Plant waste to power planes

Plant waste from agriculture and timber harvesting could be converted into high-density aviation fuel according to the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics in China.

The research, published in scientific journal Joule, comes at a time when international bodies and governments begin to invest more resources into the issue of organic waste streams, and provides an interesting case study for the future of the industry.

Scientists at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics have converted cellulose, a polymer formed on plant cell walls, into a high density fuel that can be used as a wholesale replacement or an additive to improve the efficiency of other jet fuels.

While chain alkanes derived from cellulose such as branched octane, dodecane, and hexadecane have previously used for jet-fuel, researchers believe this is the first study to produce more complex polycycloalkane compounds that can be used as high-density aviation fuel.

Author of the study research scientist Ning Li said the new biofuel could be instrumental in helping aviation “go green.”

“Our biofuel is important for mitigating CO2 emissions because it is derived from biomass and has higher density (or volumetric heat values) compared with conventional aviation fuels.

“As we know, the utilisation of high-density aviation fuel can significantly increase the range and payload of aircraft without changing the volume of oil in the tank,” Li said.

Li and his team said the process’ cheap, abundant cellulose feedstock, fewer production steps, and lower energy cost and consumption mean it will soon be ready for commercial use applications.

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ACCC to reauthorise levy raise for container recycling scheme

The ACCC has proposed to allow product stewardship organisation AgStewardship to increase its levy on the sale of agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemicals by participating manufacturers.

Funds raised from the levy are used in the drumMUSTER and ChemClear programs to collect and recycle agvet chemical containers and safely dispose of agvet chemicals.

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AgStewardship intends to increase the levy from four cents per litre of kilogram to six cents, to keep pace with increased expenses and to fund improvements to its programs.

This is the first increase in the levy since it began in 1998 and the ACCC is proposing to reauthorise the collection of the levy at the higher level for a further five years.

Over the lifespan of the programs, drumMUSTER has diverted more than 32 million containers from landfill and ChemClear has resulted in more than 661,000 litres of agvet chemicals being collected for safe disposal and recycling.

ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said the programs mean collection and recycling services are provided at no further cost to purchasers of agriculture and veterinary chemicals included in the scheme.

“As a result, many more containers and chemicals are returned and safely disposed of, which reduces the negative environmental, health and safety consequences of improper disposal, leading to better outcomes for farms and the environment,” Mr Featherston said.

Currently 116 manufacturers of agvet chemicals participate in the scheme, which AgStewardship estimates covers more than 90 per cent of Australian agvet chemical manufacturers.

“This is an impressive level of coverage, but if more manufacturers can be encouraged to participate in the scheme, then it should achieve even greater environmental and other public benefits,” Mr Featherston said.

SUEZ NWS JV to build $74M hazardous waste treatment – China

SUEZ NWS and Chinese chemical company Shanghai Huayi have entered into a joint venture to provide hazardous waste treatment and recovery solutions to Qinzhou, part of the Guangxi province in China.

The agreement allows a joint venture between SUES NSW (51 per cent) and Huayi Group (49 per cent) to construction, finance and operate an energy recovery unit for the hazardous waste produced by the Qinzhou Harbour Economic and Technical Development Zone of Guangxi Province for the next 50 years.

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Around $74.5 million (€46 million) has been invested into the facility, which will have an annual treatment capacity of around 27,000 tonnes.

Construction of the unit will begin in 2018 and be operational by 2021.

The facility aims to provide a safe and environmentally friendly method of disposing of hazardous waste, with a unit designed and built according to European standards for air emissions. It is estimated to recover around 78,000 tonnes of steam and reduce the amount of greenhouses gasses by the equivalent of more than 10,000 tonnes of coal per year.

Shanghai Huayi Head of Environmental Protection department Wang Wen Xi said the company was delighted to partner with SUEZ Group on sustainable industrialisation.

“We have every confidence that by combining our strengths, we will achieve excellence in the Qinzhou project, for the benefit of China’s environmental sector. We plan to work with industrialists in more locations to achieve China’s noble environmental ambitions,” Mr Wen Xi said.

SUEZ CEO Jean-Louis Chaussade said the agreement is an important testament to the shared commitment of promoting a circular economy and green growth between China and France.

“We provide our expertise to several industrial parks with a view to reducing their environmental footprint and we aim to pursue our development on the basis of a partnership model. The project developed by SUEZ and Shanghai Huayi in Qinzhou is a perfect example of Sino-French cooperation,” Mr Chaussade said.