per year by 2020, so we must use all of the tools available to us in order to reach our goal,” said Rick Sullivan, environmental affairs secretary, in a statement. “With increased recycling, composting, waste reduction and re-use, as well as utilizing cleaner new technologies, we can improve the quality of life for all residents.”

Proposed alternative technologies projects would have to meet stringent recycling, emissions and energy efficiency standards, and new facilities would be subject to the same site assignment rules as other solid waste facilities.

“This slight modification to the moratorium makes sense, because it gives our cities and towns the opportunity to take advantage of promising new technologies, while at the same time protecting our environment and complementing, rather than replacing, recycling,” said Sen. Marc R. Pacheco, Senate chair of the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture, in a statement.

Plasma Gasification Advances

Edward Yau and his proposed caveman mass -burn 850 degrees C incinerator technology that produces 1/3 of what is thermally converted  per day into toxic bottom and fly ash that needs landfilling – ad infinitum – hence the need to build offshore islands as ash lagoon tips

The sensible Option –  Plasma Gasification at 6,000 degrees C that has no ash residues, just plasmarok volcanic glass that can be used or mandated as road aggregate, with minimal emissions (steam) versus massive incineration pollutants and dioxins and ash residues

Plasma plants are modular and can be sited nearer to the waste sources or additional (150,000 TPA) modules added to a main site

Landfills can be reverse mined back to their original state using gasification technology and is underway now

Cathay Pacific could soon  be re-fuelling with bio jet fuel produced from a Solena Fuels gasification system – British Airways plant is under construction now as are agreements with SAS and Alitalia and other major airlines such as Lufthansa and US based airlines

“American Airlines and United Continental Holdings led the development of the agreement with Solena and were joined by five additional ATA member airlines – Alaska Airlines, FedEx,

JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and US Airways – and ATA associate member Air Canada in signing the letters of intent, as well as Frontier Airlines and Lufthansa German Airlines.

ATA is a cofounding and co-leading member of CAAFI, which is dedicated to the development and deployment of commercially viable, environmentally friendly

alternative aviation fuels.”

Bio marine fuel can be produced from a gasification system and one is being built now (Solena/Maersk) in New Jersey

Download PDF : PlasmaGasifAdvance

U.S. Waste to Biofuel Gasification Company Seeks Chinese Investment

Sierra Energy Waste to Biofuel Gasification Seeks Chinese Investment

12 December 2012

Sierra Energy’s commercial waste gasification to biofuels facility was one of the proposed projects as the U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke kicked off his investment forum in Beijing.

The forum saw the U.S. Embassy working with several U.S. Chamber of Commerce Organisations, International Trade Programs, and other partners to bring Chinese dollars to projects in the U.S.

As part of the meetings, each U.S. state brought several investment ready projects to pitch, with Davies, California based Sierra Energy’s project to commercialise its FastOx waste gasification technology being among those projects proposed.

The company said that the project, partly funded by a $5 million investment from the California Energy Commission and strongly supported by the City of West Sacramento, would convert locally generated, non-recyclable waste into clean renewable fuels.

According to Sierra Energy a potential investment would expedite its project, allowing the installation of a compact, modular waste conversion system that would generate one barrel of renewable diesel for every ton (907 kg) of material processed.

“There’s a definite synergy between our technology and the CO2 and waste reduction efforts of both China and California,” commented Mike Hart, CEO of Sierra Energy.

“The commercialization of our conversion technology will prove the economic viability, environmental sustainability, and create a path for the global implementation of waste conversion,” he added.

According to Sierra Energy a similar conference in May 2012 resulted in over $900 million in investment deals concluded or under discussion.

The company added that California is by far the number one destination for Chinese investment based on number of deals. From 2000-2011, California attracted 156 deals and $1.3 billion of Chinese investment. The deals are almost four times more than the number-two state Texas.

For this latest forum California’s project list was developed by the Governor’s Office of Business Development (GO-Biz) International Deputy Director Paul Oliva and was presented by Dell Christensen from the Bay Area Council.