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The Renewable Energy from Waste (REW) Conference, Oct. 2-4, 2017, at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Myers, Florida, gives unparalleled access to the waste conversion industry.

Now in its fifth year, the REW Conference is designed to expand professionals’ knowledge of waste conversion technologies and provide insights into what makes successful projects. Eight sessions allow attendees to gain new perspectives about market trends, obstacles to growth and project development.

The program has been crafted by the staffs of the Recycling Today Media Group, Valley View, Ohio, and solid waste industry consulting firm Gershman Brickner and Bratton Inc. (GBB), McLean, Virginia, with input from Columbia University’s Earth Engineering Center, New York City. Speakers who have extensive experience in various aspects of waste conversion have been selected to educate attendees on the approaches, practices and technologies that show great promise or that have proven success. The program includes:

  • Waste Conversion Industry Update;
  • Lessons from Abroad;
  • Developing Domestic Refuse-derived Fuel Processing Systems and Creating Demand;
  • Closing the Loop with RNG (renewable natural gas);
  • The Lee County (Florida) Success Story;
  • Expanding Integrated Waste Management Systems Toward a Circular Economy;
  • Tech Talks; and
  • Corporate Success with Waste Conversion.

“The conference sessions are a rare chance for a deep dive into this type of subject matter,” said Norma McDonald, North American sales manager, Organic Waste Systems (OWS) Inc., Cincinnati, during the 2016 conference. “In so many other venues, it gets rather superficial treatment, and you sort of plow over 101 all the time. I think, here, you have attendees who are extremely knowledgeable, so the questions that you get and the quality of information in the presentations is much higher,” she adds. “People know that they have to present information that accurately reflects the challenges that this industry faces.”


The three-day REW Conference kicks off Monday, Oct. 2, with a preconference workshop titled Waste Conversion from Planning to Execution from 1 to 4 p.m. (See the sidebar, “Added value,” below, for more details.) An evening meet and greet from 5 to 6:30 p.m., gives attendees a chance to network with industry leaders.

The main conference program commences Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 8:30 a.m. with the Waste Conversion Industry Update, in which Harvey Gershman, president of GBB, provides an overview of today’s waste conversion market followed by presentations from companies and municipalities that are implementing waste conversion projects.

This session is followed by Lessons from Abroad from 10:30 a.m. to noon, which covers how European waste processes, which effectively produce solid recovered fuel and organics for anaerobic digestion, can be applied in North America. It is followed by a related discussion, Developing Domestic Refuse-Derived Fuel Processing Systems and Creating Demand, describing how processing technologies are advancing and how these innovative technologies can be used to boost domestic waste-to-energy systems.

From 3:30 to 5 p.m. Closing the Loop with RNG explains how some disposal companies fuel their trucks with trash.

The second full day of sessions, Wednesday, Oct. 4, begins at 9 a.m. with the Lee County Success Story. In this session, attendees hear from Keith Howard, public utilities director of Lee County, Florida; Theirry Boveri of Public Resources Management Group (PRMG), Maitland, Florida; and Mike Bedley of Apex Power Services Corp., Davie, Florida, about the success of Lee County’s integrated waste management system. At the Fort Meyers facility, energy is produced in tandem with recycling programs, allowing the county to generate electricity and earn recycling revenue while simultaneously reducing overall landfill waste.

A more expansive panel, Expanding Integrated Waste Management Systems Toward a Circular Economy, follows.

The afternoon sessions include Marco Castaldi, associate professor of chemical engineering and director of the Earth Engineering Center at the City College of New York, moderating a panel titled Tech Talks, in which research on waste conversion provides views of where solid waste management’s future is headed. The last session, Corporate Success with Waste Conversion, features sustainability managers describing how their corporations have been recovering energy from waste at the corporate level.


The exhibit hall features tabletop exhibits showcasing the offerings of dozens of vendors providing equipment, technologies and services to the industry.

“There is so much new changing technology every day in the industry that for the normal person in the industry who is trying to run a waste-to-energy facility, their attention probably isn’t on what’s newest and greatest out there,” says William Hancock, vice president of operations at Plexus Recycling Technologies of Westminster, Colorado. “This allows us, as distributors of manufactured equipment, to display [our] products and teach the people in the industry, whether they be municipal or private entities, what is out there, what’s new.”

The author is an editorial intern for the Recycling Today Media Group.

Click the image below to view the PDF of the 2017 REW Conference Schedule.