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EBI News for July 26, 2023 – Critical minerals market sees unprecedented growth

EBI News for July 26, 2023 – The following news section contains the latest stories for the environmental industry. Including, Critical minerals market sees unprecedented growth, acquisitions, and more!

Heritage-Crystal Clean to be acquired for $1.2B

Heritage-Crystal Clean Inc. (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) is being acquired by J.F. Lehman & Company in an all-cash transaction that values Crystal Clean at approximately $1.2 billion. Crystal Clean provides parts cleaning, hazardous and non-hazardous waste services, used oil re-refining, antifreeze recycling, industrial and field services, and emergency and spill response. Crystal Clean’s board of directors has unanimously approved the merger. In 2022, Crystal Clean generated $709.3 million in revenue, an increase of 37.6% compared to the prior year; it operates through 105 branch and industrial services locations.


Robinson Noble joins Terraphase Engineering

Terraphase Engineering Inc. (Oakland, Calif.) has acquired Robinson Noble (Tacoma, Wash.), an environmental consulting firm. William Carson, president of Terraphase, stated, “This combination will provide employee opportunities to expand their skill sets and contribute to projects across the country. For our existing clients, this geographic expansion allows us to deliver on larger projects in the Pacific Northwest and greatly expand our water and geotechnical service lines.” Terraphase was founded in 2010 and has 12 offices nationwide providing technical leadership on complex environmental and engineering challenges. 2020 Environmental Group served as the buy-side M&A advisor to Terraphase and initiated the transaction.


Critical minerals market sees unprecedented growth

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) inaugural edition of the Critical Minerals Market Review shows record deployment of clean energy technologies propelling huge demand for minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper. From 2017 to 2022, the energy sector was the main factor behind a tripling in overall demand for lithium, a 70% jump in demand for cobalt, and a 40% rise in demand for nickel. The market for energy transition minerals reached $320 billion in 2022 and is set for continued rapid growth, IEA reported. In response, investment in critical mineral development rose 30% last year. ESG practices are making “mixed progress,” with greenhouse gas emissions remaining high and water withdrawals almost doubling from 2018 to 2021.


Lake Tahoe shows improved clarity

According to the 2023 Tahoe: State of the Lake Report, published by the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) at UC Davis, the past year was one of rapid biological change, the biggest being rapid improvement in clarity of the lake from August through December—the best measured since the 1980s. Improved clarity was preceded by a collapse in the population of Mysis shrimp introduced decades ago and a comeback in the lake’s native phytoplankton and zooplankton. The report also found that restoration and management efforts continued to reduce nutrient and fine particle loads. However, huge swings in the algal population were found, with Cyanobacteria comprising the greatest number of phytoplankton. Microplastic pollution is also an issue with samples showing levels akin to San Francisco Bay. “Within 2022 we had more changes throughout the lake than we’ve experienced over decades,” said Geoffrey Schladow, TERC director. 

AECOM selected for cloudburst flooding mitigation in NYC

AECOM (Dallas) announced that it is one of the firms selected by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) to provide design services for the City’s cloudburst management program to alleviate flooding. Under the seven-year task-order program, AECOM will provide NYCDEP with capabilities in gray and green infrastructure to deliver innovative nuisance flooding mitigation strategies. Services will include project planning and assessments, permitting, engineering and landscape architecture design, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, resident engagement, benefit-cost analysis, bidding support and design during delivery.


10 major clean energy projects announced in June 

Businesses announced plans for at least 10 new large-scale clean energy projects and plant expansions in nine states last month, according to E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs). Based on publicly available information, E2 said the projects would create at least 3,100 jobs and nearly $1 billion in new private investment. House Republican districts will be home to eight of the projects, including a $250 million solar manufacturing facility in Texas, a $152 million plant to manufacture electrolytes for electric vehicle (EV) batteries in Tennessee, and a $115 million steel plant in Indiana to support grid modernization, renewable energy, and EV charging projects.


