Southern California Conversion Technology


Conversion Technology E-Newsletter-December 2017


Alternative Technology Advisory Subcommittee Meeting (ATAS)
January 18, 2018
Alhambra, CA
For more information on this event, please visit the website: 

Southern California Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Founding Chapter Workshop
January 18, 2018
Ontario, CA
For more information on this event, please visit the website:

Compost 2018, USCC Conference & Tradeshow
January 22-25, 2018
Atlanta, GA
For more information on this event, please visit the website:

Verde Xchange Conference 2018
January 28-30, 2018
Los Angeles, CA
For more information on this event, please visit the website:

ReThink Methane Symposium 2018
February 6-7, 2018
Sacramento, CA
For more information on this event, please visit the website:


Ridding the Oceans of Plastics by Turning the Waste Into Valuable Fuel

Sailor, James Holm, and organic chemist, Swamintathan Ramesh, have joined forces to design a mobile reactor that can convert plastic waste into fuel. With billions of pounds of plastic waste floating around the oceans, Holm formed Clean Oceans International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to cleaning up plastic pollutants by creating a market for it. Dr. Ramesh provided a means to do so by developing a catalyst system that results in diesel fuels directly, without further refining. The process runs at lower temperatures than other pyrolysis reactions, is cost-effective, and is compact enough to fit in a 20-foot shipping container or on the back of a flatbed truck. The next step is to show that the technology can create useable drop-in diesel. A demonstration is scheduled for the City of Santa Cruz who is interested in addressing the Citys plastic waste issue while creating fuel for its vehicles. To read more, click here.

Ionic Gasifier Opens Up Door to Small-Scale Waste to Energy

Cogent Energy Systems from Virginia believes they have developed a new ionic gasification technology that could be the answer for waste-to-energy done on a smaller scale. Dr. Peter Kong of Idaho National Laboratory developed a concept based on modular hybrid plasma technology that may allow for biomass, and potentially any waste, to be converted into usable products at a small scale. The result is an ionic gasification process that involves direct-contact processing of the waste in an active plasma field at temperatures ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 degrees Celsius. Cogent Energys engineering partner, Hanover, recently secured a grant from the US Navy to create a small-scale waste-to-energy system using this technology. This system is intended to cleanly convert of 3.5 tons of mixed waste per day into syngas. Initially, the company focused on developing waste-to-electricity technology and has recently expressed interest in exploring what gasification technology has to offer. The installation with the US Navy is expected to be proven within the next 18 months, and Cogent is looking at commercial application to process medical waste in the US and Canada. To read more, click here.

California Partnership to Develop Organics-to-Energy System

Lystek International Ltd. was unanimously approved for a $1.5 million grant through the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) mandate from the California Energy Commission in November. EPIC focuses on funding for creating new, clean energy solutions in the marketplace and fostering regional innovation. Lystek will be partnering up with the Goleta Sanitary District and UC Santa Barbara to demonstrate source separated food waste can be pre-treated and processed to produce high-quality biogas. Potentially other organic was streams can be used as feedstock destined to become biogas which will ultimately be used for electricity generation. The biosoilds resulting from the process can be further treated and turned into biofertilizer to be introduced into the agricultural market. Lystek will be responsible for constructing and operating the demonstration unit, which will be hosted on a site run by Goleta who will also provide logistical support. UC Santa Barbara will provide the feedstock by collecting food waste from cafeterias, and may offer volunteers from its student and faculty bodies. To read more, click here.

Coffee-enhanced Fuel Set to Power London Buses

London currently consumes an average of 2.3 cups of coffee a day, which can soon contribute to the energy supply for its buses including the iconic red double-deckers. British startup company Bio-bean started converting coffee waste grounds into fuel for the past four years and have been raising awareness to bring that process into the bus industry that comprises of a fleet of 9,300 buses, only 2,000 of which use alternative energy. Bio-bean founder Arthur Kay aims to divert coffee grounds from London-based coffee shops and into a factory in Cambridgeshire where it is processed. The extracted oil is then sent to Argent Energy who mixes the coffee oil with a range of animal or vegetable fuels to create a mix made up of 80% traditional diesel and 20% biofuel. It is estimated that replacing traditional fuel with this mixture can reduce carbon emissions from busses by 10% to 15% without having to modify engines or increase the fleets usual expenditure, according to Bio-Bean. To read more, click here.

Vermont College to Run on Manure and Food Waste

Partnered up with the Goodrich Family Farm in Salisbury, Middlebury College will be fueled by renewable natural gas (RNG) converted from the largest digester in the state of Vermont. In addition to the family owned farm, Middlebury will also be partnering with Vanguard Renewables from Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Vermont Gas. Vanguard Renewables will construct, own, and operate the digester facility on the grounds of the Goodrich Family Farm. The feedstock will be made up of cow manure (100 tons per day) and food waste (165 tons per day) via anaerobic digestion and will travel to the colleges main power plant by pipeline. Middlebury will be purchasing a bulk of the output from this facility. According to Middleburys executive vice president for finance and administration, David Provost, the college had reached its goal of carbon neutrality in 2016 and wants to continue shrinking its carbon footprint with the help of this digester. The remaining digestate will be processed into high-quality liquid fertilizer to be used by the dairy farm and reduce its reliance on chemical fertilizers. Goodrich Family Farm will also be receiving free heat and an annual lease payment for hosting the digester facility. To read more, click here.

West Hartford Launches Curbside Food Waste Recycling Program

Over a 15-week period, approximately 130 homeowners from West Harford, Connecticut will take part in an experiment to help recycle food waste. These residents will separate organic food waste into an odor-resistant and dishwasher-safe kitchen caddy that can be emptied into a special brown bin. The food waste is then collected every Thursday and taken to a recycling center in Southington where it will be anaerobically digested and the methane produced will be used to create electricity. If this pilot program, which ends on January 4, 2018, is successful it may pave the way for municipalities across the entire state of Connecticut. The program will be paid for by the owner of the digestion facility Quantum Biopower, waste contractor Covanta, and waste hauler Paines, Inc. at no cost to the residents or the city. John Phillips of West Hartford Public Works is cautiously optimistic noting that a similar pilot program in Bridgeport, Connecticut was not so successful. However, other local towns such as South Windsor have already started looking into food waste diversion programs while trying to avoid the pitfalls in Bridgeport, which were largely due cost-effectiveness. To read more, click here.

Microdigester Opens New Opportunities for Small-Volume Organics Waste Generators

CCI Bioenergy is a biogas project developer from Ontario, Canada that typically produces large-scale anaerobic digesters, but has developed a process that can process between one and five tons of organic material per day. The microdigester is approximately the size of a shipping container and intended for generators that do not have an economically feasible option to take their organic waste to larger operators. President of CCI BioEnergy, Kevin Matthews, says the company will launch one of these systems in spring of 2018 at the Ontario Water Centre and is currently attempting to close on a deal with a goat cheese manufacturer and a university in Toronto that deals with food concessions. For Ontario Water Center, the biogas that is produced from this microdigester is destined to one of two places: (1) to fuel a boiler that heats their greenhouse, or (2) to fuel the facilitys vehicle fleet. The plan moving forward for CCI BioEnergy is to develop systems for different sectors in the industry and demonstration projects for various host entities such as universities, dairy farms, and supermarket chains. To read more, click here.

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