PRESS RELEASE: Biochar Video Takes Top Honors


Aries Clean Energy

Publication Date

Aug 20, 2018

A biochar video made by Charles Denney, videographer at the University of Tennessee Institute for Agriculture, is selected Video of the Year by the Tennessee Recycling Coalition.

FRANKLIN, TENN and KNOXVILLE, TENN – (AUGUST 20, 2018) – The video – Biochar – A futuristic look at recycling with the Lebanon waste-to-energy plant – was named the 2018 Video of the Year at the annual conference of the Tennessee Recycling Coalition (TRC).

This video was made by Charles M. Denney, videographer for the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture with assistance from Aries Clean Energy. Aries is the Franklin-based company that designed and build the Lebanon plant. The video can be watched here:

“It’s extra special when your peers see the value in your work and honor it,” said Gregory Bafalis, CEO of Aries Clean Energy. “We are excited to be part of the biochar story with the UT Institute of Agriculture in this video and in its research. The biochar market is a direct outgrowth of the waste-to-energy industry. It is about to see big growth, and we are poised to be part of that both in soil enhancement and better crop yields.”

The Tennessee Recycling Coalition or TRC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting recycling and sustainable materials management practices in the State of Tennessee. It is a coalition of many industries, companies, and individuals networked together to raising recycling as the standard in Tennessee.

It recognizes that recycled materials have value and contribute to the economic well-being of all Tennesseans. Recycling promotes and sustains jobs, adds to the revenue of local governments by growing the tax base and through the sale of collected commodities. Recycling further enhances the personal wealth of all Tennesseans through cost avoidance of landfill tipping fee charges. Ultimately, it also protects the environment by keeping the materials out of the landfill.

TRC works in partnership with the local, state, and federal governments to provide resources, education and outreach for the recycling message. Each year, the group recognizes the best in recycling through its awards program.

Other winners:

Ceco Door Products – 2018 Business Recycler of the Year – By recently placing a large emphasis on the reduction of hazardous waste, Ceco Door has been able to reduce their hazard waste generation per part produced by 78%. This was achieved by replacing their previous primer paint, which contained heavy metals, with a new product that contains no heavy metal. Ceco Door also negotiated with their vendor to reduce their minimum order quantity for their finish coat products. This reduced the amount of hazardous waste generated through that waste stream alone by 60%. Recipients were David & Diana Dewberry, Trent Turner, Dan Glover

Cordell Hull State Office Building – 2018 Government Recycler of the Year – Through the Cordell Hull State Office Building renovation, the State of Tennessee Real Estate Asset Management (STREAM) Division of the Department of General Services was able to work with the General Assembly and the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s office to restore the historic but endangered building. For the project, the construction team tracked waste diversion from landfills at 94%. This figure includes more than 10,000 recycled tons of metals, wood, concrete and masonry, drywall, carpet, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and plastics. The renovated building also has three areas of green roof, which included the planting of the state wildflower: the Tennessee purple coneflower. Recipients were Bryan Hay, Dennis Georgatos, Stephanie Batewell, John Yunker, Tiffany King

Warren County – 2018 Non-Profit Recycler of the Year – Intrigued by the idea of TN Marketplace, Michael Mallner and Don Alexander jointly organized a county-level forum, hosted by the McMinnville Chamber of Commerce, where area businesses could find outlets for discarded material streams and equipment. The goal for these “Discard Discussions,” is to facilitate local recycling for materials that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive due to shipping expenses or lower volumes. The Discard Discussion project is unique from other waste-disposal efforts in that it facilitates individual small-scale exchanges of unwanted materials between neighboring organizations. This model that project members created can easily be reproduced in other communities. Recipients were Don Alexander, McMinnville-Warren County Industrial Development Board; Sheri Denning, Newell Industries; Charles Clendenon, Newell Industries; John Hoch, McMinnville Green; Jonathan Hall, Southern Central Recycling; Tara Wohlgemuth, TDEC Cookeville Field Office; Michael Mallner, Bridgestone

Freedom Intermediate – 2018 K-12 Education Recycler of the Year – Recycling is the main focus of Freedom Intermediate’s sustainability program. With the classroom participation in the recycling growing so large, a “Green Team” was formed to manage the collection of recyclable materials. Freedom Intermediate averages 15,000 lbs of recyclables per year. Students collected plastic bags and 10,000 plastic bottle tops for art installations located in the school lobby. They also installed a bottle filling station, diverting 16,000 plastic bottles from landfills in just two years. These are only a few examples of how students and teachers at Freedom Intermediate go above and beyond to protect the environment. Recipients were Barbara Orr, Jim Orr, Nancy Niess, Madison Land, Cynthia Moulthrop

Danny Benard – 2018 Tom Hattle Memorial Award – The Tom Hattle Memorial Award honors a community leader for advancing recycling through dedication and service. After 35 years of experience in manufacturing, Danny Benard started the recycling program at Chester County Solid Waste Department in Henderson, TN in 2004. Since 2004, Danny has recycled over 70,000 tons from small, rural Chester County. In 2011, Danny started the first West TN Regional Recycling Hub pilot project with two counties and the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation. Now the Hub has grown to have 8 spokes. The Hub has recycled over 18,000 tons from Chester County and surrounding spokes. Danny also engineered the plans and built machinery for the Hub; such as the 80 ft sort line and bag shredder. Danny was one of the first certified Solid Waste professionals through SWANA, a Certified Public Administrator through the County Technical Assistance Program and has spoken at many conferences throughout the years.

About Aries Clean Energy

Aries Clean Energy, LLC, based in Franklin, Tennessee, designs and builds innovative bio-based downdraft and fluidized bed gasification systems using its eight patents granted to date. Its projects provide for the sustainable disposal of waste, reduction of carbon emissions, and the production of clean thermal and electrical energy. For more information, please visit our website:


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