The Colorado Rocky Mountain Chapter of SWANA its hosting its 2022 Annual Conference in Black Hawk, CO, October 11-13.
Jeff’s Abstract: Fires are occurring with increasing frequency in the solid waste and recycling industry. While fires are certainly a serious safety risk to facility personnel and emergency responders, they also pose an administrative risk as facilities are struggling to keep or renew insurance policies. Learn how developing a fire mitigation plan, and training that plan, can help prevent fires from occurring and keep them from escalating by identify gaps of knowledge, resources, and communication between facility managers and emergency responders. This presentation will provide an update on fires within the industry and present examples of fires within industry so that we can learn from other events (the good and bad). The presentation will also discuss the benefits of having a fire mitigation plan, the process of developing the plan and its components, the unique safety risks solid waste facilities pose to emergency responders, strategies to engage emergency response managers, and suggestions on how to “train the plan”.
The Conference will include exhibitors, networking opportunities, and a return of the popular Solid Waste Operations Safety Course. Featured sessions will cover:
Click for more details and registration information. Hope to see you there!
Join SCS Engineers at the 25th Annual Energy, Utility & Environment Conference (EUEC), October 5-7, 2022, in Tucson, Arizona.
EUEC offers 10 tracks with over 300 speakers on everything from Renewable Energy to Utility Regulations to CO2 Emissions and Wastewater. Several SCS Engineers professionals are speaking at the conference, including:
Pat’s Abstract: Landfill gas to energy projects can have some unique air permitting issues that complicate efforts to obtain permits and to keep permitting and pollution control costs affordable. These issues include assessing best available control technology (BACT)/lowest achievable emission rate (LAER), finding cost effective control options that meet BACT/LAER, managing impurities in the gas that can impact emissions and controls, gas treatment technologies necessary to remove contaminants in the gas or to create renewable natural gas (RNG), avoiding or reducing costs for emission reduction credits (ERCs), and determining whether third party plants are under common control with the landfill. The presentation will cover the following energy recovery technologies: reciprocating engines, gas turbines, microturbines, boilers, and treatment plants that create renewable natural gas (RNG). Several case studies of recent projects will be included to illustrate the key themes.
Jeff’s Abstract: Landfill gas and digester gas are currently widely used in the United States to produce renewable power; however, solar and wind have generally become more cost-effective sources of renewable power. The value of biogas as a source of renewable power has receded. Credits under the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS 2) Program and the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Program now combine to create a market value for renewable natural gas (RNG) exceeding $30/MMBtu. RNG’s link to these programs is that RNG is dedicated for vehicle fuel use in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG). Large to moderately sized biogas power plants are now being shut down, and RNG plants are being constructed, using the freed-up biogas. The payback on the RNG plants is generally less than two years. The presentation will address: 1) An overview of the workings of the RFS 2 and LCFS programs – explaining how the credits are monetized, and reviewing the historic and possible future trend of RNG prices; 2) An overview of the technologies used to convert biogas to RNG – a natural gas equivalent. The RNG can then be injected into natural gas pipelines for transport to CNG users; 3) The pipeline interconnection process and governing pipeline quality standards will be briefly discussed; and 4) Construction cost, operation/maintenance cost and performance of a typical RNG plant will be presented.
Alex’s Abstract: LFG generation and recovery forecasting is critical for evaluating suitable RNG project sizes and potential revenues. Yet the forecasts struggle to overcome large uncertainties arising from limitations that will be discussed in this paper, including: the lack of measurements of methane generation or moisture conditions in the landfill impacting generation, limited data on the types of wastes disposed, reliance by the LFG industry on regulatory LFG emissions models without knowledge of how to adjust them for site-specific conditions, and the inability of the models to account for expected changes in waste composition as organics diversion programs expand.
Kacey’s Abstract: To protect underground sources of drinking water, it is essential to develop effective testing and monitoring plans for carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects. The regulatory framework and practice for CCS are similar to Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and Coal Combustion Residual (CCR) disposal sites; however, the risk and related cost implications of monitoring network errors in CCS projects are significantly higher. In this talk, we discuss key considerations for developing testing and monitoring plans for CCS projects based on our understanding of MSW and CCR regulatory frameworks and in the context of lessons learned from those mature monitoring programs.
