December 10, 2005

CA AB 1090 - 11/16/05 - Results of URS Conversion Technology Research

The Los Angeles City Council contracted URS Corporation to conduct a study to identify technologies that would help it reach its landfill diversion goals through conversion technologies. URS Corporation Vice President Daniel F. Predpall reports that mature technologies already in operation from Europe and Japan already meet all California permit requirements and that AB 1090 should be enacted to enable these conversion technologies to become employable options for solid waste management.


Daniel F. Predpall, Vice President - Power Business Line
URS Corporation

URS has recently released several comprehensive technical reports on technologies that can convert MSW to energy. In these studies we evaluated over fifteen different thermal and biological processing technologies and roughly 200 suppliers of these technologies. Members of our staff who have designed and operated these facilities and hold patents for them conducted these evaluations. I would classify these staff as experts in this area. As a result of these studies we have identified a number of technologies that were specifically designed to process MSW in relatively large quantities.

Examples of these technologies exist today and are successfully operating in Europe and Japan. I am totally confident that, based upon the studies that we have conducted during the past four years, conversion technologies such as those that are specifically designed to process MSW, will meet all permit requirements in California.

Furthermore, we expect that the emissions for these technologies will be well below existing regulatory limits and health risks will be acceptable. Conversion technologies will enhance recycling of MSW, because these technologies use the more homogeneous post-recycled residues as a feedstock. It is important to realize that no solid waste disposal or processing method is risk free.

For example, landfilling of MSW results in air pollution and in some cases contamination of our water. All life cycle impacts of solid waste management options must be evaluated before rendering judgment about acceptability of the particular alternative. When we do this we will adopt technologies that will provide environmentally sustainable solutions that will maximize benefits to our communities and minimize environmental burdens. In summary, the conversion of MSW into energy can offer a potential solution to two needs in California, generating desperately needed renewable energy using MSW, which. by the way, represents a virtually unlimited supply of a low-cost feedstock, and slowing the practice of burying our garbage, which then contaminates our water and air.

The legislature should include conversion as another solid waste management option and thereby demonstrate the performance of these systems, and keep California in the forefront of energy and solid waste management in this country.


CONTEXT: On November 16, 2005 the California Assembly Natural Resources Committee, Chaired by Hon. Loni Hancock, held a hearing in the Los Angeles City Council Chambers. A distinguished panel of speakers presented a series of arguments advocating the passage of AB 1090 - which would correct language in its predecessor (CA Bill AB 939 in 1989) and provide additional "diversion credits" for waste that is diverted from landfill. This hearing was full of facts from credible sources that are germaine to any debate on the subject of conversion technology - the need, the opportunity, the comparative emissions data, and the overall environmental benefits.

1 comment:

Bill Quapp said...

I have just joined your list (I think). If you attended the Biomass Meeting in Fresno this week, I would like to call you on Monday and discuss. Please sent email to me at with your phone number and I will call you.

Also, what list serve service are you using? I need one of a local Trout Unlimited Club. THanks.