January 20, 2007

L.A. County Task Force Supports Conversion Technology

This Report represents a culmination of 18 months of research conducted in conjunction with URS Corporation. It is the first step in the effort to develop a demonstration conversion technology facility in Southern California, in order to obtain real-world data on the impacts and benefits of these technologies. Conversion Technologies are an array of emerging technologies capable of managing residual solid waste and converting it into useful products, green fuels and electricity.

The purpose of the report is to help to increase awareness of the potential of conversion technologies as a viable alternative to traditional solid waste management.

Recommends development of “Demonstration Facility” to show trash can be converted into fuel

Alhambra, CA (November 2, 2005) – Southern California may be one step closer to being the first in the nation to use conversion technologies to turn into fuel the trash that remains after recycling. Conversion technologies are a wide array of state-of-the-art technologies capable of converting such trash into useful products, green fuels and renewable energy. The Los Angeles County Integrated Waste Management Task Force recently adopted the Conversion Technology Evaluation Report, representing a culmination of 18 months of research and analysis. The Report recommended developing a demonstration facility to provide useful, locally relevant data on the technical, environmental, and economic feasibility of these technologies.

Currently, about half of all waste generated in California is sent to disposal, resulting in 40 million tons of trash discarded each year. Conversion technologies can recover useful products from the residual trash, reduce greenhouse gases, increase recycling rates, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, all while complementing the existing recycling infrastructure, preventing trash from ending up in landfills, and meeting Southern California’s strict environmental regulations.

These benefits have led a number of municipalities throughout California and the California Integrated Waste Management Board to investigate these technologies and the feasibility of using them to handle the growing volumes of trash that remain after recyclables have been removed. The findings so far, including results from studies by the University of California and other independent research, indicate that conversion technologies have the potential to revolutionize solid waste management in the United States. At present, over 140 conversion technology facilities are successfully operating in Europe and Asia, but no commercial scale facility exists in the U.S.

The Report evaluated dozens of technology suppliers and identified the six most suitable technologies capable of developing a demonstration facility in partnership with a materials recovery facility (MRF). The partnership with a MRF is key, as this synergy will provide the facility with a readily available feedstock that has already been stripped of recyclables while realizing several environmental benefits from transportation reduction and other factors. The Report also identified six MRFs willing and capable of partnering with a technology supplier. Based on these findings, the Task Force has begun efforts to identify the best combination of technology supplier and MRF in order to develop the demonstration facility before the end of the decade.

A complete copy of the Evaluation Report is available online at www.lacountyiswmtf.org.

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