In the 1970s, Wheelabrator Technologies helped to launch a prosperous municipal solid waste-to-energy industry in the U.S. The industry wasn't immune to economic and societal hardships, however, and developers struggled to prosper; some didn't
survive. Today, the same factors that fueled the industry in its infancy are reenergizing it.
Covanta Energy operates more than 40 waste-to-energy facilities across the globe. These plants collectively convert 19 million tons-or more than 5 percent-of the nation's waste into renewable energy each year.
When Ramon Gonzalez discovered the secret to coaxing industrial E. coli strains to anaerobically ferment glycerin, commonly found in ethanol and biodiesel plant waste streams, he suspected it would be significant to the biofuels, ethanol and biochemicals industries. GlycosBio, the company founded around that discovery, is now on the verge of commercializing its biochemical production capabilities.
The buzz about biochar is getting louder. Many companies have recently unveiled biochar production systems, and advocates are campaigning to include the soil enhancer in global carbon emission reduction policies.
Finding the shortest distance between product and protection may take forms other than patents,
and may more closely align with a company's goals and the realities of the marketplace.
Canadian corn products refiner, Casco, recently upgraded its 4 million-gallon wastewater anaerobic digester to include a state-of-the-art floating and insulated geomembrane cover, designed and installed by Geomembrane Technologies, effectively streamlining biogas collection, improving odor control and optimizing bioreactor heat retention.