Weekly News Bulletin: Aug. 7-13, 2012


Air Products to Build 50 MW Plasma Gasification Facility in England

Air Products (Allentown, PA) plans to build a 50 megawatt waste-to-energy plant in the United Kingdom using an advanced gasification technology that will divert 350,000 tons of non-recyclable waste from landfills. The so-called Tees Valley Renewable Energy facility is named for its location in northeastern England. The company says it has secured the necessary environmental and planning approvals, and work has already begun to prepare the site. Full-scale construction will begin in next few weeks and be complete by 2014 when the plant will begin operating. The plant will employ a Westinghouse plasma gasifier supplied by AlterNRG, which has been used in other countries, such as Japan. The technology produces 42 percent fewer CO2 emissions per MW hour than incineration, according to the company. The clean synthesis gas (syngas) produced by the plant can be converted to energy, fuels or chemicals...Read More »



US Steel to Enter Waste Disposal Business

US Steel Corp. (Pittsburgh, PA) plans to enter the waste disposal market using $94 million of tax-exempt environmental improvement revenue bonds to finance solid waste projects at facilities in three states. Proceeds of the bond offerings will finance renovations and construction of solid waste disposal facilities at the company's locations in Gary, IN, Granite City, IL, and Braddock, PA. The Indiana Finance Authority will price $29 million, Pennsylvania's Allegheny County Industrial Development Authority is selling $25 million, and a third series of $40 million will be issued through the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority. The transaction comes a week after the US Justice Department, on behalf of the EPA and three states, sued the steel giant for violations of the federal Clean Air Act, having accused the company of thousands of clean-air violations from 2008 to 2011. The bonds have 30-year maturities and are being underwritten by Morgan Stanley and Goldman, Sachs & Co...Read More »



Casella to Sell Biddeford Waste Plant for $6.6 Million

Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (Rutland, VT) has agreed to sell its unpopular Maine Energy Recovery facility ("MERC") facility to the host city of Biddeford. At a special meeting on July 31, the city's council voted in favor of a purchase and sale agreement with Casella in which the city will pay the company $6.65 million over 20 years while also entering into a 10-year waste collection and recycling contract with them. A condition of the sale is that Casella receive a final permit modification at its Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town, Maine which would allow the landfill to accept municipal solid waste (MSW) directly rather than only as a bypass stream from waste-to-energy facilities. Company CEO and Chairman John W. Casella said the contract is a "win-win" for the company and the city which has been trying to shut down the 25-year-old facility for the last 10 years. He indicated that low energy prices made the facility unprofitable and that a better solution involved waste reduction and recycling rather than conversion to energy...Read More »



MaxWest Warns EPA that Air Rules will Hurt Clean Energy

MaxWest Environmental Systems (Sanford, FL), a company that converts biosolids to energy, is arguing in federal appeals court that EPA erred by including its plant in an air toxics rule for sewage sludge incinerators and warning that the consequences of which will discourage clean energy innovation. EPA's sewage sludge incinerator (SSI) maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rule is one of a package of rules that includes a boiler air toxics rule, emissions limits for commercial and solid waste incinerators, and a rule defining waste to determine which rule facilities must meet.

In its July 24 opening brief, MaxWest says that its facility, rather than combusting biosolids directly, employs a closed-loop gasification process that converts it into syngas. The syngas is burned cleanly to dry the biosolids without significant emissions and no release of methane. Therefore, its facility should not be compared to or regulated as those that combust biosolids. "No reasonable person would consider 'sludge' to be the same thing as 'syngas.'"...Read More »



Clean Harbors 2Q Profit Falls on Slowdown in US Energy Business

Clean Harbors Inc. (Norwell, MA) said second quarter earnings fell 20 percent, despite higher revenues, as a a slowdown in natural gas drilling activity in the US hurt its energy business. On the other hand, revenues grew by 17 percent reflecting both organic growth and recent acquisitions. Moreover, the company said the slowdown in the US energy business is temporary and is expected to rebound in the fourth quarter. Net income fell to $23.4 million, or $0.44 per share, in the second quarter, from $29.2 million, or $0.55 per share, a year earlier. Revenue grew to $523.1 million from $447.2 million a year ago. "Despite the near-term softness in our energy business, we delivered 17% growth in the quarter as our environmental business benefited from strong volumes and our industrial business experienced high levels of activity," CEO Alan S. McKim said in a statement. "Within our Technical Services segment, utilization at our incinerators surpassed 90% for the quarter, even with 17% more down days due to turnarounds as compared to last year's second quarter. Volumes at our landfills increased by 60% from the prior year as we recorded the second highest quarterly volume in our history."...Read More »



