Clear The Air Energy Blog Rotating Header Image

June, 2013:


Download PDF : NewenergyStatement No. 935

Costain Group PLC : Public Funding For Innovation

Costain Group PLC : Public Funding For Innovation

06/04/2013| 03:54am US/Eastern

Public Funding For Innovation

4 June 2013

Costain has secured funding from the Government linked *Technology Strategy Board’s £18million competition to develop the civil nuclear supply chain. Costain has been selected to develop three innovative technologies to reduce the cost of treating and storing nuclear waste.

This competition brings together experienced organisations (such as Costain) with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and universities to develop the supply chain and encourage innovation. It was co-funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). Costain will work with a range of UK organisations to deliver these technologies. In collaboration with Tetronics International (plasma gasification) , Costain will develop a plasma waste vitrification system which will reduce the volume, and significantly enhance the stability, of intermediate level waste (ILW).

In a further project being led by Bradtec and supported by Studsvik, Hyder Consulting and the University of Manchester, Costain is developing a system for the gasification of graphite from decommissioned nuclear reactors. This will significantly reduce the volume of graphite waste.

Costain is also working with Createc to trial on site a system to measure the depth of contamination in structures. This will enable decontamination measures to be targeted more accurately and reduce the volume of material to be treated.

In making the announcement, the Government’s Business Secretary Vince Cable, said: “There are huge global opportunities that the UK is well placed to take advantage of in the nuclear industry. Our strong research base will help develop exciting new technologies that can be commercialised here and then exported across the globe.”

Currently, Costain is delivering a number of engineering and construction projects and framework contracts across the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) estate. These have provided the insight into where technological innovation is required to address the challenges posed by the UK’s nuclear legacy wastes.

Bryony Livesey, Costain Research and Technology Manager, said: “I am delighted that Costain has secured these projects from the Technology Strategy Board competition. We look forward to working with our partners to develop new technologies which can play a key role in reducing the costs of nuclear waste management in the UK.”

Mark Rogerson, Costain Natural Resources Division Managing Director, said: “Long term storage of nuclear waste is a major challenge facing the UK. By lowering the cost of processing and reducing the volume of waste to be stored, Costain is helping to meet the critical national needs of our country.”

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said: “The Technology Strategy Board is playing a vital role in making sure innovative SMEs across the UK can bridge the valley of death between the research stage and the market place. Businesses such as Costain are setting the pace for others to follow and making sure the UK stays at the front of the global race for technology and innovation in the nuclear industry.”

*The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency.  Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.  Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future

21st European Biomass Conference

Bestrong International, Hong Kong •

Office Address:

6/F Kwan Chart Tower 6 Tonnochy Road Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Contact Person:

Mr Kalvin Ka-Chun Tse


Technical Development Consultant



Download : organisations_accepted_for_presentation_2013

WSP Waste to Energy Technical Report

Download PDF : WSP Waste to Energy Technical Report Stage Two

Download PDF : WSP Waste to Energy Technical Report Stage One

BIOwaste Blog: Plasma Gasification and Incineration Compared

Plasma Gasification and Incineration Compared of the common objections to the use of gasification to effect waste-to-energy conversions is the irrational claim that “gasification is just another name for incineration.” This is an old, false distortion of fact relating to controversy surrounding the use of waste-to-energy incinerators and the “Keep America Beautiful” program of the 1980’s. As related by Ratical.Org:

In 1980 DOE projected that by 1987 there would be 160,000 tons-per-day of incineration capacity in the U.S. and double this by 1992. But in reality in 1988 incineration capacity was only 50,000 tons per day, and it was expanding at a snail’s pace. In 1985 there were 42 new incinerators ordered, but by 1987 it was down to 25 and by 1989 new orders has dropped to 10. In 1987, for the first time in recent memory, more capacity was canceled (35,656 tons per day) than was ordered (20,585 tons per day). The incineration industry had hit a wall.

That wall was made up of local grass-roots citizens concerned about many aspects of solid waste incineration: dollar cost, hazardous air pollution, toxic ash, destruction of material resources, waste of energy, the political corruption that accompanies multi-billion-dollar public works projects, and the gobbling up of small, local waste haulers by the incineration giants.

Gasification is NOT incineration as the side-by-side comparison of plasma gasification and incineration below demonstrates (as published on the website of the Plasco Energy Group). While this company is focused on the production of syngas, other companies (BRI Energy, Fuel Frontiers, and others) are focused on the fermentation of cooled syngas into biofuels (like ethanol).