B&V selects 2023 participants for IgniteX program 

Black & Veatch (B&V, Overland Park, Kansas) has selected seven participants from a pool of 118 applicants (a 38% increase from 2022) to take part in this year’s 12-week IgniteX Climate Tech Accelerator program. They will partner with B&V leaders to co-develop, pilot and market their new technologies. The 2023 program participants are: EarthEn (grid resiliency); CarbonQuest (carbon capture and sequestration); Mars Materials (CO2 sequestration); Strive (animal-free milk); Spira (genetically engineered algae); Looq AI (automated creation of 3D digital twins); and Simerse (visual data AI for utilities, telecommunications, and cities). 


Arcadis JV selected for share of $200M USACE resilience efforts 

Arcadis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), as managing partner in a joint venture (JV) with Bergmann Associates, has been selected to perform architecture and engineering civil works services on resilience projects in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s (USACE) Great Lakes and Ohio River Division. The Arcadis-Bergmann Lakes and Rivers JV will provide engineering and architectural planning, design, and construction support as part of a $200-million shared capacity framework for resilience work funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Work will be worth an estimated $25 million in net revenues for Arcadis over the next five years. 


RPS to lead baseline marine survey program for offshore wind

RPS (Abingdon, England), a Tetra Tech company, will undertake a comprehensive marine environmental baseline survey program for Flotation Energy’s Seadragon offshore wind project off Gippsland in Victoria, Australia. The $22-million program will play a critical role in the development of the proposed project, informing the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and playing an important role in design and mitigation measures to minimize environmental impact. The program will be carried out by RPS in collaboration with scientific and academic partners, including JASCO Applied Sciences, Deakin University and CSIRO, Australia’s national science organization.


$1.7B EchoWater plant upgrades completed on time, under budget

Carollo Engineers (Elk Grove, Calif.) announced that it has completed planning, design, and engineering services during construction for the $1.8 billion EchoWater Project, a more than decade-long facility upgrade project for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District. EchoWater commenced in 2012 in response to stringent nutrient removal and tertiary treatment requirements for treated wastewater. The treatment plant is the second largest facility of its kind in the United States and the largest public works project built in the Sacramento region, according to Carollo, which led design efforts for the $122 million flow equalization project; $25 million return activated sludge pumping project; $42 million nitrifying sidestream treatment process; and $310 million tertiary treatment facilities project. Overall program management services were provided by a joint venture of Brown and Caldwell and HDR, with AECOM designing several major features, Civil Engineering magazine reported.


Jacobs awarded equipment installation contract at nuclear lab

Jacobs (Dallas) has been selected by the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) to manage the acquisition of more than 100 remotely operated manipulator robots for its Windscale Laboratory in West Cumbria, England. Working with Wälischmiller Engineering, Jacobs’ robotics specialists will be responsible for procuring replacement machines that will handle radioactive material for inspection or processing. Jacobs will also work with engineering company Numech on the design and manufacture of dedicated liners to provide each of the manipulators with radiation protection. “This important project will help us continue pushing the boundaries of robotics in nuclear research,” said Jacobs Energy, Security & Technology Senior Vice President Karen Wiemelt.


King Engineering acquired by A2H

Planning and design firm A2H (Memphis, Tenn.) announced the acquisition of King Engineering Consultants, a local engineering firm that, like A2H, has a history of serving clients across rural West Tennessee. King Engineering, led by Ken King, brings a staff of five professionals. The acquisition marks a significant milestone for A2H as it expands its capacity to serve clients in the public sector, particularly municipal waste and wastewater improvement projects. A2H noted that there has been a surge in ARPA-funded waste and wastewater improvement projects, “so the timing of this acquisition couldn’t have been more perfect.” 


Atkins announces embodied carbon-estimate tools for airports 

Atkins (London, UK), a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has created a digital toolkit for airports to estimate embodied carbon associated with the construction of terminal buildings and aviation assets. The new tools, developed with the International Air Transport Assn., are believed to be the first early-stage embodied carbon assessment tools focused on airport terminal buildings. The digital toolkit will benchmark terminal buildings, runways and multi-storey car parks.

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