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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume II, Issue 48, November 26, 2012 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "TerĂº")  

Teru's Trash Talk

One of the signs of progress for an industrial sector is called "aggregation", where companies, institutes, and agencies get together in various kinds of collaboration to make use of complementary strengths and balance out weaknesses in expertise, contacts and general moxy. The waste conversion industrial sector right now is showing strong signs of clumping, bundling, and dog-piling, all technical forms of aggregation, and we've gathered up a number of examples in this week's News. Let's face it: nobody can do everything, and there are a lot of really bright folks out there with rather narrow but finely tuned expertise, just waiting to pal up with others and make something significant of their own knowledge base.

Checking out a few of the current forms of strategic alliances shows us that no one pattern is best; we need to concoct whatever teaming arrangement gets the work done. In one variation, a waste conversion company with strength in one area finds a parallel team in a slightly different industrial market sector, transferring know-how usually focused on bio-conversion to useful petro-conversion and making everybody stronger, happier, and wealthier. In a University-Agency-Industry example, a small-scale success prompted by some great research gets some serious help for scale-up and expansion beyond their initial whisky slops target conversion.

There's always the tried and true licensing route, where successful institutional research is spun off into a private company and put to good use attacking real-world problems. In another instance, the part of a company already responsible for the get-it-done just wasn't, and the parent company found another firm with the Can Do attitude. One of our favorites this week: the "Pig Power" farm-engineer-university team that won kudos for making the best of a baaad (smelling) situation.

Every "project" is a collaboration of sorts, but those where all the partners have skin in the game, serious direct buy-in, seem to have a better chance of success and able be replicated. Now granted, when an International Business Giant decides to write a contract to your well-established firm for implementing waste conversion, well heck, you just sign on the line. More and more, Big Companies are making that decision to find the experts and hire them to turn their discards into resources. It's just that for the most part, some are like a bunch of kids standing on the side of the court, waiting to be picked by one team captain or another and hoping they don't have to sit out another round on the bench. Team Work, people!

Hey Rube!

Most large and many small universities and research centers have been focused on an aspect of "conversion" long enough to have had some level of success. Every time this happens, another key becomes available to unlock part of the complicated processing train from an initial feedstock all the way through to raw materials for remanufacturing. The professors that get the grants and do the breakthrough work may take a moment to say Ah Hah! and then they get right back to work on the next step. Those institutes have folks in their admin whose job it is to make individual bits of successful research available for a price. That price is usually cheaper than figuring out those steps out for yourself in your own firm's process, and cheaper still, than doing without. Assume someone has already done the heavy lifting that can take you a step closer to where you need to be. Figure out which brainy team has done just that, and go talk to them.

The Week's News

Mexican Researchers Convert Distillery Waste to Methane Using UASB Reactor

Collaborating researchers in Mexico have published their research on the use of modified anaerobic digestion for treatment of hydrous ethanol vinasse, the stillage generated during production of hydrous ethanol from sugar cane molasses. 11/25/2012

Suiker Unie, GasTerra, BioMCN Sign Biogas Supply Agreement

Dutch biogas production and distribution company BioMCN has announced entering into an agreement to purchase biomethane generated by the firm Suiker Unie from anaerobic digestion (AD). 11/25/2012

German Biogas Project Developer agri.capital Expands into UK Market

The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) reports that one of the largest German anaerobic digestion (AD) project developers, agri.capital GmbH, has signed a Framework Agreement with London area AD development and management company BioWatt Ltd. 11/25/2012

DOE Webinar Scheduled on Collaboration to Advance Bioenergy Research

The US Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Biomass Program has announced a live webcast titled "Global Solutions for Global Challenges: International Collaboration to Advance Bioenergy Research" on December 5, 2012 from 1:00 to 2:30pm, eastern time. 11/23/2012

University of Wisconsin GVL Solvent Process Simplifies Biomass Pretreatment

The University of Wisconsin - Madison has announced that a research team in its Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has developed a streamlined process for cellulose and hemicellulose pretreatment prior to production of biofuels and bio-sourced chemicals. 11/23/2012

Base Structures Awarded Technology Research Grant from Innovate UK

United Kingdom (UK) biogas storage company Base Structures has announced receipt of a research grant from the Innovate UK program. 11/23/2012

Big Dutchman Partners with MT-Energie for Biogas Plant Development

German animal husbandry equipment supplier Big Dutchman has announced a new partnership with biogas facility company MT-Energie GmbH for development and sale of anaerobic digestion to biogas projects. 11/23/2012

FuelCell Energy to Deliver Biogas Power to Microsoft Data Center in Wyoming

Connecticut based fuel cell developer FuelCell Energy, Inc. has announced provision of renewable power to Microsoft Corporation's latest data center research project in Cheyenne, Wyoming. 11/21/2012

Cavanaugh & Associates Wins ACEC/NC Award for Pig Waste to Energy Project

Winston-Salem, North Carolina based Cavanaugh & Associates have announced receipt of the Grand Conceptor Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina (ACEC/NC). 11/21/2012

Nanoparticle Research Breakthrough Can Aid Biofuel Production

Researchers at Rice University in Houston, Texas have just announced the publication of findings that describe use of nanoparticles to generate vapor from liquids using only sunlight as an energy source. 11/20/2012

Leaf Energy's Patent Application for Glycerol Bio-refinery Process Progressing

The Australian company Leaf Energy has announced that patent applications for a novel cellulosic biomass pre-treatment technique are due for Patent Cooperation Treaty publication on December 6, 2012. 11/20/2012

Scottish Biofuel Programme Launched to Support Biofuels from Waste

The economic development organization Scottish Enterprise has announced the official launch of the Scottish Biofuels Programme with the goal of producing biofuel from wastes and residues. 11/19/2012

Harvest Power Honored by New England Clean Energy Council

Massachusetts based Harvest Power has announced that it has been recognized as "Breakout Company of the Year" by the New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC). 11/19/2012

Velocys and Ventech Partner to Develop North American Waste Gas to Liquids

Velocys Inc., a subsidiary of the United Kingdom's Oxford Catalyst Group, has announced a partnership with Ventech Engineering International LLC to develop distributed gas-to-liquid (GTL) plants throughout North America. 11/19/2012

The Week's Action Items

Due 12/12/2012:Applications for CEC Community Scale Renewable Energy Grant
Addendum 2 has been issued, which revises the submittal deadline to December 12, 2012 by 3:00 PM PST. A revised application package has also been posted to the CEC's website. 11/21/2012

 

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Recommended Reading:

"Waste-to-Energy, Second Edition: Technologies
and Project Implementation" by Marc J Rogoff and Francois Screve

Municipal Solid Waste to Energy Conversion Processes: Economic, Technical, and Renewable Comparisons by Gary C Young

"Municipal Solid Waste to Energy Conversion Processes: Economic, Technical, and Renewable Comparisons" by Gary C Young

 

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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.