In plasma gasification the waste input is pyrolysed by the high temperature into its constituent elements: H2, O2, C, N2 etc. The converter conditions are controlled so that prior to exit, the elements reform into the desired syngas that is rich in CO and H2. The materials that cannot be converted into syngas, such as metal, glass, rock and concrete are vitrified to produce an inert slag. The slag is 1/250th of the volume of the processed solid waste.

In incineration, excess O2 is added to the input waste so that at low temperature it burns. The result is heat and an exhaust of CO2, H2O and other products of combustion or partial combustion. As much as 30% of the processed solid waste remains as ash. This ash is a solid waste and could be categorized as hazardous solid waste

The tangled tale of Jindal’s waste-to-energy project

Few issues in Delhi whip people into as much of a frenzy as Jindal’s Okhla-based waste-to-energy plant. Residents of Sukhdev Vihar in Okhla have been enraged that the plant has been situated a mere 200 metres away from the colony. Layers of ash and soot that blanketed the neighbourhood in December last year only served to turn up the temperature in what has become a bitter dispute. Residents are concerned that the emissions and ash from the plant could severely impair their health and that of future generations. “This is a life and death struggle against a toxic plant,” says journalist Ranjit Devraj who is a resident of Sukhdev Vihar. Jindal Ecopolis did not respond to repeated emails and phone calls sent to them over the span of a week.

A life-and-death issue?
Are these concerns legitimate or a trifle overblown? According to a representative of GIZ, the development arm of the German government, such plants are strewn all over Europe – a continent that is paranoid about public health risks. In German cities, for instance, they sit squarely in the middle of neighbourhoods.

What makes this possible, however, is the fact that incinerator technology has come a long way in just a few decades, say experts. Around 1990, they were likely to cause incidences of liver failure and a wide range of cancer, thanks to the dioxins and furans – poisons released when burning plastic – along with whatever heavy metals (mercury and lead) that are invariably present in mixed waste. These have since been reduced a thousandfold, thanks to new technology. Dioxins and furans are super-heated in order to break their chemical bonds, thus de-fanging them, and the steam that is generated runs turbines for electricity. Finally, heavy metals are scrubbed out and absorbed by filters and carbon powder. The fly ash from this process is further treated to render it harmless.

“However, in Germany we learnt our lessons the hard way over thirty or forty years and thousands of demonstrations that forced the technology to improve,” says the GIZ representative. So, the big question is, does the Okhla plant have the kind of technology that neutralises poisons emitted from burning waste? The answer to this question is a tangled skein of arguments and counter-arguments made to vindicate or condemn the Okhla plant’s specifications by those involved in this fracas. However, a few things stand out. One, there is, to date, no regulatory body that exists in India that in most other countries would normally be set up to police this relatively new industry – and especially so before the building of a plant. There is also no process to undertake a thorough technology evaluation or comparative technology review.

“This is not an ideological issue. These can be potentially very toxic technology,” says Ravi Agarwal, a hazardous waste expert at Toxics Link.

Contesting tech claims
Critics of the plant say that the original proposal for it – when it was owned by IL&FS, which subsequently sold the enterprise to Jindal Ecopolis – was for a technology called refuse derived fuel (RDF), where waste is compressed into dense pellets, boosting its calorific value, thus helping it burn better. Indian waste, being low on the calorific scale, needs something like this, say waste experts.

When Jindal took over the plant there was a change in specifications – which, critics say, required a new clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests that Jindal allegedly didn’t get.

Instead of RDF, the plant was now using boiler technology, sourced from a Chinese company, that would first dry the waste and then burn it, which the company claimed was equivalent to RDF.

Critics claim that not only is the technology cheap, the efficacy of these kinds of boilers is not known in Indian conditions. While Jindal Ecopolis didn’t respond to queries on plant costs, this much could be ascertained: A state-of-the-art, plasma-sealed plant in Europe or the US costs around $500 million to build, while the bill for the Okhla plant was somewhere in the neighbourhood of $30 million, according to the initial IL&FS project documents obtained by Business Standard.

Some things, however, turned out to be unequivocal. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB ) had put together a ‘Technical Evaluation’ of the project in 2011 which comprised of representatives from Jindal Ecopolis, IIT Delhi and GIZ amongst others.

According to a copy of the report obtained by Business Standard, Dieter Mutz and Raghu Babu from GIZ said that “more transparency is required in addressing environmental and health issues…expected emissions of dioxins and furans too are not quantified.” Neither was the ash tested for toxicity.

Furthermore, the committee members as a whole felt that the promoters had exhibited “failure to address technical issues”, but would be given one more chance to sort things out. Another meeting was held but the results were inconclusive.

