Covanta to Partner with Project Kaisei to Turn Pacific Garbage Patch into Diesel Fuel

Date: September 21, 2010

Source: Covanta Energy Corporation

Covanta Energy (Fairfield, NJ) has teamed up with Project Kaisei, an NGO focused on reducing plastic waste in the ocean, to clean up ocean debris, specifically the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (Gyre) in a project brokered by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Ultimately, they hope to eventually process non-recyclable plastic waste from the garbage patch into diesel fuel. Both organizations are members of CGI's Rethinking Waste subgroup, which works on creative solutions to waste management. The partnership was a natural fit, according to Paul Gilman, Chief Sustainability Officer of Covanta. "We're in the process of piloting technology that converts municipal solid waste, including non-recyclable plastics, into a diesel substitute. That part of what we do makes a complementary bookend to our focus on plastics in the ocean," he says. "As a company we've done a considerable amount of work on marine debris." Covanta is currently testing its plastic-to-diesel technology at a pilot facility in Massachusetts through the end of the year.


Covanta Energy and Project Kaisei Announce Joint Commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative

Covanta Energy Corporation and Project Kaisei have joined forces to clean up ocean debris as part of a project commitment with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). The partnership was formally announced today during the opening plenary at CGI's annual meeting in New York. Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, CGI convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Both organizations are members of CGI.

Project Kaisei is a non-governmental organization focused on reducing plastic waste in the ocean. Covanta Energy is an internationally recognized owner and operator of large-scale Energy-from-Waste and renewable energy projects. Together they have committed to clean up ocean debris, beginning with the Plastic Vortex in the North Pacific Gyre; stem future plastic waste flows from entering oceans; and test a new waste-to-fuel technology for the remediation of non-recyclable plastics and plastic waste. The project will showcase how plastic, and waste in general, can have a beneficial secondary market value when properly processed, and will help initiate a larger scale cleanup effort of the ocean, aiding in the protection of marine life.

"It is estimated that roughly 90% of plastics made today aren't recycled. This poses a significant opportunity for reuse, recycling and energy recovery," said Paul Gilman, Covanta Energy Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer. "We believe our partnership with Project Kaisei will bring worldwide attention to the issue of plastic in our ocean and shed light on how sustainable solutions such as waste-to-fuel and energy-from-waste can support marine debris remediation."

Beginning in late 2010, Project Kaisei, the lead on the project, will collect plastic debris from the ocean for remediation testing. Covanta Energy will use the debris to test its new waste-to-fuel technology to convert the plastic into a diesel substitute using its catalytic process for converting solid organic materials directly to mineral diesel fuel. If successful, the end result is expected to be an innovative, sustainable solution for communities around the world to deal with non-recyclable plastics and plastic waste.

"We are honored to make this commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative because it has an outstanding record of doing what's right by creating partnerships that deliver results," said Doug Woodring, Co-Founder of Project Kaisei. "Through our collaboration with Covanta Energy, the marine debris we collect will not only be removed from the ocean, but converted into something valuable. We are hopeful that our partnership will motivate the development of additional solutions and technologies for land-based prevention that can bring an end to marine debris and plastic waste pollution."

Covanta Energy and Project Kaisei have set a target to convert 50 tons of marine debris into renewable fuel each year.

Learn more about Project Kaisei at and Covanta Energy at

About Covanta Energy

Covanta Energy is an internationally recognized owner and operator of large-scale Energy-from-Waste and renewable energy projects and a recipient of the Energy Innovator Award from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Covanta's 45 Energy-from-Waste facilities provide communities with an environmentally sound solution to their solid waste disposal needs by using that municipal solid waste to generate clean, renewable energy. Annually, Covanta's modern Energy-from-Waste facilities safely and securely convert approximately 20 million tons of waste into more than 9 million megawatt hours of clean renewable electricity and create 10 billion pounds of steam that are sold to a variety of industries. For more information, visit

About Project Kaisei

Project Kaisei was launched in 2008 to focus on the issues of marine debris in the world's ocean, initially the North Pacific Gyre. It is operated under Ocean Voyages Institute, a California 501(c)3 organization formed in 1979. Project Kaisei is an international mission with offices in San Francisco and Hong Kong and partners, collaborators and supporters around the globe. Unique among the conservation groups concerned with the marine debris issue, Project Kaisei is working towards stopping both the flow of materials into the ocean and organizing scientific expeditions to determine the best collection methods for efficient and economically-viable removal of these items from the ocean with a minimal impact on sea life and the marine environment.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 125 current and former heads of state, 15 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship,, an online portal where anybody can make a Commitment to Action, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young leaders from business, government, and civil society. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:
For Covanta Energy:
James Regan
Media Relations & Corporate Communications

For Project Kaisei:
Sasha Fedulow
Cohn & Wolfe

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