Day: September 12, 2018

Looking Ahead at Solar Panel Recycling in Illinois seminar video now available

Presented by Nancy Holm, Assistant Director, and Jennifer Martin, Environmental Program Development Specialist, both from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Presentation slides are available here.

The new Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act which went into effect on June 1, 2017, now requires an updated Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in Illinois. This new RPS directs that solar energy use be expanded across the state, increasing Illinois’ solar capacity from about 75 MW to about 2,700 MW by 2030. With these new requirements for increased solar installations, there will be a critical need to examine the disposal and recycling or repurposing of used and broken solar panels to ensure protection of the environment and also to explore the economic benefits of recycling/repurposing solar panels in the state.

As the solar energy industry continues to grow in the state as well as nationally and globally, there is a looming waste management issue at the end-of-life of these panels. The average lifespan of a panel is 30 years. Given this, the International Renewable Energy Agency estimated that there will be a surge in solar panel disposal in the early 2030s, and by 2050, there will be 60 to 78 million cumulative tons of solar panel waste globally. Some countries, particularly in Europe, have established recycling networks. However, in the U.S. we are just beginning to develop a network of recyclers and, as yet, there is not a strong recycling infrastructure in place in Illinois. These used or broken solar panels should be properly recycled to prevent toxic compounds from leaching into the environment, as well as to avoid disposal of valuable and finite resources into landfills.

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center is working with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Solar Energy Industry Association, Illinois Solar Energy Association, and other entities to create awareness around these issues, as well as establish the necessary policy and standards required to build a network of solar panel recyclers in Illinois. Details on solar panel waste and recycling will be discussed in this presentation.


Recovery of cutting fluids and silicon carbide from slurry waste

Zih-Yao Shen, Chi-Yao Chen, Maw-TienLee (2018). “Recovery of cutting fluids and silicon carbide from slurry waste.” Journal of Hazardous Materials, 5 September 2018.

Abstract: The wafer slicing process generates large amounts of slurry waste. The recovery of cutting oil and abrasives from slurry waste can reduce both the cost and environmental damage. A process combining magnetic precipitation and flocculation was developed for the recovery of cutting oil. A magnetic precipitation tank was employed for storage of the slurry and acceleration of the settlement of suspended particles. The larger particles further aggregate upon adding a non-aqueous flocculant comprising polyacrylamide (PAM) and ethylene glycol (EG). The recycled oil product is obtained by centrifugation and bag filtration. The physical properties and wafer dicing tests indicate that the recycled oil is qualified. Wafer manufacturers can thus reduce costs by using this process to produce recycled oil. A magnetic reactor with alkaline aqueous successfully recycled the SiC powder from the slurry waste by converting all the silicon species into sodium silica for further use. The results demonstrate that the magnetic reactor is able to remove most metal species and that the alkaline aqueous medium can recover all the Si substances in a sodium silicate solution, also called water glass.

California to rely on 100% clean electricity by 2045 under bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

All of California’s electricity will come from clean power sources by 2045 under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday, the latest in a series of ambitious goals set by the state to combat the effects of climate change.

‘A vision for zero plastic packaging waste’: Danone, Nestlé and others set out industry challenge to rethink plastic

Read the full story at Beverage Daily.

Danone, Nestlé, Suntory and other bottled water and soft drinks companies have set out their vision for a future where no plastic packaging is sent to landfill or ends up as litter. How can this be achieved?

Perennial version of conventional crops offer benefits to the environment — but are they ready for prime time?

Read the full story at Ensia.

Crops that don’t need to be planted every year can reduce soil erosion and nutrient runoff, but currently have lower yields. These researchers and businesses are working to fix that.

This Moment Demands We Stay #ClimateWoke

Read the full post at Medium.

This month, people from around the world are gathering for the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, co-hosted by Gov. Jerry Brown, to debate the best ways to tackle climate change.

If history is a guide, these conversations will fall short in addressing one of the most important aspects of climate change: that it impacts most heavily the well-being and futures of people of color and low-income communities.

And in fact, if history is our guide, many of the “solutions” launched at GCAS will perpetuate and even deepen the inequities that burden communities of color in California and around the world.

We’re here to say: not anymore, not this time. Climate change is a racial justice issue.

To find hacks for greening your lab, start with the freezer

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Temperature adjustments are only one way to reduce a lab’s environmental footprint, but change takes a little outside-the-box thinking

EU and national funders launch plan for free and immediate open access to journals

Read the full story at Science|Business.

The European Commission and a group of national research funders have laid out a controversial and perhaps precedent-setting plan to make thousands of research papers free to read on the day of publication, in a move that could force a major change in the business model of science publishers.

The initiative, ‘Plan-S’, brings together eleven top national research funders, plus the European Research Council, in an effort to release some of the world’s highest quality and highest impact research from behind journal paywalls.

Under the initiative, funding agencies including UK Research and Innovation, Science Foundation Ireland and the Research Council of Norway will require grant holders to publish only in journals that offer immediate open access, and under a licence that enables anyone to freely reuse and distribute the material.

The European Commission and coalition of national research funders in Austria, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK will implement the new policy from 1 January 2020.

EPA Tools and Resources Webinar: Sustainable Materials Management

Wednesday 09/19/2018, 2-3 pm CDT
More information and to register

Sustainable materials management (SMM)— using and reusing materials more productively over their entire life cycles— presents new opportunities to reduce environmental impacts, conserve resources and reduce costs. This upcoming webinar will highlight a new resource to help states advance their own SMM efforts: EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Prioritization State Tool. The tool contains approximately 20 environmental, human health, and socio-economic indicators covering potential indirect and direct impacts of goods and services. Users can screen for those potential impacts, and distinguish between activities occurring within and outside of any particular state, allowing decision makers to differentiate between issues that reside within their jurisdictions and those outside their borders. A case study involving the state of Georgia will be presented to demonstrate the power of the tool. For additional information, visit EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management page.

Hurricane Risks Include Toxic Sludge and Lagoons of Pig Manure

Read the full story from Bloomberg.

Hurricane Florence’s potential for destruction also includes increased risks for the environment and public health as torrential rains could overwhelm the pits where toxic waste from power plants is stored. Animal-manure lagoons are also at risk of flooding.

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