Charles’s Abstract: A number of generalized tools and concepts exist to assess the capacity for carbon dioxide storage on a regional scale. An issue for assessing carbon dioxide storage capacity for local point-source emitters is gathering enough data from readily available sources to determine the potential for carbon sequestration on a local scale, particularly in geologic settings that are not thought of as traditional; e.g., depleted oil fields or coal beds. In this talk we examine some methods for assessing carbon sequestration capacity at local scales and in non-traditional terrains, and consider the impacts of characterization uncertainty on project financials. 1) What are ancillary CO2 project factors that increase risk and can have adverse financial impacts? 2) What tools do you need to avoid these factors? 3) What locations and geologic terrains are going to be most favorable for local sequestration and what type of conditions should be avoided?
The EUEC conference includes over 100 Exhibitors and plenty of networking opportunities.
Click here for more details and registration information. Hope to see you there!
2022 Organics Management Facility of the Year.
The National Waste & Recycling Association recently named Republic Services’ Otay Compost Facility the 2022 Organics Management Facility of the Year. The Otay facility in Chula Vista, Calif., is the first fully solar-powered compost facility in the state, recycling food and yard waste from throughout the San Diego region.
The solar-powered facility opened for business last October, helping communities in San Diego County meet the requirements of California’s SB1383 law mandating the diversion of organic waste from landfills. This unique facility, designed by SCS Engineers in collaboration with Sustainable Generation, operates completely off the grid. It can process 200 tons of food and yard waste daily from Chula Vista, Carlsbad, and customers throughout the San Diego region.
The design uses renewable energy to run 100 percent of the composting operations at the site. The facility design includes technologies to speed the maturation rates and reduce excessive odors. Blowers to aerate the organic material, oxygen and temperature sensors, and advanced compost cover technology produce a high-quality product.
“Republic Services took the goals of SB 1383 further to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants. They’re running a sustainable facility that enables residents, businesses, and government to easily reuse and recycle more organic materials within a smaller carbon footprint than ever expected,” says Vidhya Viswanathan, engineer and project director.
Recorded on Thursday, March 24, 2022
1 hour including Q&A
Landfill owners and municipalities are increasingly finding ways to repurpose capped and closed landfills. Using solar arrays on landfills is one fast-growing option that provides renewable energy and meets the approval of residents, city councils, and state environmental regulatory agencies alike.
Landfills hosting solar energy are increasing because the combination of Federal Investment Tax Credits (before January 1, 2026) and the sale of electric power with solar panels can convert sites from a sink for expenses into a source of revenue fostering community pride. But, as we know, every landfill is unique.
Using an open forum with plenty of time for Q&A throughout, Mark Huber and Kevin Yard take us through the feasibility process to meet the target cost, timeline, and levelized cost of energy given the different transitions and parties involved in the process.
Their use of case studies helps put the technical considerations and feasibility of landfill solar into context while covering these topics:
Mark Huber has 30 years of civil and environmental engineering experience on landfills and electric utilities. He specializes in urban redevelopment projects with technical expertise in solar energy installations, brownfield redevelopment, civil site design, and stormwater management.
Kevin Yard has over 30 years of engineering experience encompassing various aspects of solar on landfills, landfill closure and post-closure, feasibility studies, permitting and conceptual designs, construction plans, and specifications, and operations consulting.
This educational, non-commercial webinar with a Q&A forum throughout is free and open to all who want to learn if renewable energy on local landfills is an option to consider. We recommend this month’s discussion for landfill owners, real estate developers, electric utilities, environmental engineers, agency staff, and municipal personnel interested in finding renewable energy options for closed landfills.
Meet SCS professionals at Renew Wisconsin: 2022 Renewable Energy Summit, January 27, 2022, at Monona Terrace in Madison, WI.
