TERU Focus Report - Green California Summit 2011

Waste Conversion at the Green California Summit and Expo
April 27, 2011 --

The Green Technology initiative staged a successful Green California Summit and Expo in Sacramento, April 19-20, 2011, attracting literally thousands to prowl among green tech vendors in the Convention Center's main hall, and at least a few hundred for the focused pre-conference workshops on the 18th. Teru was there to suss out the waste conversion related tid-bits.


One target of our quest as we mentioned prior to the event: Manal Yamout, Special Advisor to Governor Brown on Renewable Energy Facilities. The very impressive Ms. Yamout didn't chat about SB X1 1 as I thought she might; instead, she explained how her team orchestrated the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan at the last Gov's request to expedite Big Solar installations in our state – what Ms. Yamout modestly explained as "simple high-level project management" – ensuring that as many as possible of the 250 odd projects en queue could make use of then in-coming ARRA funds. In the Q&A, a number of us asked that she now turn her attention to untangling Waste Conversion, a sure way to add green megawatts while turning heavy liabilities into strong assets.


On a bright note, Greenwise Sacramento was presented later Tuesday as a Case Study on how to do things right. Sacramento's Mayor Johnson wisely placed Valley Vision's Julia Burrows as the Greenwise project manager who provided us with an excellent recap of the program and its successes. The Greenwise Sacramento Action Plan was released in January. "Create a Biofuels Economy" is the report's 2020 Objective 7 within the Transformational Goal #1 of creating a self-sustaining regional economy. Ms. Burrows described the two key Strategies for the Biofuels Objective: 1) Pool a Portion of Local Agency Fuel Purchases to Aggregate a Demand for 10 million Gallons of Advanced Liquid Biofuels per Year, and 2) Establish a One Million Gallon Advanced Liquid Biofuels Production Plant in the Region.


Speaking of Case Studies: Wednesday afternoon's session on Sustainable Infrastructure provided a glimpse of San Francisco's Zero Waste programs to simultaneously lower greenhouse gas emissions while dramatically reducing the amount of municipal solid waste disposal to regional landfills. The City's 2009 Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance achieved 77% landfill diversion last year, the program's 2020 goal is a whopping 95% diversion.


Waste Conversion indeed made a showing among the vast array of Green Lighting and Energy Efficiency Insulation vendors. Ecologico-Logic came in from Carson City, Nevada, announcing that their "Muncher", a mobile and modular mechanical-biological treatment (MBT) system for reduction and rapid controlled aerobic conversion of organic food and animal wastes and other biomass into pathogen-free, nutrient-rich mulch and "compost tea". Busch Systems came in from Canada with their great selection of recycling bins, compost buckets, and trash containers; we had a lively discussion about the types of containers needed to implement a food waste collection infrastructure. Green 1's president Ray Drysdale brought all-green cleaning products suitable for the heavy duties of cleaning out those gooey food waste containers without generating toxic flush-water. A discussion with Dyson's national field sales manager opened the tech-transfer door for use of their advanced vacuum cleaner technologies in our Waste Conversion sector, perhaps for knocking the dust out of exhaust emissions at Behemoth scale. And Redwood City based biofuels-dispenser company Propel spoke of the potential to set their specialized pumps on-site for industrial, municipal, and institutional closed loop biofuel transport solutions.


The Building Standards Commission of the Department of General Service ran Cal Green Academy sessions at the Summit to explain the many mandatory measures of Title 24 addressing planning, design and building construction in the areas of site development; water efficiency and conservation; material conservation and resource efficiency including water resistance and moisture management; construction waste reduction; building maintenance and operation; pollutant control; indoor and outdoor air quality; and environmental comfort. An extended chat with Cal Green folks at their booth in the Exhibit Hall revealed the total lack of closed-loop on-site waste conversion to energy and fuels, as a logical holistic next step. We still have miles and miles to go before we sleep, Waste Conversion colleagues.


Tuesday evening, the Summit presented a coveted series of Green Sector awards. Our favorites: the County of Santa Cruz Zero Waste Program, in close pursuit of the City of San Francisco's achievements. Santa Cruz exceeded their own 70% solid waste diversion threshold last year, implementing sub-programs including food waste composting for local businesses, home-based composting, and a tight reign on waste plastics. And the City and County of San Francisco, not to be out done, received an award for Green Purchasing, whose Department of the Environment's Eco Products and Services program provides a list of 34 sub-categories of approved green products.


The Green Technology show developers should get a Green Award all their own: they established and implemented a suite of guidelines for "greening the summit", including serious concentration on green product selection, waste generation reduction and recycling. The Green California Summit and Expo proved by example that we can put on a very large and complicated event, and really minimize the overall environmental impact. Well done!


© Teru Talk by JDMT, Inc 2011. All rights reserved.

You are free to reprint and use this report as long as no changes are made to its content or references and credit is given to the author, Michael Theroux. http://www.terutalk.com


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