Will Algae Solve the Pentagon’s Jet Fuel Problem?

The latest news on the biofuel front is that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) claims that algae is going to solve the Pentagon’s jet fuel problem.  Darpa says it is just months away from producing a jet fuel from algae for the same cost as its fossil-fuel equivalent. While researchers have been able to turn pond scum and seaweed into fuel, they have not found a cost-effective method to do so.  Predictions for operation of a larger scale refining operation range anywhere from 2011 to 2013.

The history of biofuel development has been fraught with problems as researchers have touted many sources including corn and other vegetable oils, wood based products, and even kudzu as the answer to the energy crisis.  Is algae the latest in a long line of impractical solutions or is it really the answer?  Only time will tell.

Proposed National Rulemaking to Strengthen the Stormwater Program

EPA is announcing plans to initiate national rulemaking to establish a program to reduce stormwater discharges from new development and redevelopment and make other regulatory improvements to strengthen its stormwater program.  This affects owners, operators, developers, and contractors of new development and redevelopment as well as the owners and operators of MS4s.

EPA has issued a Federal Register Notice (PDF) (6 pp, 76K) seeking stakeholder input to help EPA shape a program to reduce stormwater impacts. Input will be provided through both written comments and during a series of public listening sessions. As described in the FR Notice, EPA seeks input on the following preliminary regulatory considerations:

  • Expand the area subject to federal stormwater regulations
  • Establish specific requirements to control stormwater discharges from new development and redevelopment
  • Develop a single set of consistent stormwater requirements for all MS4s
  • Require MS4s to address stormwater discharges in areas of existing development through retrofitting the sewer system or drainage area with improved stormwater control measures
  • Explore specific stormwater provisions to protect sensitive areas

Written comments must be submitted on or before February 26, 2010 to the address specified in the Federal Register notice.

Super Bowl in Miami boost to the general aviation sector

If FBO expansions and service enhancements are any indication, the General Aviation sector seems to be quietly going about its business despite the flap over corporate jets. Following are just two that are in the news this week.

  • Orion Jet Center in Opa-Locka, Florida is currently restoring a WWII former military hangar, and will soon break ground on a new state-of-the-art terminal and hangar facility, both scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.

  • Cessna’s fifth Citation mobile service unit (MSU) based at Sheltair Aviation at Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale International Airport starts service this week,

Also, with events such as the Super Bowl in Miami and regional air shows scheduled this spring, general aviation aircraft are taking to the air again in larger numbers.  This should provide a boost to the general aviation sector and to the economy in general.  Hats off to Americans who get out and do, rather than sit on their hands and cry about the state of the economy.

Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure

SPCC Plans questions? DES Consultants offers Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure consulting and plan development assistance. SPCC plans are required by federal regulation 40 CFR 112 which is implemented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA periodically performs on-site inspections to assure compliance with the SPCC Plan regulations.

The Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule includes requirements for oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response to prevent oil discharges to navigable waters and adjoining shorelines. The rule requires specific facilities to prepare, amend, and implement SPCC Plans.

Use the form to the right to request more information about SPCC regulations and to find out how DES Consultants can help develop a SPCC plan to keep your company in compliance and avoid fines.

Read more about SPCC or Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure at DES Consultants

Sonny Perdue Signs Proclamation Saluting General Aviation

NBAA Applauds Georgia Governor’s Proclamation Saluting General Aviation
Association Staff On-Hand at Signing Ceremony
Contacts: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, dhubbard@nbaa.org
Patrick Dunne, (202) 783-9263, pdunne@nbaa.org

Washington, DC, October 7, 2009 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today welcomed a proclamation by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue (R-GA) recognizing the essential role general aviation plays for the state and its businesses. Lisa Piccione, NBAA senior vice president, government affairs, was among those in attendance at the signing ceremony for the proclamation held in Atlanta today.

