Research developments

Departments - Research Developments

The latest technological advances in waste conversion.

December 5, 2016

FWD:Energy receives research subsidy from Department of Energy

FWD:Energy Inc., Zanesville, Ohio, has been awarded a research subsidy of $250,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for use at federal laboratories to advance its technology to turn scrap tires into a key ingredient for lithium-ion batteries called Green Battery Carbon.

The awarded funds are provided through the DOE’s Small Business Vouchers Pilot (SBV), a recently introduced initiative of the department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy that helps small U.S. companies bring their innovations to market by pairing them with participating DOE national labs.

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FWD:Energy has already developed a system to turn large volumes of North America’s 300 million annual scrap tires into valuable commodity products. The company’s industrial microwave process, called VersaWave, breaks down the scrap tires into synthetic gas, crude oil and reclaimed carbon black, branded FWD:black, for use in rubber products to reduce wear and as the blackening agent in inks and dyes.

FWD:Energy will use its $250,000 Small Business Voucher award for work with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory to optimize the characteristics of its Green Battery Carbon.

Targeted uses for Green Battery Carbon include the anodes of lithium-ion batteries that power mobile devices, power tools and, increasingly, electric cars. In larger formats, the material may be used in energy applications at solar and wind-generation sites.

FWD:Energy’s first commercial plant is slated to open in southeast Ohio. FWD Energy partnered with TechGROWTH Ohio early on to fund research and development, patent filings and facility siting initiatives.

New facility practices could enhance bottom ash recovery

The benefit of two new and innovative practices in managing ash from waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities has been documented in a recent report issued by the Solid Waste Association of North America’s (SWANA) Applied Research Foundation (ARF).

These two new practices include enhanced recovery of a greater range of metals smaller than 0.47 inches from WTE bottom ash and the permitted reuse of bottom ash in road construction.

The ARF report studied the implementation of one approach by the Lancaster County (Pennsylvania) Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA). The authority signed a 10-year contract with Inashco North America Inc., Annapolis, Maryland, to use an Advanced Dry Recovery system to supplement existing in-line metal recovery systems. The system is expected to increase LCSWMA’s metals recovery from ash by 46 percent, including greater recovery of ferrous, nonferrous and precious metals.

Pasco County, Florida, changed its ash management approach to mix only enough bottom ash with fly ash to render the mixture non-hazardous. This new approach frees up 83 percent of the bottom ash to be reused as construction aggregates. The Pasco County Solid Waste Recovery Facility received the first permit issued by a state government authorizing the use of WTE bottom ash as an aggregate in road construction.

Clarkson University professor selected as scholar-in-resident on Montreal research project

Stefan J. Grimberg, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York, has been selected as a scholar-in-residence at McGill University’s Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED), Montreal, where he will collaborate with faculty in bioresource engineering, civil engineering and electrical and computer engineering, as well as faculty of the School of Urban Planning, on a project to divert organic waste from landfills.


Grimberg commuted Montreal during the fall semester and using his sabbatical to work full time during the spring semester.

“My research focus area is biological processes. I’m interested in wastewater treatment processes and the generation of renewable energy through the anaerobic digestion of waste,” he says. “For ten years, we’ve studied high-strength, or concentrated wastes, such as manure to generate biogas.”

Grimberg and his colleagues in Canada will determine the best process to manage the organic waste and recover its energy. Their research will encompass the environmental, economic and policy implications of diverting organic waste from landfills to wastewater treatment plants.

Grimberg’s research group at Clarkson has been operating a food digester system on campus for four years that treats most of the University’s preconsumer food waste.