Washington, U.S.A. — The American Chemistry Council (ACC) hosted on June 28th a forum, “Unlocking the Vast Potential of Energy Recovery,” on Capitol Hill. Cal Dooley, ACC president and CEO, was joined by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Congressman Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and a panel of business leaders and experts.
At June 28th event, experts discussed expanded use of energy recovery as an abundant and alternative energy source, policymakers outlined legislative strategies for boosting private sector investments, and industry leaders highlighted the latest emerging trends and technologies for recovering energy from waste.
The energy potential of municipal solid waste is significant and critical to America’s long-term energy future. Recent research from Columbia University’s Earth Engineering Center determined that if all the municipal solid waste produced in the United States were diverted from landfills to waste-to-energy facilities, it could produce 162 MWh of electricity, enough to power 16.2 million households every year.
“Energy recovery should be a key component of our nation’s comprehensive energy strategy,” said Cal Dooley. “We cannot afford to continue to bury this important part of America’s energy future in landfills. Recent innovations and breakthroughs in a range of energy recovery technologies are making that future possible. Non-recycled plastics and other discarded materials can be used to produce electricity, synthetic gas, and solid and liquid fuels to help power America’s homes and businesses.”
Senator Wyden and Congressman Cassidy led a keynote congressional panel that focused on strategies to encourage federal and state policymakers to enact remedies to bolster energy recovery.
“Government has an important role to play in helping to unlock the vast energy potential of municipal solid waste,” Dooley continued. “Senator Wyden and Congressman Cassidy are leaders in recognizing the potential of these technologies, which could bring real environmental and economic benefits to communities, and with wide scale adoption, would boost our nation’s energy security.”
A panel discussion followed the keynote congressional panel and included waste management expert Harvey Gershman, president & co-founder, Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc.; Barry Caldwell of Waste Management, Inc.; Marco Castaldi, Ph.D., of Columbia University; Michael E. Webber, Ph.D., of theUniversity of Texas at Austin; and Brent Bostwick of Agilyx, an Oregon-based firm that is commercializing technology that turns non-recycled plastics into crude oil.
The policy forum, which focused on innovative technologies that convert waste into energy, fuels and feedstocks, is the most recent event in ACC’s “From Chemistry to Energy” campaign. ACC advocates for a comprehensive national energy strategy that maximizes all domestic energy resources, with a focus on robust and responsible production of domestic shale gas; improved residential, commercial and industrial energy efficiency; and expanded adoption of energy recovery programs. Each will help meet national energy security, economic and environmental goals while also creating value for communities.
Image Courtesy of American Chemistry Council