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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume II, Issue 34, August 20, 2012 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

I want to get a little more personal this week, and talk about my own back-yard organic waste … management. No, I'm not gonna go on about my worm beds, although those red wrigglers are great for mulch AND fishing. And, no, I don't do Bees, since they don't do Waste. My favorite organic waste converters are called Hermetia illucens, also known as Black Soldier Flies. They are naturally occurring just about everywhere summers get over freezing and winters stay above maybe10 below. The 1/2" adult flies don't bite, buzz around your face otherwise make a pest of themselves. They just emerge, fly around, find their "special friend", lay eggs and croak. Nice of 'em, but it’s the critters that grow from those eggs that are Way Cool: a grub thing that looks a lot like meal-worms on steroids, with armor. They grow to about an inch long, then they dutifully crawl out of the muck-pile up a handily-placed 40-degree ramp, and "self-harvest" into a small bucket. There's a pretty solid yuck factor involved when you tell folks you are raising maggots, so I've happily dubbed them Wee Beasties. In a minute, you'll understand.  

I read that these grub things could convert more food waste to protein than just about anything else on the planet. I just set out a half a cantaloupe when average daytime temps got over 75 degrees F, saw these black flies, then not long after, baby meal-worm like grubs. They ate the fruit. Then they ate the rind. Dump in the compost bucket, give 'em a squirt with the hose, and come back the next day to find the level lower than the day before. I brought them more kitchen scraps, they grew more, I brought more … and my upright composter magically became the summer home for a seething mass of voracious inch-long bug warriors, quite happy to eat completely through five or six pounds of food waste a day, day after day. I began to have these nightmares where I slipped and fell in face first whilst dumping the day's veggie trimmings … it helped, I suppose, to consider them my Wee Beasties. At least, the dreams stopped. 

Now, I suppose it would have been better if I really had always let them self-harvest, and I'd fed them to chickens or fish or something, which I didn't have. I've always just let 'em find their way into the soil around the composter. By the late fall when temps drop each year, they've matured and crawled off to over-winter, and I've got this rich black mulch to transfer into the garden. Ok, that was three years ago. Now the local wildlife thinks I'm Big Daddy, working this thing that makes these tasty, oily, protein-rich grubs all summer long. We live on the edge of the Wild, and count over 30 species of birds, have deer in the yard most days, laugh at the wild turkeys … Yep, everything seems to like these grubs … including, unfortunately, a whole family of skunks.

So, look up Black Soldier Fly on the internet, follow the simple steps, and You Too can soon have your own seething hoard of Wee Beasties. Pretty amazing little critters; more so, I'll bet, if you feed 'em to your Chickens and Koi, instead of having to explain to a bunch of angry skunks why in mid-season you've disassembled the smorgasbord. 

Hey Rube!

Our universities can certainly be creative. We like to keep an eye on the researchers at Iowa State University. Dr. Brown's teams have long been Way Ahead on thermal conversion; now, Professor Leeuwen is growing MycoMeal on ethanol fermentation wastewater, and finding it makes excellent animal feed. Mmmm … sesame-ginger stir-fry fungus cubes. Simply amazing!

The Week's News

GE's Jenbacher Engine Surpasses 50K Hours Running on Brewery Biogas

General Electric (GE) has announced that its J312 gas engine installation at the Bitburger Brauerei (brewery) in Germany has surpassed 50,000 hours of run time fueled from biogas produced on-site from brewery waste. 08/18/2012

BASF, Cargill, and Novozymes Collaborate on Bio-Based Acrylic Acid Process

Formalizing and expanding upon a four year old agreement with Novozymes, food and ag giant Cargill has announced expanding collaboration to include the global chemical company BASF for the development of processes to make bio-based acrylic acid from renewable raw materials. 08/18/2012 

German Assessment Identifies Renewable Waste as Best Bioenergy Source

The German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, has announced release of a report, "Bioenergy - Chances and Limits" identifying waste as the only viable feedstock for bioenergy, while cautioning that there isn't enough waste generated and accessible to meet the country's needs. 08/17/2012

