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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume I, Issue 40, November 28, 2011 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Let's pretend trash is worth something. For the moment, forget that it costs a lot to keep doing what we are all doing, doing the Great Houdini with our scraps and discards from our homes, our cities, our agriculture, our factories, even our seas and forests. Forget how much constant flow of cash it takes to keep this "disposal" regime up; forget what the real costs are to the society and the planet. Instead, let's get greedy. If you couldn't buy stuff, what would you use? Let's play this out a bit. Let's say gas prices top $5 a gallon, and you decide hey, YOU can make biodiesel, it can't be that hard. 20 gallons a week of deep-fryer grease will make 10 gallons of fuel and all the soap (from the left over glycerine) you can use and sell, so you start talking to local restaurants. Too late: the local winery trades most of 'em out of their waste cooking oil, and it's a small town.


Well, alright … you'll have to buy your gas, but maybe you can still save by growing most of your own food! Fish in a tank, chickens in a pen, lettuce and tomatoes in raised bed boxes, and cycle your food scraps through worm-beds. But you need more organics than come from your table-scraps, so you start checking out the waste veggies behind the local market. Too late: the food waste now goes into the anaerobic digestion (AD) tanks at the sewer plant, mixed with the poop to make enough biogas to make enough electricity to keep City's operation in the black.


OK, so a little home-brewed biogas can heat the shower water, keep the fish tanks warm and maybe even cook the family dinner. It takes about a ton a day of food waste and manure (human or otherwise) to keep a small AD unit percolating; at 500 pounds a cubic yard, that's two pick-up truck loads a day of horse-sourced road-apples and ugly tomatoes. Well, wood is biomass; we'll burn THAT! Humm … how many trees are you willing to knock down to keep the homestead warm this winter? Suddenly that broken kitchen chair and all the packaging paper and cardboard boxes don't look so much like Waste any more. You're gonna be busy; you might want to plan ahead … but just how long do you think we have, until this becomes our daily routine?

Hey Rube!

There are efficiencies of scale involved in fuel, chemical and electricity production, but the good news: Bigger isn't always Better. You start losing economic and environmental ground when you start shipping feedstock too far. You may find Backyard Biodiesel just doesn't cut it, but watch our Teru Talk News; a great many small and medium sized communities are learning to improve their own lot by gathering up waste veggie oil to keep their school bus running, and food scraps to keep their sewer plant operating. What about your own community? What is produced in excess that might be converted to something useful? What is being gathered up for that conversion, and by whom? If the answer is Lots of Extra Stuff but Nobody Converting, you may have just identified your next career. So take that Burger Flipper job, but trade the owner for all the grease. It's probably worth more than the hourly wage.

The Week's News

EU Plans Development of Composting and Biochar Standards by 2013 At the beginning of October 2011, the European Union (EU) Commission launched REFERTIL, a funded 7th Framework Programme (FP7) for the collaborative development of EU27 composting and biochar standards by 2013. 11/27/2011


LanzaTech and Global Bioenergies Explore CO to Isobutene Feasibility France's Global Bioenergies S.A.  has announced collaboration with New Zealand-based LanzaTech Ltd to determine the feasibility of integrating Global's isobutene biorefinery pathway with LanzaTech's well-tested technology platform for conversion of carbon monoxide to biofuel. 11/25/2011


Novozymes Opens Enzyme R&D Lab Facility in Brazil

Danish enzyme development company Novozymes is celebrating the opening this week of its new research and development (R&D) facility in Araucária, a city near Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. 11/23/2011


Rentricity Recognized by GCCA for Turning Waste Water Pressure to Energy  New York based kinetic energy specialist Rentricity has been recognizedas "Best in Water" as a Later Stage Global Top 10 company for 2011 by the Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA).  11/23/2011


Sundrop Fuels Selects Louisiana Site for First Commercial Drop-in Biofuel Plant  Colorado's Sundrop Fuels has announced an agreement to purchase 1,200 acres near Alexandria, Louisiana for development of its first commercial scale advanced biofuel production facility. 11/23/2011


Louisville Waste Cooking Oil Collection Site Opens in Time for Thanksgiving  The Louisville Biodiesel Cooperative in Kentucky has announced a partnership with the Louisville/Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) and the Green Triangle in the 9th District for collection and recycling of waste vegetable oil (WVO) to biodiesel, opening the collaboration's first recycling station in time for Thanksgiving. 11/23/2011


Arizona Chemical Establishes China Trading Company Legal Entity

Waste-sourced biofuel and biochemical company Arizona Chemical reports formation of Arizona Chemical Limited, a China Trading Company, for its operations in Shanghai, strengthening its Asian service and distribution. 11/22/2011


UC San Diego Extension Offers Biofuels Education Grants

Thanks to a $4 million grant from California's Department of Labor, the University of California San Diego Extension will offer a second round of $7000 educational support grants to over 50 students enrolled in regional biofuels development curricula, starting March 2012. 11/22/2011


London Mayor Calls for Businesses to Stop Landfilling Food Waste

Handing out the first free plate of curry made from rejected, misshapen supermarket vegetables, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson made a plea for the City's residential and business community to stop landfilling food waste. 11/21/2011


Neste Oil's NExBTL Renewable Diesel Set for Marine Trials

Finland's Neste Oil has announced the launch of marine engine trials for its NExBTL biofuels, partnering with the Port of Rotterdam and the Rotterdam Climate Initiative to test performance and emissions in one of the Authority's patrol boats during 1000 hours of operation. 11/21/2011


ConocoPhillips, Enviva Form Eco Biomass to Market Torrified Wood Fuels  International biomass processing company has announced a partnership with ConocoPhillips to create a new company, ECo Biomass Technologies (Eco Biomass) focused on bringing torrefied biomass fuels to market. 11/21/2011

The Week's Action Items

Due 11/28/2011: Comments on Proposed Green Lane Energy Permit The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) held a public hearing on November 22, 2011 to consider draft solid waste facility permit language for construction and operation of an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility between Eugene and Junction City adjacent to the J.C. Compost Yard facility. 11/23/2011


Due 12/12/2011: Comments on Vermont Biomass Energy Draft Final Report  The Vermont Legislative Council formally established the Biomass Energy (BioE) Development Working Group in 2009 with a charge to enhance the growth and development of Vermont’s biomass industry, while also maintaining forest health. 11/22/2011 


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Teru Talk is an online publication of JDMT, Inc with the goal of opening the dialogue and providing current news and commentary on issues and successes associated with waste conversion to renewable energy, biofuels and other bio-based products for resource recovery.

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The Teru Talk Newsletter is published weekly or more or less frequently, primarily depending on what is going on in the world of waste conversion or ours.