The Solid Waste Authority (SWA) of Palm Beach County (Florida) and its partners achieved a major feat in 2015 when, after 10 years of planning, the new Palm Beach Renewable Energy Facility 2 (PBREF 2) was commissioned. To mark this significant development for the waste-to-energy (WTE) industry, the 24th North American Waste-to-Energy Conference (NAWTEC) has located its conference at the nearby PGA National Resort & Spa, May 22-25.

The Energy Recovery Council (ERC), Arlington, Virginia, and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Maryland, cosponsor the event. ERC President Ted Michaels says, “West Palm Beach made perfect sense to serve as the location for NAWTEC 24 because it opened the first new waste to energy plant in the United States last year.”

The new facility is reportedly the first mass-burn WTE facility to be constructed in the U.S. in more than 15 years. Michaels says, “The beautiful new facility will certainly be a topic of great discussion during the conference and will offer facility tours as part of the conference.”

ON THE AGENDA

The event provides two opportunities to tour the PBREF 2 facility, either before the educational program begins Monday, May 23, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., or after the program concludes, May 25, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The tour is just one of several opportunities to learn from experts in the industry. NAWTEC also offers two tracks of educational sessions taking place over two days. “This year’s event will provide diversity in content through two concurrent tracks,” says Michaels. All of the sessions are crafted to present a complete picture of today’s market for energy recovery.

NAWTEC attendees will have two opportunities to visit the Palm Beach Renewable Energy Facility 2, pictured above, in West Palm Beach Florida.

“The first track will focus on topics such as project development, business leaders’ management and policy,” Michaels. “The second track brings together those interested in waste to energy, waste conversion technologies, anaerobic digestion and material recovery and reuse.”

The educational sessions begin at 1:30 p.m. Monday, May 23. The opening session brings together the top officials in WTE for the “CEO Roundtable.”

“For the first time in recent memory, we will bring together the CEO’s of Covanta, Wheelabrator and Babcock & Wilcox, as well as the Lancaster County (Pennsylvania) Solid Waste Management Authority. These respected private and public leaders in the energy recovery space will share insights on the state of today’s waste-to-energy market, what it will take to manage today’s facilities for maximum success, as well as the factors influencing growth in the marketplace,” Michaels, who will serve as moderator for the session, says.

Panelists for the “CEO Roundtable” include: Bob Boucher, president and CEO, Wheelabrator Technologies Inc.; Jim Ferland, chairman and CEO, Babcock & Wilcox; Steven Jones, president and CEO, Covanta; and Jim Warner, CEO, Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority. A keynote address and a WTE Lightning Round which allows speakers two minutes to present a topic also take place on Monday.

Sessions on Tuesday, May 24 include A track sessions: “Economic Development through Waste Management in a Circular Economy;” “Update on Waste Conversion Technologies;” “Lightning Round;” and “How are Local Governments Navigating the Challenges and Opportunities in Today’s WTE Market?”

B track sessions that day include: “Optimizing WTE Operations;” “Managing Mature Facilities for Long-term Success;” “Track 2 Lightning Round;” “Examining Operational Issues at Waste Conversion Facilities;” “Innovations in Advanced Emissions Control;” and “Policies that Will Support and Develop WTE Markets.” The combined “Washington, D.C. Legislative Update” session will round out the day.

The A track session on March 24 include the topics Harvesting Growth from Existing WTE Assets; and How to Plan for an Evolution in Organics Management; while the B track sessions cover Utilizing Technology to Enhance Operational Performance; and Examining the Latest Research and Development.

Michaels says he is particularly excited about the circular economy panel that continues to build on NAWTEC’s theme in 2015.

“We will be bringing in experts on how the circular economy is being implemented in Europe, as well as on the ground experience by local governments to ensure maximum recovery of materials and energy from materials that would otherwise be considered waste and buried,” Michaels says.

Energy recovery is a market that is heavily influenced by government policy. For that reason, NAWTEC’s Washington D.C. Legislative Session is timely. “Understanding the policy opportunities presented in EPA’s Clean Power Plan will be particularly informative given how new and complicated this program is,” Michaels says.

TIME FOR NETWORKING

NAWTEC is expected to attract more than 400 attendees. The exhibit hall features dozens of exhibitors who will be showcasing latest technologies and services available to the industry. Michaels says, “Many of NAWTEC’s meals and breaks occur in the exhibit hall, which creates a buzz among all attendees.”

Michaels emphasizes that networking with old colleagues, customers and prospective business partners is such an important component of any good conference and NAWTEC has no lack of those types of opportunities.

“NAWTEC has always become the place where the waste to energy sector, both private and public sector, gather to network with key players and hear about the latest trends in the industry,” says Michaels. “Anyone interested in recovering energy and materials from waste will find value at NAWTEC as it brings together those interested in waste to energy, waste conversion technologies, anaerobic digestion, and material recovery and reuse.”

More about NAWTEC is available online at https://swana.org/Events/ NAWTEC.aspx.

The author is editor of Renewable Energy from Waste and can be reached at ksmith@gie.net.

Visit https://swana.org/Events/NAWTEC/ConferenceProgram.aspx for the full agenda.