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Question

Evidently the only solid fuel projects EPA are allowing are Waste to Energy and Biomass. Do you see any growth in these markets?

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Answers

March 6, 2017

Ran a Twitter poll and 80% said yes and 20% said no. 

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March 8, 2017

From what we see in our pole disposal business WTE will remain very viable, particularly in urban regions of the country where landfill capacity is limited (e.g. NE, Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest).  Concerns, legitimate or not, still exist at the public level regarding emissions from these facilities and may or have precluded some states from allowing WTE to exist

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March 15, 2017

WTE and biomass are probably, as you say, the only two solid fuels with a future in newly developed applications. We still live in a world in which about 30% of the power is generated by burning coal, and that is not going to dramatically change in the short- to medium-term future.

However, as I say, newly developed applications will shun away from coal, not just (or necessarily) because of EPA (and other global environmental agencies) regulations, but because the market is killing coal. Natural gas under $5/MMBTUc combined with a significantly lower CAPEX for a gas plant is the main culprit.

In WTE (more than grown-for-fuel biomass), the future lies in the synergies: WTE solves two problems at a time: you get rid of your garbage AND you generate power using a really inexpensive fuel. Not all the WTE applications, however, imply the direct burning of the MSW (or other waste materials): gasification (through pyrolisis or other more modern methods) allows you to use the refuse and generate not only power, but a "storeable" energy, as a liquid fuel derived from the refuse. Combine this with modern carbon-capture and transformation technologies and you have an opportunity to generate at a really low cost, in almost-zero emissions plants.

 

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