Renewable energy continues to make inroads in Wisconsin. Solar and wind power projects large enough to replace fossil-fuel power plants are starting to come online, and many more are set to follow in the next three years. Meanwhile, accelerating numbers of businesses, farms, nonprofits, and residents are turning to clean energy and energy storage for their own use. The theme of the conference is “All Roads Lead to Clean Energy,” and it will highlight the convergence of methods, technologies, people, and scale at the intersection of Wisconsin’s energy transformation.
In October, Republic Services’ Otay Compost Facility at the Chula Vista, California, Otay Landfill opened for business. The compost facility helps communities in San Diego County meet the requirements of California’s SB1383 law mandating the diversion of organic waste from landfills.
The composting facility designed by SCS Engineers in collaboration with Sustainable Generation operates completely off the grid using solar energy. It is the first fully solar-powered compost facility in the state and can process 100 tons of organics per day, with plans to double capacity by year-end.
Both organics recycling and reuse leaders, Republic Services hired SCS Engineers to design the Otay Compost Facility. The design uses renewable energy to run 100 percent of the composting operations at the site. The facility design includes using technologies to speed the maturation rates and reduce excessive odors. Blowers to aerate the organic material, oxygen and temperature sensors, and advanced compost cover technology produce a high-quality product.
“Republic’s taken the goals of SB 1383, to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants further. They’re running a sustainable facility that enables residents, businesses, and government to easily reuse and recycle more within a smaller carbon footprint than ever expected,” says Vidhya Viswanathan, engineer and project director.
As California collects and recycles organic materials from homes and businesses, local governments will use the products made from recycled organic material for compost and mulch. Recycling organic waste into compost creates a nutrient-rich soil amendment, preserving natural resources and reducing water consumption working within a circular economy. This California jurisdiction is ready for the SB1383 deadline on January 1, 2022.
“Republic Services supports California’s effort to divert food and yard waste from landfills to facilities such as this one,” said Chris Seney, Republic’s director of organics operations. “We’re grateful to SCS for their partnership in helping us bring this facility, co-located at an active landfill, to reality.”
Please watch the YouTube video to see the facility and learn more about its environmental value.
SCS Engineers is proud of helping our municipal and private clients bring the most value to their environmental solutions and communities. To learn more about SCS Engineers, view our 50th-anniversary video.
On September 15, Governor Pritzker signed Senate Bill 2408, forming the Illinois Energy Transition Act. The Act advances renewable energy goals and the path to carbon-free electricity generation by 2045. To say this bill will impact the Illinois electrical utility landscape is an understatement.
Illinois is a top energy producer and consumer in the upper Midwest. The Act requires displacement of more than 6,000 MWh provided from coal and natural gas. One average MWh is enough to power 796 homes for a year in the U.S.
Energy efficiencies and implementing alternative energy resources will be an increasingly important strategy to mitigate the cost impacts from this Act to all users: residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal.
SCS supports clients with the decommissioning and legacy management of coal-fired facilities and renewable energy development. Our environmental team in Illinois includes local experts, Scott Knoepke and Richard Southorn who support the management of coal-fired facilities with Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) and assist utilities transitioning to renewable natural gas installments and solar energy sources. For coal-fired facilities with CCR impoundments, SCS’s Illinois Office provides design, closure, construction quality assurance, and site stewardship (e.g., long-term maintenance, groundwater monitoring, and reporting).
SCS uses a specialized team for solar implementation on landfills and Brownfields. Knoepke and Southorn are supported by SCS National Experts in the region to assess and implement Solar Energy on Landfills & Brownfields.
The Act defines that landfill gas produced in Illinois as a renewable energy resource. SCS Engineers has one of the longest and most successful Biogas practices in the United States. SCS designs, constructs, and operates more Biogas, Anaerobic Digestion, Renewable Natural Gas, Ag Digester systems than any other engineering firm in the nation. Our clients attribute our quality and high production rates to our practice specializing in waste gas utilization, combined with our expertise in solid waste management and compliance.