Things came to a head when the case, after going through 22 hearings in Delhi’s High Court, was punted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT). Recently, an expert panel was appointed by NGT to oversee investigations into pollution caused by the plant.

The panel was made up of 6 members which included J S Kamyotra, head of CPCB, Sandeep Mishra, head of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and U C Bahri, a technical expert representing Sukhdev Vihar, amongst others. In March-end, the team made a surprise inspection visit to the plant in and conducted a battery of tests.

This is what they came up with: The level of dioxins and furans in Boiler Stack 1, against a permissible limit of 0.1 (in ng TEQ/NM^3) was a staggering 12.413. In Boiler Stack 2, that level was also way above the 0.1 level at 2.758.

“These are some of the most poisonous substances known to man,” says scientist Bahri who was a member of the expert panel.

“They leach into the soil, water and poison the entire ecosystem. In the US or Europe, the plant would be condemned and shut down immediately,” he adds.

While it is unclear as to what the Tribunal will ultimately decide regarding the future of the Okhla plant, the dioxin levels from those tests have suddenly cast a long shadow over other waste-to-energy projects in India.

After all, two more plants are springing up in the Delhi vicinity – in Ghazipur, and along the Narela-Bawana road. The Rs 1.5-crore-a-megawatt subsidy that the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy coughs up for these plants will ensure that there will be more proposals for them, especially if you factor in the lure of carbon credits.

However, the undeniable fact is that India’s sky rocketing land prices and accompanying health concerns make landfills increasingly untenable as a waste management solution.

“What is the solution for Delhi? Can you escape incineration? I would say you can’t,” says GIZ’s Mutz. Curiously, though, not a single one of these plants – in Timarpur, Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Lucknow and Chandigarh – have run successfully and all have shut shop, suggesting that emissions and dioxins are not the only hazards that lurk for waste-to-green projects.


PR- 077-12
March 6, 2012


Announced in this Year’s State of the City and Part of PlaNYC Effort to Double the Rate of Waste Diverted from Landfills, Primarily Through Increased Reuse, Recycling and Composting

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the release of a Request for Proposals to build a state of the art facility to convert waste to clean energy as part of PlaNYC, the city’s ambitious sustainability agenda. The Request for Proposals asks private sector firms to submit plans for a pilot facility using reliable, cost-effective, sustainable and environmentally sound waste to clean energy technology, which will help the City meet its goal of doubling the amount of waste diverted from landfills, as Mayor Bloomberg committed to doing in January’s State of the City speech. The facility must be located in New York City or within 80 miles of the city and would begin by processing a maximum of 450 tons of waste per day – the City currently processes approximately 10,000 tons of waste per day. The City will not provide any capital funding for the proposed facility and will pay a per ton fee to the operator of the facility. The City is seeking only the cleanest and latest waste-to-energy technologies, and the Request for Proposals specifically excludes conventional incineration or “mass burn” proposals.

“We are using the most comprehensive sustainability program in the nation to green our city, but we have to go further,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “New Yorkers generate more than 10,000 tons of solid waste every day and too much of it ends up in landfills. Using less, and recycling more are the most effective ways to address the problem, but this project will help us determine if some of that waste can be converted to safe, clean energy to meet the City’s growing power needs.”

“There are technologies that have proven to be a success in countries around the world, and right here in New York City, we’re already converting sewage to clean energy that powers the treatment process,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway. “Converting solid waste to clean energy is the next logical step. Any proposal will have to pass rigorous environmental and community scrutiny to move forward, and we hope that as many viable proposals as possible are submitted for consideration.”

“The request for proposals for the development of a new and emerging solid waste management technology facility at a site in or near the City marks a significant step towards a more sustainable solid waste disposal policy for the City and complements our expanded recycling and composting efforts,” said Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty. “By implementing such a facility in the region, we will reduce the amount of waste we need to landfill, the distances we need to travel to disposal sites and total emissions into the environment.”

“Innovation is the key to achieving a greener, greater New York, and the waste-to-energy solicitation makes good environmental and economic sense,” said David Bragdon, Director of the Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability. “With the release of this RFP, we’re opening a door to improving how we meet the City’s needs, while working toward the air quality, climate change, energy and solid waste goals outlined in the Mayor’s sustainability agenda, PlaNYC.”

“The time has come for us to take a serious look at alternative waste to clean energy technologies for New York City,” said Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro. “There are technologies in use in this country and throughout the world which meet the qualifications being looked for under the RFP. I and my environmental engineer visited one. It was safe, and complied with all mandatory regional air pollution controls. The reality is, landfills are closing down, and common sense dictates that New York City needs to be ahead of the curve on this issue.”