“NBAA applauds Governor Perdue for recognizing the value of general aviation, including business aviation, to citizens, companies and communities across Georgia,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We thank him for sending this most welcome message about the importance of the jobs, business productivity, access to small airports and humanitarian initiatives that our industry supports. We also join Governor Perdue and his fellow Georgians in celebrating the state’s historic First Flight by E. Patrick Epps in 1907.”

The proclamation notes that Georgia “has a significant interest in the health of general aviation, aircraft manufacturing, airline industries, educational institutions and aviation organizations such as the National Business Aviation Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Atlanta Aero Club.”

The statement goes on to note that “a great many businesses and communities depend upon general aviation aircraft and small aircraft of all types for access to medical treatment, mobility, economic opportunity, disaster relief and a wide range of critical resources. Business aviation is an invaluable tool for companies in Georgia to support their operations.”

These and other general aviation benefits cited in the proclamation are among the central themes of the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

In recognizing the value of the industry, the proclamation declares the fourth week of October “Aviation Appreciation Month,” in honor of the first powered flight in Georgia, in 1907. The idea for the governor’s proclamation came from Steve Champness, president of the Atlanta Aero Club, with encouragement and guidance of Bolen and Lisa Piccione, NBAA seinor vice president of government affairs.

October is declared Aviation Appreciation Month in Georgia!

October is declared Aviation Appreciation Month in Georgia!

Aviation Appreciation Month in Georgia

New Natural Ways to Clean Contaminated Soil

ScienceDaily (Sep. 24, 2009) — Researchers at North Carolina State University are working to demonstrate that trees can be used to degrade or capture fuels that leak into soil and ground water. Through a process called phytoremediation – literally a “green” technology – plants and trees remove pollutants from the environment or render them harmless. 

Through a partnership with state and federal government agencies, the military and industry, Dr. Elizabeth Nichols, environmental technology professor in NC State’s Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, and her team are using phytoremediation to clean up a contaminated site in Elizabeth City, N.C.

Phytoremediation uses plants to absorb heavy metals from the soil into their roots. The process is an attractive alternative to the standard clean-up methods currently used, which are very expensive and energy intensive. At appropriate sites, phytoremediation can be a cost-effective and sustainable technology, Nichols says.

The Coast Guard site was planted with a mixture of fast-growing trees such as hybrid poplars and willows to prevent residual fuel waste from entering the Pasquotank River by ground water discharge. About 3,000 trees were planted on the five-acre site, which stored aircraft fuel for the Coast Guard base from 1942 until 1991. Fuels had been released into the soil and ground water over time. Efforts to recover easily extractable fuel using a free product recovery system – also called “oil skimmers” – had stalled so other remedial options were considered before choosing phytoremediation.

“We knew that tree growth would be difficult on portions of the site due to the levels of fuels in the soil and ground water, but, overall, we thought the trees could keep this contamination from moving toward the river by slowing ground water flow,” Nichols said. “Trees need water for photosynthesis so they absorb water from the ground; that process can slow the amount of ground water flowing toward the river.”

In the process of absorbing water from the ground, trees can take up fuel contaminants. Some contaminants will be degraded by trees during this process while others will be released into the air by tree leaves and stems. “We wanted to demonstrate that the trees would first slow the movement of fuel toward the river,” Nichols said.

Trees can also increase the abundance and diversity of soil microorganisms around their roots. Some of these soil microorganisms will degrade the fuel still remaining in the ground. “This can be a slower process, but we also want to show that trees will remove the remaining fuel footprint over time,” Nichols continued.

Initially, 500 hybrid poplar and willow trees were planted in 2006. Another 2,500 trees were planted in 2007. “Our initial results are very encouraging, and amounts of fuel in the ground have decreased much faster than anticipated,” Nichols said, “but there is still much to learn about how trees can impact residual, weathered fuels over time. There are two areas on the site where trees do not do well, but, overall, tree growth and survival are impressive.” The Coast Guard has recognized the value of phytoremediation from this study, and has established two additional phytoremediation systems at different locations on base.

