Saturday, June 3, 2023

Local Power LLCs New Program: Decarbonize Landfill and Sewer Waste

Why has Local Power LLC expanded its definition of Community Choice Aggregation to include municipal post consumer and sewer waste management? Creating “white” hydrogen is one reason, but more than that, is to properly convert, detoxify and sequester landfills in the name of decarbonization. Waste is among the top four sources of climate change that can be addressed by local governments. It has been a missing piece in local decarbonization efforts. With CCA 3.0, our new 2020 program now being prepared for implementation in New York, w gas aggregation for electrification of heat and hot water, and EV/hydrogen fuel cell vehicle integration as DER batteries with bidirectional chargers have already been added to CCA’s traditional electrical “plug load.” Addressing waste through CCA hits two birds with one stone: solve the waste problem, while creating local hydrogen for microgrid backup hydrogen storage. It fits together, and adds resilience by complementing EV batteries to facilitate self consumption by Distributed Energy Resources  cooperatives at the DER facility level (building to block).

Local Power LLC Waste Project

Local Power entered the world of waste in 2019 with the development of a project to convert landfills and human sewage to hydrogen and industrial limestone while also destroying forever chemicals that largely constitute them. We did it first because municipal landfills are the fourth "addressable carbon" identified by the United Nations apart from carbon pollution caused by electricity, heating/hot water, and vehicles. But we had been following the problem of post consumer waste toxicity - particularly the strange persistence of Teflon pans and plumbing tape despite longstanding and widespread knowledge of Teflon health risks both in landfills filled with plastics, in drinking water and household pipes, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFOAS) alongside many older toxics like PCBs, all of which end up in humans, because we drink water. Doing something about America's 40,000 landfills, both existing, new and ongoing in a national waste trading and hauling system so that garbage can be burned a few hundred miles away instead of here.

The depravity of current waste management, blamable to the corruption of an EPA and FDA that have done nothing about PFOAS for sixty years, even puts shade on climate change, which it least may be excused based on the human need for energy. For PFOAS it was for nothing. We already had natural pipe thread materials, we already had iron pans  It was for nothing. So clearly these materials, and all plastics, need to be banned outright. However, the 40,000 landfills remain, full of toxics seeping into aquifers and soils. In the meantime, proliferation of diseases caused by PFOAS toxicity go through the roof among causes of death, many of them resulting from unregulated industrial pollution. The nonrecyclable plastics and PFOAS in landfill waste are matched by sewer waste, which contains PFOAS that are ubiquitously in toilet paper.  Many known toxic PFOAS are still being sold today as microwave food containers. Even with a PFOAS or plastic ban, the existing landfills release increasing levels and numbers of PFOA chemicals each year because they become more toxic with degradation, meaning like climate change - if nothing is done, the problem gets worse.

Local Power LLC has included landfill and sewer waste in its New York CCA Master Implementation Plan which it filed with the New York Public Service Commission in March, 2023.

In Massachusetts, we continue to develop a pilot project for a regional waste decarbonization by hydrogen and edible food composting with local towns.

Whereas in New York Local Power  LLC is acting as a CCA Administrator under New York law and regulations, in Massachusetts we are a developer of a hydrogen facility that will provide exclusively waste detoxification, conversion and sequestration. Thus the project solves municipal waste problems while also creating white hydrogen fuel for fuel cells in buildings and vehicles. We are also developing a project for California and other states.

Municipalities traditionally manage water, but many have privatized services, both of which made natural clients for Local Power LLC. Working waste decarbonization into our 2020 CCA 3.0 model was the first step, followed by persuading the City and Town of Ithaca, New York into their CCA local laws in 2022. We expect to build the first facility in Massachusetts independently, rather than through a CCA for the time being, but are developing the knowledge to procure something like that as a CCA Administrator in New York State, and for other CCAs around the country.

Background on “Forever Chemicals” PFOAs in our Waste Stream

Detoxifying waste must confront the PFOAs crisis, which the waste to hydrogen strategy can do. As we have asked ourselves with respect to the inefficacy of decarbonization, how many ti,mes do you have to see federal regulation fail while continuing to believe it works or ever will work? 

From The Devil they Knew: Chemical Documents Analysis of Industry Influence on PFOAS Science, /articles/10.5334/aogh.4013:

"Our review of industry documents shows that companies knew PFOAS was "highly toxic when inhaled and moderately toxic when ingested" by 1970, forty years before the public health community. Further, the industry used several strategies that have been shown common to tobacco, pharmaceutical and other industries to influence science and regulation – most notably, suppressing unfavorable research and distorting public discourse. We did not find evidence in this archive of funding favorable research or targeted dissemination of those results. …The lack of transparency in industry-driven research on industrial chemicals has significant legal, political and public health consequences. Industry strategies to suppress scientific research findings or early warnings about the hazards of industrial chemicals can be analyzed and exposed, in order to guide prevention."

Even with PFOAs now a known national issue, consumers continue to purchase PFOA products unawares, just as they do with phthalates in plastics that rob their children of sex organs and give them cancer. The many products containing PFOAS in landfill and sewage treatment combine and break down into the soil, everywhere, including contaminating the food supply due to PFOAS in fertilizers and composts.

A recent Guardian story, “KOS Nature-Powered Organic Plant Protein drinks and powders contain toxic ‘forever chemicals’, a recent filing with the California Department of Justice charges.”

"A filing, made by the Environmental Research Center (ERC), a San Diego-based consumer protection nonprofit, states that its testing found PFOA, a dangerous PFOAS compound, in five KOS products. The filing states the non-profit found PFOA in KOS Nature-Powered Organic Plant Protein chocolate and vanilla flavors in two package sizes, as well as one package size of chocolate chip mint flavor. The document did not provide the level at which PFOA was detected, but the Environmental Protection Agency found this year that virtually no level of exposure to the compound in drinking water is safe. KOS powders and drinks are sold at Walmart, Whole Foods, CVS, Walgreens, Target and other national retailers. The groups are now intervening in the lawsuit and regulatory proceedings between the EPA and Inhance Technologies, which they estimate produces about 200m PFOAS-contaminated plastic containers annually. A review of regulatory documents, court filings and patent applications shows Inhance appears to have repeatedly lied to regulators and customers about whether its containers shed PFOAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) into products stored in them. Still, the EPA and the Department of Justice have not pointed out the company's inconsistencies in court, and the groups have questioned whether industry influence at the EPA is playing a role in the agency's decision-making. Last week, the groups formally asked the EPA to order Inhance to stop distributing the containers, and will soon file a motion asking a judge to do the same while highlighting the company's inconsistent statements. ‘It's a serious and ongoing threat to public health,’ said Bob Sussman, an attorney representing the consumer groups. ‘It involves not only the demonstrated hazards of the PFOAS that are in the containers, but the huge number of containers and their economy-wide uses.’  


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