Waste-to-Fuel Developer Fulcrum Gets $105 million USDA Loan Guarantee

Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. (Pleasanton, CA) received a conditional commitment for a $105 million loan guarantee from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its Sierra biofuels plant near Reno Nevada. The plant is designed to process 147,000 tons of waste into about 10 million gallons of ethanol annually. Both Waste Management (Houston, TX), which is also an investor in Fulcrum, and Waste Connections (The Woodlands, TX) have signed agreements to supply the plant with waste once it is operational. In December the company raised $100 million in venture funding which followed Waste Management's investment of $70 million in November. Waste Management plans to collaborate on the development of other Fulcrum projects across the US...Read More »



Green Energy to Build Waste-to-Energy and Recycling at Puerto Rico Landfill

Green Energy Renewable Solutions (Las Vegas, NV) said it signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with Landfill Solutions, LLC of Puerto Rico to remediate the Yabucoa municipal landfill and ultimately install waste-to-energy and recycling facilities at the site. Under the agreement, the 50/50 venture will immediately commence work on the estimated $100 million project remediating the 50-acre landfill located on the southeastern tip of the island which has been idle since last year. The remediation plan is designed to bring the landfill up to current standards and equip it to handle as much as 1,000 tons per day of volume. The joint venture has a 30-year no-cost lease of the landfill and has already secured long-term municipal solid waste (MSW) contracts from four Puerto Rico municipalities to supply 500 tons per day to the landfill...Read More »



Waste-to-Energy Company Agilyx Appoints New CEO and CFO

Agilyx Corp. (Beaverton, OR) has appointed a pair of top executives with experience running public companies as CEO and CFO as the upstart waste-to-energy company prepares for a possible initial public offering. Effective immediately, Ross M. Patten, appointed to the board in January, has been named Chairman and CEO. Patten is a 35-year industry veteran who most recently served as President and CEO of MaxWest Environmental Services, a renewable energy company specializing in wastewater to energy systems. He was formerly Chairman and CEO of Synagro Technologies, where he grew the company to become the largest publicly-traded processor of sewage sludge in the US. He has also held senior management positions at Browning-Ferris Industries and Wheelabrator Technologies. The company also appointed Roger Rowe as CFO. Rowe, who began his career with KPMG, most recently was CFO of Merchandising Technologies, InFocus Corporation and Preview Systems...Read More »



Waste-to-Chemical Company Genomatica Raises another $41.5 Million

Genomatica, Inc. (San Diego, CA), which develops processes to derive intermediate and basic chemicals from scrap plastic and other waste materials, has raised an additional $41.5 million in a Series D round of preferred stock financing. New investor and partner Versalis, an Italian chemical company, participated in the round along with existing investors Alloy Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Mohr Davidow Ventures, TPG Biotech, VantagePoint Capital Partners and Waste Management. The company, which in August filed a registration with the SEC for an initial public offering, has now withdrawn from that process. "After evaluating all of our financing options, we determined that this private financing was the most attractive option for Genomatica and in the best interest of our shareholders," said Genomatica CEO Christophe Schilling in a statement...Read More »



SWACO Signs Deal to build $25 million Landfill Gas-to-Fuel Project

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) has signed a deal with Atlanta-based Renewco LLC to build a $25 million landfill gas conversion facility at SWACO's Franklin County landfill in Grove City. Under a 20-year deal with Renewco, a subsidiary of AGL Resources Inc. and Keystone Renewable Energy LLC, SWACO will receive a share of the revenue from selling the pipeline-quality gas refined from the landfill. Until now, gas from the landfill has been burned off without any energy recovery.

This latest deal comes on the heals of a failed project officially abandoned last November. Under that deal, Newport Beach CA-based FirmGreen Inc was to build a similar facility that would have also converted landfill gas into clean fuel. However, SWACO filed suit against the company, having already invested $4.4 million in the project, after the company fell more than 18 months behind schedule. Under the settlement, FirmGreen agreed to void the contract in return for not being held liable for financial damages. SWACO was able to keep a facility built to house the gas-refining system, along with the tanks and pipelines, collectively worth about $3.3 million...Read More »



Landfill Energy Begins Operating 3.2 MW Gas-to-Energy Project

Landfill Energy Systems (LES) has begun operating a 3.2 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy plant at the Millersville Landfill in Severn, MD. The facility employs two Caterpillar G3520 engines to generate enough electricity to power 2,000 homes and which is being sold into the PJM market. LES, which is owned by Energy Investors Funds (EIF), designed, built and is operating the project as it does with its other 23 landfill energy projects around the US...Read More »



WM Opens CNG Fueling Station in Louisville, KY

Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) has opened a new public-access compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in Louisville, KY, another step in the company's ambitious plan to convert the majority of its fleet to CNG. It also represents the first of its kind in Kentucky. The company will initially add 25 CNG-powered collection vehicles to the Louisville fleet and has plans to add more in the future. Waste Management CEO David Steiner told Mad Money's Jim Cramer in April that 90 percent of the company's new fleet purchases over the next five years will be for CNG vehicles as the company expands its fleet of CNG vehicles to 30,000 from its present number of 1,400...Read More »


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