Day: May 23, 2014

Combined-Cycle Plant to Slash Emissions 98%

Read the full story at Environmental Leader.

A planned 650MW combined-cycle gas turbine power station in Indiana will reduce the rate of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions by more than 98 percent and water use by 97 percent.

The CCGT project, which will begin construction in the third quarter of 2014, will replace a coal-fired plant and clean up the largest source of industrial pollution in Marion County, Indiana. The new plant is expected to come online in 2017.

Great Lakes states examine alternatives to coal-fired power plants

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Even as environmental groups push for alternative energy sources across the Great Lakes Basin and as some lawmakers encourage efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions, most energy powering homes still comes from coal-fired generators. In fact, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio were all in the top five coal destinations in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Webinar: Endangered Elements: Critical Materials in the Supply Chain

Date: Thursday, June 19, 2014 @ 2-3 pm ET
Fee: Free to Attend
Download Slides: Available the day of broadcast
Register at http://acswebinars.org/endangered-elements

The periodic table of elements is under siege. Modern materials use an ever-increasing number of elements, and some supplies are running short. This is presenting a number of supply chain risks: demand shocks due to new uses, supply uncertainties because of geographically concentrated production and geo-political risks, and reliance on co-production. Tune in to this special broadcast LIVE from the ACS Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference to discover how chemists are working to tackle these problems and  showcase how innovators are creating chemistries that can be resilient and conflict-free.

What You Will Learn

  • Why is “running out” of mineral resources less of a problem than the costs and environmental consequences of mineral production?
  • current state of critical element dependency in the chemical industry; how we depend on metals in ways we don’t necessarily think of
  • where critical elements end up after they are used or spent, focusing on recovery and recycling throughout the global supply chain
  • And much more…

About the Speakers

  • Paul Chirik is the Edward S. Sanford Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, having joined the department in 2011. Previously he was the Peter J. Debye Professor of Chemistry at Cornell. Chirik earned his B. S. in Chemistry at Virginia Tech and Ph. D. at Caltech. His research group is interested in developing sustainable methods for chemical synthesis.
  • Roderick G. Eggert is Professor of Economics and Business at the Colorado School of Mines, where he has taught since 1986.  He also is Deputy Director of the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), an Energy Innovation Hub created in 2013 by the U.S. Department of Energy to accelerate innovation in energy materials. He has lectured extensively on the economics of rare earths and other critical elements and has testified on this topic before committees of the European Parliament, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate.
  • Dr. Avtar Matharu is Deputy Director of the Green Chemistry Centre and Scientific Leader for Renewable Materials Technology Platform. His background is synthetic organic chemistry relevant to design, synthesis and characterisation of functional materials such as liquid crystals and ultra-high capacity optical data storage media. His research now focuses on technological innovations in green and sustainability chemistry.

Commission advises linking environmental and human health data

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

A recent International Joint Commission (IJC) report recommends monitoring chemicals and toxic substances in the fluid and tissues of young children and pregnant women.

The recommendation came from a study that revealed nine themes about the Great Lakes that integrate environmental and human health data. The report made eight recommendations including that the Canadian and U.S. governments and public health practitioners plan to manage human health and environmental exposure for the Great Lakes Basin.

For other reports from the Health Professionals Advisory Board, visit http://ijc.org/en_/hpab/Recent_Reports.

Ohio EPA Recognizes Six Companies with Environmental Excellence Awards

On May 14, 2014, Ohio EPA announced it awarded six companies with the 2014 Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Silver Awards. The E3 program recognizes organizations committed to environmental excellence and provides different recognition levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Silver Award recipients have demonstrated a commitment to go beyond compliance, integrated outstanding environmental management into their core business functions and developed aggressive performance goals, including a process to communicate the company’s environmental progress to the local community.

The six companies that have been recognized as this year’s silver recipients are: Washing Systems, Loveland; Kent Elastomer, Kent; Saint-Gobain, Akron; Kent Elastomer, Winesburg; MillerCoors, Trenton; and Sherwin Williams, Breen Technology Center, Cleveland. Click here for more details.