In August, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced nearly $34 million in funding for 11 projects that will support high-impact research and development to improve and produce biofuels, biopower, and bioproducts. These biomass resources, otherwise known as feedstocks, can be produced by municipal solid waste (MSW) streams and algae and converted into low-carbon fuels that can significantly contribute to the decarbonization of transportation sectors that face barriers to electrification, like aviation and marine.
Transportation accounts for approximately 30% of total U.S. energy consumption and generates the largest share of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Biofuels serve as a low-carbon alternative to petroleum and can also be used to produce carbon-heavy products like plastics, fertilizers, lubricants, and industrial chemicals.
Among the DOE recipients is a team led by Stephanie Lansing, professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland (UMD). Lansing is leading a consortium of scientists and industry partners to research innovative ways to use waste and to make value-added products that will contribute to the sustainability of our economy and planet.
SCS Engineers is an environmental engineering firm specializing in waste management and renewable energy from waste products. SCS is on the Lansing team focusing on biofuel production. The team includes Ohio State University, Mississippi State University, Virginia Tech, Idaho National Lab, and Quasar Energy Group. Their first task is to conduct a waste characterization study across every U.S. region during every season of the year, to understand how location and the time of year affect landfills’ incoming waste. The results help determine what the biofuel potential of that waste is.
Another Lansing team will be working toward producing bioplastics that are made without using fossil fuels and degrade much more easily than current plastic products.
The biofuel and bioplastic projects involve sustainability and economic assessments comparing them to current products on the market to see how marketable these new products can be. And the reason why Lansing’s comprehensive teams are important; they will help commercialize any new products.
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm stated in the DOE August 3 press release, “The companies and universities leading these projects will ensure that our cutting-edge biofuel technologies reduce carbon emissions, create new jobs up and down the supply chain, and are made in America by American workers.”
Progressive energy companies are rushing to corner the growing hydrogen market, excited as they see this renewable fuel’s cost steadily drop and as they prioritize decarbonization.
As they work to stay ahead of the pack, they need to put time and thought into building out and implementing these projects. There are complex technical and regulatory considerations; safety is also priority one at every step when managing this flammable, compressed gas.
As the market takes off, there is a need for scaled development along the whole supply chain, and some developers are rising to the occasion for more control and more opportunity. Rather than only build fueling stations, they buy into vertically integrated hydrogen networks to produce, transport and distribute hydrogen. But these multifaceted projects present even more complexity— calling for a team with highly specialized, comprehensive skill sets.
SCS Engineers supports energy companies and contractors looking to diversify their hydrogen services portfolio to include building production plants, including moving the gas via pipeline or truck to offload at fueling stations, ultimately selling to consumers.
“We enter these strategic partnerships to give our clients what they are looking for: a full spectrum of competencies and services; and a proven history of working on hydrogen to deliver turnkey projects. The idea is to take the environmental burden off clients as they pursue these major undertakings,” says Nathan Eady, an SCS vice president, and project manager.
SCS makes site selection; performs environmental due diligence and remediation; feasibility analysis; design and construction of environmental controls; land use, air, and water quality permitting.
The contractors’ specializations are detailed design, engineering, and construction management–from civil to structural to mechanical and fire protection.
This team meets all environmental and regulatory design requirements and develops process safety management and risk management plans with their combined expertise. They also take on the role of community educator, explaining the unique attributes of hydrogen and easing any concerns.
“We take science and engineering and translate that for neighbors and city councils. It’s important to show communities, as well as regulators, that these facilities are designed and operated with the utmost safety,” Eady says.
Requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. But with a national reach, SCS sails through processes and regulations by region.
“That matters to our clients; they want to get through the detailed permitting steps and launch as soon as they can to maintain their competitive edge. And when they plan to expand into other regions, they like to know they already have a vetted team in place who knows the territory and can do the work there,” he says.
Permitting and technical considerations vary by location and production method, whether via steam methane reforming (SMR) or electrolysis.
