The Sustainably Speaking podcast series hosted by Joshua Baca from America’s Plastic Makers features conversations with key figures, including those in industry, government, academia, and the consumer circle, who are helping to create a more sustainable future. Episode 7 features Rice University’s Dr. Rachel Meidl and CCNY’s Dr. Marco Castaldi as they dive into the science behind advanced recycling. The podcast episode, titled Advanced Recycling: Combining Science and Sustainability, can be heard here.
Updated July 27, 2021
You may recall that we postponed our Fall 2020 EEC/WTERT bi-Annual Conference to this coming Fall 2021. Since that postponement there have been a few developments that require us to again postpone our meeting to Fall 2022. Currently, there is no firm new date but we are excited to share that the conference will occur in the Fall of 2022 as an in-person event. We have delayed this decision for as long as possible to incorporate the most updated and current information. New York has recently lifted all COVID-19 restrictions across all commercial and social settings, and several large (>800 people) events are set to take place here in NYC in the near future. We will monitor these upcoming events to provide us with some insight on the ability and willingness of people to travel and interact with colleagues from around the world. City College is also set to go to an in-person course structure for the upcoming school year, and by the end of Fall 2021 we will know how well that performed.
In addition, there have been some recent developments in the U.S. regarding interest in using MSW for energy and materials recovery. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has announced funding to several teams focused on advancing waste-to-energy technology. These teams are a part of ARPA-E’s Monetizing Innovative Disposal Applications and Solutions (MIDAS) and Waste into X (WiX) topics. MIDAS teams are developing technologies for the recovery and reclamation of critical materials (CMs) and other valuable elements from Municipal Solid Waste Incineration (MSWI). WiX projects are working to advance the improvement of the physical or chemical properties of MSWI ash into valuable products. Additional information on these projects can be found on the ARPA-E website. Similar efforts are also being developed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). These projects are just getting underway this year; therefore, we anticipate that our postponement will yield some abstract submissions from that program enabling us to expand the presentation and networking.
Finally, we are committed to ensure that we can have the international participation that our conference normally enjoys. For example, in 2018 there were a total of 12 countries represented that spanned several time zones (Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Korea, Sudan, UK and US). Additionally, an important component of our conference is the person-to-person interaction that allows attendees to make new connections and collaborations that normally would not occur in other settings. That interaction cannot happen in a virtual environment and the spontaneous discussions on the scientific topics also cannot occur via an on-line format.
Therefore, please look toward to Fall 2022 to be in New York City for the bi-annual EEC/WTERT conference. We will have a new call for abstracts and will provide updated information throughout the year.
The EEC Team
The latest publishing by Dr. Marco J. Castaldi has received wide news coverage for providing the most up-to-date scientific data on waste-to-energy technologies. The report provides an extensive repository of data on waste-to-energy research which can be used to understand and contextualize the complex life cycle of municipal solid waste, as well as to determine the evidence based benefits of waste-to-energy. This report was covered by News 12 Long Island’s Geoff Bansen, found here. For more information about this important topic, please read the original report at this link.
Anna Naumova is an undergraduate student at the City College of New York and is graduating in Spring 2021 from the mechanical engineering program. She was awarded the Floyd Hasselriis Educational Support for her interest and work in solid waste management at the Earth Engineering Center (EEC|CCNY). Anna was involved in work investigating methods of repurposing ash coming from Waste-to-Energy plants into a product for the construction market.
Professor Castaldi has been interviewed on some of the thermal conversion aspects related to waste film plastic. EEC has done some research in the past related to non-recycled plastic waste and recently focused on film plastic (i.e. wrapping, flexible contaniers, etc) demonstrating that thermal conversion processes are likely the best technology for treating that stream thus diverting from landfills. For example, The range for the lower heating value for plastic waste was experimentally determined by EEC|CCNY to be between 22.9 and 41.0 MJ/kg (19.7-35.3 MMBtu/ton). Evan after long term exposure the original heating value was reduced by less than 5% making thermal conversion technologies well-positioned to recover the inherent energy and residual metals. Please see the excellent article done by Karine Vann of Waste Dive (The unfulfilled promises of plastic film recycling | Waste Dive)
CCL researcher Anjeza Arapi won the 2020 Floyd Hasselriis Awards offered by ASME Materials and Energy Recovery (MER) Division for her work in solid waste management. Anjeza is a graduate student at the City College of New York and is expected to graduate in Spring 2021. Anjeza is currently an associate at the Earth Engineering Center at the City College of New York and is involved in researching the mitigation of halogenic emissions from a waste-to-energy facility. She is developing different mitigation techniques by understanding the behavior of iodine in combustion facilities as well as using analytical methods for quantifying this unregulated pollutant. She has also been involved in a technical assessment on air pollution control technologies. Congratulations Anjeza!
CCL Congratulates Vishal Jadwani who was part of the KTH-CCNY Sweden-USA student exchange program. Vishal worked with CCL during the summer for 2019 and focused on developing a testing and validation method to quantify and eliminate unexpected halogen emission plumes from waste to energy systems. Vishal worked close with CCL members and EEC’s resident research engineering, Anjeza Arapi. Vishal joined Northvolt’s Quality Control team for incoming materials for battery manufacturing. Northvolt is working towards making greener batteries for sustainable future.
Recently a published article in Annual Reviews in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering by Professor Castaldi was more brought to life through Knowable Magazine’s story by Michael Waldrop. The article by Castaldi entitled “Perspectives on Sustainable Waste Management” provided an overview of how waste management is done and how it can be made to be more sustainable.
You can find the Knowable Magazine article at: https://knowablemagazine.org/article/food-environment/2020/recycling-meets-reality-feature
In addition, a complementary video produced by Bridget Hunnicutt and her team centered on the research done at EEC|CCNY and CCL focused on thermal conversion of residual waste that cannot be recycled. To view the video please go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zI4xXGmNPw&t=186s
We are very happy that the work being done at EEC|CCNY and CCL is making a real impact and being disseminated through different outlets that are dedicated to presenting the facts of our current waste management systems and how they can be improved.
Recently Enerkem was featured on CNBC. EEC has been working with Enerkem for the past several years on technical due diligences and some modeling and performance evaluations. We are happy to see that Enerkem is getting some visibility and wish them continued success.
Please watch the video here.