American Chemistry MattersA Blog of the American Chemistry Council

American Chemistry Matters

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Energy recovery builds momentum heading into 2013

2012 was a big year for energy recovery, and 2013 could be even bigger.

There are more than 80 waste-to-energy facilities across the country, and industry leaders see vast potential for innovations that allow us to recover more energy from waste.

A range of energy recovery technologies, from modern waste-to-energy facilities to innovations that convert non-recycled plastics into oil or solid fuels – is quickly gaining recognition by creating value from materials that would otherwise go to landfill. And as an added benefit, multiple studies have shown that communities with energy recovery technologies typically deliver higher recycling rates than communities without it.

This year, ACC released a study in conjunction with Professor Michael Webber of the University of Texas at Austin, demonstrating that engineered fuel from municipal solid waste could power a cement kiln, opening the door for another wave of energy recovery technology and applications.

We also hosted a forum in Columbus, Ohio, where we heard about how companies like VEXOR Technology, Vadxx Energy and RES Polyflow in Ohio are harnessing energy recovery technologies to provide abundant, locally-sourced energy that will help power homes, businesses and transportation in the Buckeye State.

Congressional leaders like Senator Wyden of Oregon and Congressman Cassidy of Louisiana spoke out at a policy forum on Capitol Hill, making the case for energy recovery before an audience of congressional colleagues, regulators, and others.

So what’s next? Some believe that with the beginning of a new year comes real hope for the emergence of more robust opportunities for recovering energy from waste.

We believe the recent burst of activity in America’s budding energy recovery sector will continue with a small but growing handful of companies developing new technologies for converting municipal garbage into electricity, heat and/or fuels.

New investments in energy recovery are announced regularly, and legislators and municipal leaders are taking notice of the tremendous potential of these technologies. Though it’s tough to predict exactly what sorts of innovations will be introduced next year, we’re very optimistic about the future of energy recovery in the United States!

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