Novozymes Develops Fungus that Converts Sugar to Malic Acid

Biocatalyst specialist Novozymes has announced the successful development of a fungal strain that converts low-value biomass directly to malic acid, instead of to an alcohol or oil. 08/16/2012

Verdezyne Patents Bio-Based Adipic Acid Production Method

Based in Carlsbad, California, the green chemistry company Verdezyne has announced the award of patent  “Biological Methods for Preparing Adipic Acid” (US Patent No. 8,241,879) for one of the company’s proprietary processes for selectively converting non-petroleum oils into adipic acid. 08/16/2012

Lignol Energy Acquires Shares in Australian Renewable Fuels for CAD$4.3MM

Canadian advanced biofuels and bio-sourced chemicals company Lignol Energy Corporation has announced a non-brokered private equity placement of up to CAD$2.4 million. 08/16/2012

MagneGas (MNGA) Begins Trading on the NASDAQ

Florida based waste to fuel company MagneGas announced receipt of approval to list common shares and initiate sales on the NASDAQ Capital market. 08/16/2012

Texas AgriLife Research & BP Biofuels Collaborate on Biomass Energy Crops

Texas AgriLife Research, part of the Texas A&M University System, has announced signing a three-year agreement with BP Biofuels to develop and commercialize cellulosic feedstocks for the production of advanced biofuels. 08/15/2012

EPA and Mexico's Border 2020 Agreement Addresses Waste Management

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced entering into a new environmentally-focused cooperative border agreement with Mexico. 08/15/2012

Iowa State Turns Ethanol Waste to MycoMeal, a High-Protein Animal Food

Iowa State University researchers have announced successful initial animal feeding trials using its patent-pending MycoMeal, a food-grade fungal product the team has been growing on ethanol fermentation residuals. 08/15/2012

Camco SEA Develops 2 MW Anaerobic Digestion to Biogas Plant in Malaysia

Global clean energy company Camco International Ltd has announced that its subsidiary Camco Southeast Asia (Camco SEA) will develop its first anaerobic digestion (AD) to biogas plant in Malaysia. 08/14/2012

BioNitrogen Expands Florida Site Contract to Include Feedstock Purchase

Florida based BioNitrogen Corporation has announced entering into a feedstock purchase agreement with the Florida Fertilizer Company to purchase biomass from a 40 acre parcel of land in Hardee County, Florida. 08/14/2012

Canada and British Columbia Invest in Biocoal, Biofuels from Ag Residuals

The Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia (BC) (IAFBC) has announced that the BC Ministry of Agriculture has joined the federal Agriculture Ministry under Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial agreement. 08/14/2012

4FRI Project Restoration Contractor Announces Biomass Conversion Partner

The Montana-based company Pioneer Forest Products has announced its team for the new restoration contract under the Four Forest Restoration Initiative ( 4FRI): Arizona-local Cooley Forest Products and biomass conversion partner Western Energy Solution, LLC / Concord Blue USA, Inc. 08/13/2012

California Governor Launches "Climate Change: Just the Facts" Website

California Governor Jerry Brown's Office of Planning and Research has launched a new website, "Climate Change: Just the Facts" that lays out the evidence and reasoning of Climate Science. 08/13/2012

INVISTA and LanzaTech Collaborate on Waste CO Sourced Bio-Butadiene

Global biotech giant INVISTA and New Zealand's LanzaTech have concurrently announced signing a joint development agreement focused conversion of waste carbon monoxide (CO) from industrial emissions into the foundation biopolymer butadiene. 08/13/2012

The Week's Action Items

Due 02/19/2013: Applications to NSF under Energy for Sustainability Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a notice soliciting applications to the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering Environmental and Transportation's (CBET) Energy for Sustainability program, Opportunity Number PD-13-7644. 08/18/2012

 

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Recommended Reading:

Waste-to-Energy Commercial Facilities Profiles: Technical, Operational and Economic Perspectives

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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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