“As the Chairperson of the New York City Council’s Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste, I believe that Mayor Bloomberg’s Request for Proposals for Conversion Technology, to develop a facility anywhere within the City or within 80 miles of the City, is both timely and integral to achieving the City’s vital goal of diminishing the impact of exporting our waste outside of the city, and addressing the injustice of siting solid waste infrastructure in low-income communities,” said Council Member Letitia James.

Proposals to build and operate the conversion facility are due by June 5, 2012. If the initial pilot is successful, the facility will be expanded to process 900 tons of waste per day.

The City will evaluate proposals based on the company’s experience with the proposed technology, the quality of their technical proposal and environmental compliance data and the commitment to environmental justice and community outreach plans.

New and Emerging Technologies Under Consideration

As part of the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, approved by vote of the City Council in 2006, the City has evaluated several new and emerging conversion technology facilities that use technologies such as anaerobic digestion, gasification, hydrolysis and other processes to cleanly convert waste into energy. These technologies are in wide commercial use internationally, including in Europe and Asia, and are being operated on a pilot basis in North America. The solicitation seeks proposals that use these and similar technologies, and excludes conventional “mass burn” waste to energy or conventional refuse derived fuel technologies.

“One critical way for cities to address environmental sustainability is to move away from traditional methods of dumping waste in landfill,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore of Sydney, Australia. “In Sydney, we currently send all household waste to alternative waste treatment facilities which uses technology that includes anaerobic digestion. I congratulate the City of New York and Mayor Bloomberg on their new plan to reduce the amount of New York’s waste ending up in landfill. This is an important step in building a more sustainable city.”

Extensive Environmental Review

The Request for Proposals requires companies to provide detailed environmental data to be provided, including extensive emissions performance data and greenhouse gas reduction data that furthers PlaNYC’s goal of reducing citywide greenhouse gases by 30 percent and achieving the cleanest air of any U.S. city by 2030. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will evaluate all emissions data.

“There are tremendous environmental costs involved with New York City’s current handling of solid waste,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “We need comprehensive solutions that address multiple problems, from rising tipping fees and fuel costs, to greenhouse gas emissions and overburdened communities. New waste conversion technologies, along with a robust recycling program, offer a real hope of meeting this environmental challenge in a cost-effective way.”

Commitment to Environmental Justice

The selection of a clean conversion technology facility will follow the environmental justice approach established in the City’s Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, by ensuring borough equity in the siting of solid waste infrastructure. Proposals for a conversion technology facility must include a Public Participation Plan with meaningful opportunities for public involvement throughout the planning, approval, implementation, construction, testing and operation phases of the facility. Proposers also must include information regarding the location of municipal and solid waste management facilities and pollution sources in the vicinity of the site. This information will help inform the City’s evaluation of proposals.

The siting, construction and operation of the conversion facility will undergo extensive environmental and community oversight, including a City Environmental Quality Review and State Environmental Quality Review, as well as approvals from the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

New Waste Reduction Plan Part of PlaNYC

The Department of Sanitation currently collects more than 3 million tons of waste per year from residences and institutions and spends more than $300 million to export – primarily via truck traffic – the waste to landfills and facilities outside the of the city. Residential and institutional solid waste creates 728,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, much of which is attributable to methane generation from landfills that receive our waste.

The new Waste Reduction Plan will double the amount of waste the City diverts from landfills from 15 percent to 30 percent by 2017. The Plan contains a variety of initiatives to increase waste diversion, with two-thirds of these gains to come from increased waste reduction, reuse, composting and recycling initiatives, including the future expansion of the City’s curbside recycling program to additional plastics, expanding the number of public space recycling bins on City streets and providing new locations for residents to compost food waste.


Stu Loeser/Marc La Vorgna (212) 788-2958

Biomass Gasification Project Underway in Montgomery, New York

Biomass Gasification Project Underway in Montgomery, New York

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey joined Jim Taylor for the Taylor Biomass Energy (TBE) facility groundbreaking ceremony in the town of Montgomery in Orange County.

The Montgomery Project uses the proprietary “Taylor Energy Solution” as the foundational technology for a three-part, integrated system design that converts the organic biomass portion of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to electric power, through gasification.

The event marks the start of Phase 1 construction on the new facility, which has received necessary town and state approvals to move forward.

According to the company, the project will generate a net 20 MW energy and produce enough electricity to power approximately 27,000 homes based 500 kwh/month usage per residence, with an estimated cost over 20 years of around 5 cents nper kW.

The facility will be located on 95 acres of interchange development property, at 350 Neelytown Road, Montgomery, in Orange County, New York. The site is the current location of Taylor Recycling Facility (TRF) and is “shovel ready” due to local site control and the extensive permitting work completed to date.