Some operators are taken off-guard by the air quality permitting requirements associated with SMR facilities − or the stringent wildlife and water quality regulations encountered with the larger footprint photovoltaic systems requiring open space to support electrolysis. SCS has the expertise to address the issues, whether state-specific cap and trade regulations for carbon emissions or air basin specific criteria pollutants. SCS also has the unique talent of finding brownfield sites or closed landfill properties, making excellent receiver sites for electrolysis and solar facilities near existing infrastructure.
Building hydrogen projects on these idle properties can save developers significant time and money in the overall project outcome.
“We do a lot of brownfield work helping to clean and redevelop these properties. These sites have special permitting considerations, especially since they typically have a history of industrial use,” Eady says.
SCS performs Phase I Assessments to research records on previous use, and if the team finds a potential problem, they move to Phase II, which entails groundwater and soil testing.
“If we find evidence of existing contamination, we reconcile it so our clients can move forward with the development of their new facilities,” Eady says.
SCS is seeing a growing interest in building hydrogen projects on closed landfills. As brownfields, they have value for their open space and often have some existing infrastructure, offsetting the cost of building new.
“We have done permitting and design work on several closed landfills, sometimes adding solar systems. Hydrogen projects leveraging electrolysis require a tremendous amount of electricity, and when we can bypass the grid enabling clients to make their own electricity, it’s a major plus,” Eady says.
Lately, large energy companies are pivoting from conventional oil and gas to hydrogen, and some smaller, young companies are also joining the clean renewables movement.
SCS has gotten interest from startups looking to obtain government grants and subsidies. Some of these firms need more process engineering support to ensure their new technology can operate at a cost and environmental efficacy equivalent to larger operations.
“We use our knowledge gained working with major conventional energy companies to support these new hydrogen firms in executing successful launches. All in all, a positive trend.”
Together, SCS and its partners play an integral role in helping to see hydrogen continue to climb the energy sector ranks, maintaining an excellent record of accomplishment supporting the planning-design-build of clean-energy plants.
The International Awards Committee and Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Board of Directors unanimously voted to honor Tom Conrad, the “C” in SCS, with the Robert L. Lawrence Distinguished Service Award at WASTECON 2021 in November. The Lawrence award is the highest accolade SWANA bestows on a member of the waste management industry, reserved for those making meaningful and lasting contributions.
“I’m honored and humbled to be selected for the Robert L. Lawrence Award. I thank you and am especially thankful for what SWANA and SCS are today,” stated Tom Conrad.
SWANA recognizes Conrad for over 60 years of significant influence on the waste management and environmental services industry. Conrad, a Founder, Executive Vice President, and Director Emeritus of SCS Engineers, dedicated his career to advancing solid waste management, most notably through the founding of SCS Engineers (Stearns, Conrad, and Schmidt Consulting Engineers) more than 51 years ago.
Tom Conrad worked on a wide range of environmental engineering projects touching almost every aspect of solid waste management throughout his career. As an environmental engineering firm and consultant to the newly created US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the founders recognized that responsible solid waste management was increasingly important for protecting the environment and the health and safety of the general public.
Leading SCS, he helped the EPA develop the first federal regulations for sanitary landfills, managing and capturing landfill gas, waste sorting protocols, sludge management, and land remediation.
Environmental services, including wastewater management, were always a significant part of SCS services and the waste industry. When new regulatory policies began expanding in the ’80s, SCS’s techniques, technology, and expertise helped a broad range of industries comply with environmental needs and continues today with the firm’s greenhouse gas, landfill technology, renewable energy, remediation, and sustainable materials management programs.
Conrad is also known for hiring and mentoring today’s SCS leaders, many of whom are SWANA leaders, by creating and fostering SCS’s culture encouraging employee participation in industry associations, community, and SCS’s mentorship and leadership programs.
Before his retirement in 2016, Conrad held professional engineering licenses in 24 states. He was a member of SWANA, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Waste and Recycling Association, and the Society of American Military Engineers.
He maintains his “work hard – play hard” lifestyle. He is active at SCS, participating in Board of Director meetings and speaking at the Young Professionals Group events and celebrations. While no longer mountain climbing and biking cross-country, he has a vigorous walking, swimming, and biking schedule.