If you would like to learn more about the E3 Awards, OCAPP is offering a Webinar- Encouraging Environmental Excellence:  How to Gain Recognition for Your Organization’s Environmental Stewardship Efforts-Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. EST. This webinar will discuss Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) program and the three levels of recognition available. The content will focus on how businesses and other organizations can apply for bronze, silver and gold level recognition and the type of information Ohio EPA needs to complete the review process.  The requirements and deadlines for each level will be described along with a discussion of how OCAPP can help organizations complete successful applications.  Examples of organizations who have received recognition under the Encouraging Environmental Excellence program will be reviewed to demonstrate the types of activities Ohio EPA recognizes in this program, and the components of a successful application for the bronze, silver and gold levels.   Click here to register. There are still seats available in this webinar. The archived webinar will be available on the Ohio EPA web site.

Toxic Chemicals in World Cup Soccer Gear, Greenpeace Says

Read the full story at Environmental Leader.

Soccer merchandise produced by adidas, Nike and Puma ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has been found to contain hazardous chemicals, according to an investigation by Greenpeace Germany.

Independent laboratories tested 33 items including shoes, goalkeeper gloves and the official “Brazuca” ball for a range of substances and found hazardous chemicals like perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), nonylphenolethoxylates (NPEs), phthalates and dimethylformamide (DMF) in products from all three companies and purchased across three continents.

Recyclebank Helps City Increase Recycling 323%

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Recyclebank has helped the city of Rochester Hills, Mich., increase pounds of materials recycled by 323 percent since 2008.

Recyclebank, in partnership with Republic Services, and Rochester Hills work together to reward residents for taking more sustainable actions, like recycling, with discounts and deals at local and national businesses. Also in 2008, Rochester Hills expanded its household recycling program and implemented single stream collection.

Management, Measurement & Metrics

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

I’m sorry to trot out the old chestnut about “what gets measured is what gets managed,” but this last week has been a trying game of numbers for me. As I head toward the weekend, I am once again forced to question the utility of so much of what we spend our time measuring.

From where we are standing today, the key questions are:

  • How do we make economic progress without destroying the natural, life-sustaining resource base necessary for that progress?
  • How do we achieve progress for all rather than progress for just a few?
  • How do we address the real issues of our time: poverty alleviation, infectious disease, famine and civil strife?

Building and Characterizing Regional and Global Emission Inventories of Toxic Pollutants

Stefano Cucurachi, Serenella Sala, Alexis Laurent, and Reinout Heijungs. “Building and Characterizing Regional and Global Emission Inventories of Toxic Pollutants.” Environmental Science & Technology 48(10), 5674-5682. DOI: 10.1021/es405798x.

Abstract: To define consistent strategies for managing the environmental sustainability of chemicals, it is important to quantify the magnitude of their emissions and their associated impacts. Not all countries monitor and report emissions related to their activities. This is particularly the case for chemical emissions, whose toxic impacts on human health and ecosystems cannot be readily determined because of gaps in the available data. Emission data that can be retrieved from publicly available databases are typically restricted to a limited number of toxic substances, for a few countries, or for aggregated regions. Extrapolation strategies are thus needed to fill in those data gaps and to move from the consideration of single countries or regions to the world scale. Little is known about how effective these strategies are in extrapolating emissions. With the use of emission data available in public databases in the world, the current work explores different opportunities to compile representative inventories of toxic emissions. In this study, we build global and European emission inventories using three extrapolation proxies, namely the gross domestic product, the emissions of carbon dioxide, and the emissions of mercury. The three proxies are compared and their efficacies are tested statistically to identify the best performer for specific classes of substances. The potential impacts associated with the emissions in the European and global inventory are further tested by using an impact system adopted for the comparative assessment of chemicals in the field of life cycle assessment.

A new way to harness waste heat

Read the full story from MIT.

Vast amounts of excess heat are generated by industrial processes and by electric power plants; researchers around the world have spent decades seeking ways to harness some of this wasted energy. Most such efforts have focused on thermoelectric devices, solid-state materials that can produce electricity from a temperature gradient, but the efficiency of such devices is limited by the availability of materials.

Now researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford Univ. have found a new alternative for low-temperature waste-heat conversion into electricity—that is, in cases where temperature differences are less than 100 C.

The new approach, based on a phenomenon called the thermogalvanic effect, is described in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications by postdoc Yuan Yang and professor Gang Chen at MIT, postdoc Seok Woo Lee and professor Yi Cui at Stanford, and three others.