EcoShift is collaborating with the Sierra Club in Utah as solar power homeowners fight proposed utility fee. Key finding: “Homes with rooftop solar would help save the utility over $1.4 million dollars in avoided energy and transmission costs in one year.” Read More at http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57966967-78/power-solar-customers-net.html.csp
EcoShift’s sea-to-pump life cycle analysis of BioArchitecture Lab’s seaweed macro-algae ethanol was described at Biofuels Digest.
CalRecycle recently published their Critical Review of Used Oil Life Cycle Assessment Study, which contains analysis from EcoShift. The publication details the methodology and results of the Used Oil Life Cycle Assessment Critical Review according to the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) methodology described in ISO 14040-14044. The report consists of the combined efforts of a review chair and 5 panel members, including EcoShift.
Dr. Gershenson will moderate a panel entitled Planning for the Future: Sea Level Rise in California at the California County Commissioner’s meeting on Water and Innovative Land Use Planning.
EcoShift’s James Barsimantov quoted in this GreenTech Media article for analysis on CA residential electricity rate design
EcoShift Principal Dr. Mulvaney is one of five judges for the Intel Environment Award at the Tech Awards. The $75,000 award will go to a Laureate with the most promise to contribute to clean water, improved air quality, and sustainability.
In October 2009, California’s SB 546 was signed by then Governor Schwarzenegger. The bill provides an increased incentive to recycle and re-refine used oil and lubricants for reuse in the state. In connection with the deployment of SB 546, a life cycle assessment (LCA) of California’s used lubricating and industrial oil management process is required (see here for detail). The results of the LCA will be summarized for presentation to the California legislature, and will be used to enhance the effectiveness of used oil recycling in the state. As per ISO 14040, the LCA is subject to a neutral, third party critical review process. The review serves to ensure that the assumption, data and calculations in the LCA are transparent, reasonable, and justified. EcoShift was awarded a contract to serve as one of the critical review board panelists. The critical review has three phases plus a final review. In the first phase, EcoShift is examining the purpose, goals, and scope of the LCA plan, with particular attention on upstream and downstream boundaries, end-of-life characterization and the displacement method chosen for energy recovery. The second phase of review occurs after life cycle inventories have been completed. Here, EcoShift will concentrate on reviewing data and assumptions for precision, completeness, consistency, and suitability. After the life cycle impact assessment is complete, EcoShift will ensure that the environmental analysis methods and weightings are appropriate for the project. The challenge of this phase is in understanding the nuances of the materials being considered and their impacts in the context of the stated goals and scope of the LCA. The final review is a formal evaluation of the draft LCA report. EcoShift will verify that the results are technically sound and relevant to stakeholders for improving the environmental performance of used oil recycling. EcoShift will also ensure that the results are reported to interpret by policy-makers and stakeholders, without compromising accuracy of the information. Joining the EcoShift review team on this project are Joep Meijer, an LCA expert who work regularly with EcoShift on LCA projects, and Rob D’Arcy, a used oil and waste management specialist. Mr. Meijer brings more than ten years of experience in the LCA field, and currently sits on the board of the USGBC Materials and Resource Committee. Mr. D’Arcy has over 14 years of experience with used oil and is a program manager with the County of Santa Clara’s Hazardous Waste Recycling and Disposal Program. He is the current Chair of the California Product Stewardship Council and President of the California Chapter of the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association.
Storing carbon in natural ecosystems, particularly forests, is key to reducing human impact on global climate. In terrestrial ecosystems, about four times as much carbon is stored in soil, rather than in trees and plants. Although critically important, soil carbon dynamics are much more difficult to understand, assess, and monitor than aboveground dynamics. Despite these obstacles, since soil carbon stocks are likely to be disturbed during forest management, it is important to consider changes in soil carbon in forest carbon offset projects. For this reason, the Climate Action Reserve, with EcoShift’s support, has taken the bold step of including soil carbon dynamics in the latest version of its Forest Project Protocol. Version 3.3 of the Forest Project Protocol, still in draft form, includes lookup tables, based on soil type, management practice, and other factors, to easily calculate changes in soil carbon in forest offset projects. The Reserve is now in the process of finalizing the new version. Given scientific uncertainty and lack of comprehensive research, creating the methodology for including soil carbon was not an easy task, and the process started over two years ago. To initiate the effort, the Reserve contracted EcoShift to examine potential methods for accounting for soil carbon in the Forest Project Protocol. This first stage of the process resulted in a comprehensive white paper identifying the aspects of forest management and site conditions that could result in soil carbon losses. This white paper, Accounting for Carbon in Soils, also sought to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations to minimize the losses of, and in some cases increase, soil carbon in forests managed under CAR’s Forest Project Protocol. In the second stage of the process, EcoShift designed a lookup table and associated methodology to determine which types of management were likely to result in soil carbon losses at what time intervals, and to identify potential risk factors that would suggest significant potential for soil carbon loss. The updated Climate Action Reserve guidance for Soil Carbon Accounting in avoided conversion projects that incorporates EcoShift models can be found here.CAR used this information to create the draft of Version 3.3 of the protocol, which can be found here. The biggest challenge in developing models for changes in soil carbon is the fact that data for soil carbon dynamics in different systems remain sparse, and decisions often have to be made with incomplete information. In all cases, the Reserve and EcoShift used a conservative approach to assigning values in the lookup tables, and this approach ensures that actual carbon stored is likely greater that what is shown on the lookup table, rather than less. As better and more comprehensive research becomes available, we will have a better understanding of soil carbon dynamics, and this knowledge can then be incorporated into future versions of protocol. Although current scientific understanding is far from complete, continuing to ignore soil carbon dynamics in offset calculations carries a risk of gross inaccuracies – in both in additional gains and losses – in the largest terrestrial carbon pool.