EPA is said to be working on a draft rule to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from medium- and heavy-duty trucks in unison with the Department of Transportation (DOT) that could merge into a combined rulemaking. EPA is expected to take the lead on what could end up being a single standard. The trucking industry is publicly opposed to EPA's attempts to regulate the sector, arguing that because DOT better understands its issues, it should retain its explicit authority as granted by the 2007 energy law. However, EPA cites its authority from the Supreme Court ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA and section 202 of the Clean Air Act granting it authority to regulate GHGs.
However, not all industry is opposed to EPA rules. Six CEOs from major trucking and transportation companies, including Waste Management and Cummins Engine Co., are drafting a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and DOT Secretary Roy LaHood backing the pending EPA rulemaking. The industry would much prefer a joint EPA and DOT rule than two separate rulemakings. A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) mandated by the 2007 energy law, supports efforts to improve truck fuel economy of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, and recommends advanced diesel engines, improved aerodynamics, hybrid power-trains and other measures, but cautions that the wide variety of vehicles in the category will make it much more difficult to regulate their fuel economy than that of passenger cars...Read More »
Covanta Holding Corp. posted a surprise quarterly loss, even amid higher revenue, hurt by higher expenses, but maintained its full-year profit outlook. A particularly harsh winter hurt waste volumes more than normal in the typically weak first quarter which led management to accelerate planned maintenance expenditures that reduced profit margins. However, the company's recent acquisition of Veolia Environnement's North American waste-to-energy assets helped to increase top-line results. As a result, revenue increased 16% to $417 million while revenue from existing operations was relatively flat as lower energy prices were offset by increased scrap metal prices. The net loss for the quarter widened to $7.2 million, or $0.05 per share, compared with a loss of $651,000, or breakeven per share, a year ago...Read More »
IESI-BFC Ltd. (Toronto, ON), formerly BFI Canada, reported first quarter revenue and profit gains, resulting from increasing volume (9%) and price increases of 3.8%. The company, which now reports results in $US, said revenue increased to $264.0 million from $223.9 million in the first quarter of 2009. Even excluding foreign currency exchange gains (FX), revenue increased by 10.6%. Net income rose to $16.71 million or $0.18 per share, up from $9.64 million or $0.14 per share in the same quarter last year. Even excluding FX, net income was $15.8 million or $0.17 per share. The company said that it's focused on closing its acquisition of Waste Services Inc., the merger of which is expected to create a solid-waste-management company with annual revenue of about $1.5 billion...Read More »
Waste Services Inc. (Burlington, ON) reported that its first-quarter net income rose to $5.58 million or $0.12 per share from $4.01 million or $0.09 per share last year. Revenue was up 24.6% to $119.4 million compared to $95.8 million for the same quarter in 2009. The results exceeded most analysts' expectations. Price increases accounted for 5 percent of growth while volume growth contributed another 2.4 percent. Acquisitions added $6.1 million and foreign currency translation added another $10 million to the revenue increase. The company reiterated that its revenue for the year, excluding effects of the merger with IESI-BFC, announced last November, is expected to be in the range of $480 million to $500 million. Earnings are expected to be $0.50 to $0.55 per share...Read More »
Waste Management's Carl Rush, head of its Organic Growth Group and recently promoted to its leadership team, spoke to Biofuels Digest about the company's efforts to better exploit the waste stream as an increasingly valuable resource.
With its 16 waste-to-energy plants, recycling facilities, and 115 landfill gas-to-energy projects, the company already has a long history in renewable energy and diversion technologies. Lately however, Rush and his group have pushed into more esoteric areas. Last May the company entered a joint venture with InEnTec to create S4 Energy Solutions, to commercialize plasma arc gasification of wastes into syngas. In August, they partnered with Terrabon and Valero to commercialize a technology to create low-carbon liquid transportation fuel from organic waste. In November, Waste Management and Linde North America announced that their joint venture company had begun producing liquefied natural gas at the Altamont Landfill near Livermore, California. In January, WM announced an investment in Harvest Power, to develop an organic waste anaerobic digestion facility. In February, they announced an investment in Enerkem, to develop another waste gasification technology.
