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EBI News for February 21, 2024 – Verdantix benchmarks leaders in ESG and sustainability consulting

EBI News for February 21, 2024 – The following news section contains the latest stories for the environmental industry. Including, Verdantix benchmarks leaders in ESG and sustainability consulting, acquisitions, and more!

Clean Harbors to acquire HEPACO

Clean Harbors (Norwell Mass.) has entered into an agreement to acquire HEPACO, a provider of specialized environmental and emergency response services in the Eastern United States, for $400 million in cash. “HEPACO is a recognized leader in Field Services and its addition will accelerate the growth of our Environmental Services segment,” said Eric Gerstenberg, co-chief executive officer of Clean Harbors. HEPACO has more than 40 regional locations in 17 states. Primary offerings include field services, environmental remediation, and emergency response. On an adjusted basis, HEPACO is expected to generate full-year 2023 EBITDA of approximately $36 million on $270 million of revenues. Gryphon initially invested in HEPACO in 2016 and completed seven add-on acquisitions during its ownership.

 

Parsons announces record Q4 and FY 2023 results

Parsons Corporation (Chantilly, Va.) announced total revenue for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2023 increased by 35% to $1.5 billion driven by record organic growth of 34% and $20 million from acquisitions. Total revenue for the fiscal year increased by 30% to $5.4 billion, primarily due to organic growth of 23%. Parsons’ Federal Solutions revenue for the year increased 36% to $3 billion; Critical Infrastructure revenue increased 22% to $2.4 billion. Awards in the fourth quarter included a prime position on a multiple award U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District contract for environmental remediation services with a value of $245 million. Parsons also won a new $80-million contract to remediate lead-contaminated soil for a U.S. customer, with $73 million booked in the fourth quarter, in addition to completing a comprehensive assessment and treatment of PFAS for a Fortune 100 industrial client without causing downtime for the facility.

 

Verdantix benchmarks leaders in ESG and sustainability consulting

Consulting firms are expanding their services and advancing AI investments and strategic acquisitions to meet growing demand in the $14 billion ESG and sustainability consulting services market, according to Verdantix’ latest Green Quadrant report. Of the 17 firms featured, Anthesis, BCG, Capgemini, Deloitte, ERM, EY, KPMG, PwC, Ramboll, SLR Consulting and WSP “demonstrated the most comprehensive ESG and sustainability consulting capabilities and market-leading momentum,” Verdantix concluded. The firms studied in the report have made a total of 76 acquisitions as they vie for market share in the sector, and over half are investing in data, digital, AI and generative AI (GenAI). Strategic acquisitions focus on climate technology and carbon emissions reporting, and GenAI ESG use cases.

 

Fermilab demonstrates electron beams to eradicate PFAS

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, in collaboration with 3M, have demonstrated that an electron beam can destroy the two most common types of PFAS in water: PFOA and PFOS. “The electron beam is a promising technology to break down PFAS in large volumes of water that contain high concentrations of PFAS,” said Fermilab principal investigator Charlie Cooper. Conventional water treatment methods such as reverse osmosis, granular activated carbon or ion exchange resin do not destroy PFAS but concentrate them in a form that subsequently requires treatment or disposal. By contrast, electron beams are “very effective” at breaking the strong carbon-fluorine bond found in PFAS and could be used in pump-and-treat methods or in a manufacturing facility to directly treat wastestreams before they leave the facility.

 

DOE invests in enhanced geothermal systems

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected three projects that will receive up to $60 million to demonstrate the efficacy and scalability of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). Chevron New Energies’ EGS pilot demonstration will use innovative drilling and stimulation techniques to access geothermal energy near an existing geothermal field in northern California. Fervo Energy’s pilot adjacent to DOE’s Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy aims to produce at least 8 megawatts of power from each of three wells at a site with no existing commercial geothermal power production. Mazama Energy project will demonstrate a first-of-its-kind super-hot EGS at Newberry Volcano in Oregon. Geothermal resources currently generate about 4 gigawatts (GW) of electricity in the United States, but recent DOE analysis shows that advancing EGS could provide 90 GW to the U.S. grid by 2050.

 

Third year of record growth for U.S. biogas industry

Newly released data from the American Biogas Council (ABC) indicate that 2023 was the third year of record growth across the U.S. biogas industry, with 96 new projects coming online last year representing $1.8 billion in capital investments. Biogas systems recycle organic waste, capturing methane and turning it into renewable energy while reducing the use of fossil fuels for energy and fertilizer. After processing, biogas is most often used as a renewable substitute for natural gas, for electricity and for heat that varies in carbon reduction from 50% to 700% compared to fossil fuels. With the 2023 additions, the total number of active U.S. biogas projects rose to 2,251.

 

NJIT researchers unveil fast method to detect PFAS

Research chemists at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) have demonstrated a new lab-based method to detect traces of PFAS from food packaging material, water and soil samples in just three minutes or less. According to NJIT, the approach could significantly speed up efforts to study and address the bioaccumulation of PFAS in the environment. The new method — involving an ionization technique for analyzing the molecular composition of sample materials called paper spray mass spectrometry (PS-MS) — is 10-100 times more sensitive than the current standard technique for PFAS testing, NJIT reported. The rapid detection method is being tested for use alongside techniques for remediating PFAS being developed at NJIT’s BioSMART Center.

 

Qcells partners with Solarcycle to accelerate panel recycling

Qcells (Seoul, South Korea) announced it will partner with Solarcycle (Mesa, Ariz.) to recycle the company’s decommissioned, owned and installed solar panels in the United States. Recycled materials from Qcells’ panels, such as aluminum, silver, copper, silicon and low-iron glass, will be reused in the domestic supply chain. Solarcycle’s patented technology extracts more than 95% of the value in a solar panel module, far above the current industry standard of around 50%, according to a news release. Qcells operates the largest silicon-based solar panel factory in the United States, based in Dalton, Ga., and makes one in three of the solar panels installed on rooftops in America. Solarcycle, which operates facilities in Odessa, Texas, and Mesa, Ariz., says it has inked long-term partnerships with more than 40 of the nation’s largest solar energy companies. 

 

Alcoa to supply Nexans with low-carbon aluminum

Alcoa (Pittsburgh, Pa.) announced that it would supply global cable producer Nexans (Paris, France) with aluminum produced from a revolutionary process that eliminates all direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the traditional smelting process. Nexans will be the world’s first cable manufacturer to use metal from Alcoa’s ELYSIS process, which emits pure oxygen as a byproduct. The technology uses proprietary materials, including inert anodes, first developed at the Alcoa Technical Center near Pittsburgh. That research and development work became the technological basis for ELYSIS, a technology partnership working to ramp up the process to commercial scale.

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