The Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) has published two reports, which are the first to result from EREF’s Internal Research Program (IRP). The reports are “Using Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) as a Biofuel Feedstock” and “Anaerobic Digestion of MSW: Report on the State of Practice.”

The IRP was developed as part of EREF’s effort to expand its mission to advance knowledge and education for sustainable solid waste management. “The primary objective of the IRP is to aggregate and analyze solid waste data,” explained Dr. Bryan Staley, EREF President and CEO. “The program also provides valuable experience to undergraduate and graduate students who assist in data gathering and analysis.” Examples of projects being done by the IRP include collection and aggregation of general waste data (e.g. compiling generated waste tonnages), policy analysis (e.g. comparing recycling policies from state to state) and evaluating statistical trends and correlations (e.g. evaluating the relationship between population demographics, human behavior and recycling rates).

Using Municipal Solid Waste as a Biofuel Feedstock

Using a first-of-its-kind Life-Cycle Assessment model of biofuel production using MSW, this report includes an assessment of the environmental impacts associated with MSW conversion via landfill gas-to-energy, waste-to-energy, and gasification/Fischer-Tropsch and explores how current infrastructure could be used to support an MSW-to-biofuels industry. The project was done in partnership with North Carolina State University and Maverick Biofuels, with funding provided by the Biofuels Center of North Carolina.

This free report includes:

  • Detailed summaries of waste conversion processes
  • Comparison of environmental impacts of waste conversion systems
  • Case study of current waste management infrastructure
  • Estimates of biofuel production potential
  • Key observations regarding siting and feedstock for biofuel production

Anaerobic Digestion of MSW: Report on the State of Practice

This report summarizes the use of anaerobic digestion (AD) to manage MSW organics in the United States, and includes analysis of original data based on a comprehensive nationwide facility survey conducted by EREF.

The report includes detailed discussion of:

  • Digester microbiology and process characteristics
  • Current technologies and reactor designs
  • Number and types of AD facilities managing MSW
  • Tonnage, capacity, and growth through 2017
  • Biogas production, management, and energy generation
  • State, local and corporate organics management policies

Also included are lists of:

  • AD technology vendors in the U.S.
  • Over 60 commercial reactor designs with key attributes
  • Lists of facilities primarily managing MSW organics, as well as facilities that practice co-digestion
  • Policies relevant to the adoption of AD to manage MSW

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