Rush says the Organic Growth Group is organized into four areas: renewable energy, materials technology, which explores ways to convert components of the waste stream into higher value products, recycling technologies to increase diversion, and brand management as a means to drive business. He points out that the 30-50 million tons of organics waste out of 160 million tons collected represents an important sub-market and key opportunity...Read More »
PepsiCo Inc. announced a partnership with Waste Management to place thousands of recycling kiosks at concert venues, in grocery stores and along city sidewalks. The strategy, called the Dream Machine recycling initiative, is to catch people on the move where it is often difficult to recycle or at the back of the mind. The average recycling rate for U.S. beverage containers is 34%, and only 25% for plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PepsiCo and Waste Management want to recycle at least 400 million containers annually by putting as many as 3,000 kiosks in busy places this year, and offering incentives for each container. The goal is to reach a 50 percent recycling rate by 2018. The machine itself is like a vending machine in reverse. Users can track their recycling and register for rewards points, etc. Paul Ligon, managing director for Waste Management's GreenOps program, said a similar pilot program at Whole Foods Market stores showed that people recycled about 10 bottleseach trip. Susan Collins, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute, said she applauds the kiosk concept, but asserts that there is a long way to go with more than 130 billion bottles and cans discarded each year in the US. The program includes a partnership with the environmental group Keep America Beautiful Inc. to add 4,000 traditional recycling bins a year in parks and other public places...Read More »
Enerkem Inc. (Montreal, QC), a waste-to-biofuel and chemical company, announced the appointment of Timothy J. Cesarek, managing director in the Organic Growth Group of Waste Management, Inc. to its board of directors. In February Waste Management joined by others, invested about $51 million in the company as part of a broader strategy to expand its green energy initiatives. Cesarek is responsible for originating and commercializing innovative technologies that are consistent with Waste Management's core business and actively involved in developing ways to create value from waste streams by converting them into energy, fuels and chemicals, and commercializing material recycling and reuse technologies. Before joining WM, Cesarek led Koch Genesis, the research and development division of chemical giant Koch Industries...Read More »
Harvest Power (Waltham, MA), a developer of energy from composting, said a number of municipalities in the Metro Vancouver Region have signed on with the company to handle their food waste diversion and composting programs. Harvest owns and operates what it claims is North America's largest permitted food and yard waste composting facility in Richmond, just outside of Vancouver. That entity is called Fraser Richmond Soil & Fibre Ltd. (FRSF). In January, Waste Management, Inc. announced an investment in Harvest Power, joining founding investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Munich Venture Partners which also increased their investments at that time. Harvest has significant expertise in organic waste management, from building and operating large-scale organics recycling facilities to marketing compost products...Read More »
A new company called Point Bio Energy LLC is developing a $124 million wood pellet project at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge in Louisiana. The plant, which plans to begin deliveries late in 2011 is expected to produce 450,000 metric tons of pellets. Company officials boast of the site's ideal location to shipping and international markets and said it has negotiated letters of intent with local feedstock suppliers and a European buyer at attractive terms. Point Bio Energy CEO Bill New said renewable energy requirements in the European Union are driving demand for the wood pellets, which power plants burn as fuel. Wood pellets provide roughly the same amount of energy as low-grade coal and can be burned in coal-fired power plants. New said that European demand for wood pellets, now around 8 million tons per year, is expected to double or triple over the next decade. Shaw Capital, Inc. and LaPointe Partners are helping to finance the project...Read More »
The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) recently stated that its members "fully support state and local initiatives to reach 'zero waste,' and will continue to invest in technology to reach that goal," according to a press release. It has produced a position paper that elaborates on the goal and explains that "America is transitioning slowly but surely to a zero waste society" and that NSWMA's members are "stepping forward to facilitate a discussion among the public, waste collection service providers, customers, manufacturers, government and consumers on how we can collectively work toward zero waste." Bruce Parker, CEO of NSWMA, explained that "solid waste companies are an important partner in zero waste efforts," and the need to develop "economically achievable ways" to treat waste more as a resource, for recycling or conversion to energy. He also cautioned that the transition will take time. "It took almost twenty years to double the recycling rate, from 16.2 percent of municipal solid waste in 1990, to 33.2 percent in 2008."...Read More »
US Ecology Inc. reported weak first-quarter results, its sixth consecutive quarter of revenue declines that are the result of lower industrial activity. However, the company, formerly called American Ecology, said that the level of demand for hazardous waste disposal is increasing, evidenced by increased bidding on projects that were once delayed. The company is also exploring a strategic acquisition to drive more business. Revenue for the quarter dropped 44% to $19.5 million from $35.0 million in the comparable period. First-quarter net income declined to $1.8 million or $0.10 per share from $3.6 million or $0.20 per share in the prior year period. For fiscal 2010, the company still expects earnings per share to be in range of $0.57 to $0.67...Read More »
Clean Harbors (Norwell, MA) said it will release first quarter 2010 financial results during a conference call that it will host on Wednesday, May 5 at 9 a.m. (Eastern)...Read More »
Heritage-Crystal Clean will release first quarter financial results after the market close on Tuesday, May 4 and host a conference call the following day at 9:30 am (Central)...Read More »