The 30-30 Rule: Lessons from the Field in Wood Power

By Charles Loos, P.E., Lee Enterprises Consulting From an operations standpoint, a wood-fired power plant can be described as a fuel handling system first, and a power plant second. The biggest challenges stem from the fuel itself – procurement, supply, handling, and combustion. By contrast, the steam turbine and power cycle seem relatively trouble-free. Fuel-related problems…

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Recycling Waste Plastics

Plastic recycling is the process of recovering waste plastics or scraps of plastic and reprocessing them into useful products. Most plastic is not biodegradable, meaning that left untreated, it will be here for millions of years.   As of 2018, about 380 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide each year. From the 1950s up to…

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Future of Plastic Recycling

What is the future of plastic recycling?  According to recent reports, the U.S. generates about 40 million tons of plastic waste yearly.  About 85% goes to landfills and about 10% is incinerated.  Only the remaining 5% is recycled.  A few years ago, recycling in the U.S. was almost double that amount.  Plastic recycling is declining…

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Tire and Rubber Recycling

Tire and rubber recycling, and disposing of tires generally, have historically been very challenging due to the worldwide volume, rubber’s robust durability, and the ecological implications of tires in landfills. In years past, billions of tires have filled landfills. The US alone sends between 246 million and 300 million end-of-life tires to waste annually. However,…

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Railroad Tie Pyrolysis

Railroad tie pyrolysis presents some interesting opportunities.  In the U.S. alone, over 20 million new wood railroad ties are installed every year. While wood is currently the best option for railroad ties (and utility poles) the ability to re-use or dispose of treated wood coming is clearly a critical consideration.  The regulatory, environmental, and financial…

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Renewable Technology Assessment

Renewable technologies are emerging worldwide as mainstream sources of energy, fuels, and chemicals.  Rapid growth has been driven by the improving cost-competitiveness of renewable technologies, dedicated policy initiatives, better access to financing, energy security, and environmental concerns.  As a result, more investors are entertaining options for engagements with renewable chemicals and renewable fuel manufacturing projects. …

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Analyzing Renewable Technologies

As new renewable technologies emerge and seek funding and industry acceptance, it is imperative that investors, lenders, and all project participants engage experienced professionals to help analyze the technical and economic aspects of these new technologies and projects.  Put very simply, technology analysis is the process of determining the new technology’s strengths, weaknesses, the opportunities…

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