“It is rare to witness a revolution, but that’s what the project we are breaking ground on today represents,” said Schumer. “Generating energy while reducing trash and producing no pollution is an absolute game changer for this country, and it’s happening right here in the Hudson Valley, all the while creating jobs and badly needed economic activity.”

Over the past two years, Schumer and Hinchey worked with officials at Taylor Biomass urging the U.S. Department of Energy to award the project a $100 million loan guarantee to make possible this innovative green energy project.

In August, Taylor Biomass received notification that the project would receive the key loan guarantee pending a due diligence review, after both Schumer and Hinchey personally lobbied officials at the U.S. Department of Energy.
In addition to the loan guarantee, the Taylor Biomass Project will also benefit from a 30% federal grant for clean energy projects. Both the loan guarantee and grant program were made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which Schumer and Hinchey supported.

Hinchey said: “This is an historic and nationally-significant project that will spur much-needed economic development and job creation in our region, while accelerating the development of green energy technology in this country,”

“The Town of Montgomery will now be host this ‘first-of-a-kind’ biomass-to-energy technology – a technology that will dramatically improve the way that we deal with solid waste in this country and provide sustainably generated electricity to our communities.” Hinchey added.

TBE claims that the Montgomery Project will:

· Expand the Taylor Sorting and Separating Process to accept mixed solid waste (“MSW”), in addition to wood waste, and waste from construction and demolition debris (“C&D”) as inputs

· Produce a stable, cost-effective, biomass-processed fuel supply from suitable feedstock, reducing landfill waste in the process

· Use the biomass-processed fuel to feed its proprietary gasification process, producing a medium calorific value synthesis gas (syngas), capable of serving as a direct substitute for natural gas

· Connect to the power grid as a first-generation MSW product, providing clean, renewable energy

· Maximize financial investment by conducting the Montgomery Project with a view to cost efficiency, widespread commercial replication; flexible facility design that can meet local needs, and diverse potential for future development of product slate.

montgomery waste to energy gasificationThe Montgomery Project will expand from its current capacity of 307 tons per day (tpd) of Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste and 100 tpd of wood waste, to accommodate a new inflow of 450 tpd of C&D waste, 100 tpd of wood waste, and 500 tpd of municipal solid waste.

Proposed site modifications include improvements to the existing C&D Processing Structure, and construction of a new Post Collection Separation Facility Structure, two Biomass Storage Silos, the Gasification Unit and a Power Generation Pad.

The Taylor Post Collection Separation Structure will prepare a portion of the biomass feedstock for the gasifier.

Additional wood and biomass for the project may be supplied as needed from the existing Construction and Demolition (“C&D”) Processing Structure. Biomass will be stored in two storage silos with a combined storage capacity of five days. The storage silos will be supplied by Ladig and Weaver, vendors with extensive experience in storage and handling of materials.

The company claims that the current silo design is based on performance specifications; the actual design of the equipment will be by the supplier. The current PBF feed design is subject to review and modification by Tom Miles of TR Miles Technical Consultants, a leader in the design of handling and feeding of biomass, including RDF materials.

The design of the Taylor Gasification Process uses three, fluidized-bed reactors: a gasification reactor, a gas conditioning reactor, and a combustion reactor. The gasification and combustion reactors are circulating fluidized beds , while the gas conditioning reactor is of the bubbling fluidized bed type.

TBE expects to use a Solar Titan gas turbine as the prime power generation component. A steam turbine based bottoming cycle will complete the power generation system.

montgomery wte gasificationGrading, concrete work and installation of utilities necessary for the gasification and power generation islands will be completed as part of the project scope. In the final step, all piping associated with the gasification and power generation structure will be completed.

Interconnection to the power grid will be completed by Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation. The Taylor site has a Central Hudson 13.2/69kv electric transmission line through the center of the 95 acres and a 69kv substation referred to as the Central Hudson Gas and Electric Maybrook substation its property border.

The company says that this will simplify the interconnection activities and allow for rapid completion of this task. All unit operations, including all heat recovery and gas compression steps, will be included as a part of the facility. All unit operations for these steps are expected to be fully commercial operations and not require development effort at the Montgomery site.

Jim Taylor, president and CEO of Taylor Biomass Energy, said:

“Our project addresses the growing issue of solid waste management and over-capacity landfills across America – and it creates renewable energy at the same time. We think it’s really a model for other urban areas to follow. With this technology, we actually have a viable alternative that will help us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and so make our carbon footprint smaller. Not many projects today can deliver like that.”