The project received a $240,584 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’s (NCDENR) Division of Water Quality 319 program, and an additional $15,000 grant from British Petroleum North America to establish the demonstration site. Nichols worked with Brad Atkinson (NCDENR), Dr. James Landmeyer (U.S. Geological Survey), J.P. Messier (U.S. Coast Guard), and Rachel Cook, a graduate student at NC State, to design and implement the phyto-demonstration site. NC State was recently awarded an additional EPA/NCDENR 319 grant to continue monitoring the site for tree growth and fuel reduction, tree toxicity to fuels, changes to ground water levels and flow, and how fuel contamination is actually removed by trees.Clean Landscape

Green Trend Alert: DIA Planning to power fuel farm through solar power. Expect to see more of this strategy.

Denver International Airport will ask City Council to approve construction of a photovoltaic solar electricity-generating system that will power the airport’s fuel-storage and -distribution facility.

DIA has filed the ordinances necessary to obtain council approval to enter into an agreement with MP2 Capital and Oak Leaf Energy Partners to develop the $7 million, 1.6-megawatt solar project on approximately nine acres north of the airport’s airfield. Once operational, the new solar system is expected to provide approximately 100 percent of the fuel farm’s electricity consumption.

“We expect this project to reduce energy costs for our airline and cargo business partners over the 20-year term of the agreement,” Aviation Manager Kim Day said Wednesday. “DIA has a widespread reputation as a ‘green’ airport, and this project is another example of our commitment to environmental responsibility.”

“The proposed environmentally friendly solar facility at Denver International Airport promises to provide long-term cost savings to airport stakeholders while reaffirming the airlines’ ongoing commitment to cleaner energy,” said Air Transport Association President and CEO James C. May. “Congratulations to all involved in moving this project forward.”

Day added her appreciation for the efforts of the 20 airline members of the DIA fuel committee and also Aircraft Service International Group in helping to make the project a reality. The DIA fuel committee is chaired by Bob Sturtz, United Airlines’ managing director of strategic sourcing/fuels.

The proposal calls for DIA to buy electricity generated by the system at a rate equal to 90 percent of Xcel Energy’s rate. The system is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.


DES Consultants Featured in The Citizen Newspaper Online. Check out the link

Fayette headquartered company offers required erosion control training and certification

DES Consultants, Inc. Announces Upcoming Erosion Control and Training Certification Classes

Jeret Elwell, CPESC, CPSWQ, LEED AP. Lead Instructor for DES Consultants, Inc.

Jeret Elwell, CPESC, CPSWQ, LEED AP. Lead Instructor for DES Consultants, Inc.

DES Consultants, Inc. (DES, Inc.), a leading provider of environmental training and consulting services to builders, developers, and contractors throughout the United States, today announced their upcoming course schedule for Erosion Control Training & Certification in the Metro Atlanta area.

Erosion Control Training & Certification is required for all individuals involved in land disturbing activities. Training and Certification courses offered by DES, Inc. include: Subcontractor Awareness, Level 1A, Level 1B, Level 2, and all levels of re-certification.

Jeret Elwell, CPESC, CPSWQ, LEED AP, and Lead Instructor for DES, Inc elaborates on the training requirements, “The Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) is tasked with managing the curriculum and certification in the state for the thousands that are Erosion Control certified.” Elwell further states, “Each erosion control certification is valid for a 3 year period. However, within the last year of the individual’s certification period a 4 hour recertification course must be completed to keep the certification active. If the certification expires, then the individual will have to start over and take the test again from the very beginning, so don’t let your card expire–make sure to take a recertification.”

Who should attend: Anyone who is currently or will be involved in land disturbing activities, homebuilders, developers, grading companies, silt fence providers, etc. If you are involved in any land disturbing activities in Georgia you must be certified by the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) at the required level based on involvement. Additionally, DES offers courses to anyone that needs the Erosion Control Re-Certification training. For more information on which level of certification affects you please contact DES, Inc or visit www.gaswcc.georgia.gov.

*DES, Inc also offers on-site training to groups of 10 or more.

To register for an upcoming course or to find out more information please call DES, Inc. at (770) 631-1555 or log on to www.desconsultants.com.