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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume III, Issue 10, March 11, 2013 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

For a Waste Conversion Project to be initiated, someone has to decide on the systems that will be used to turn that food waste to biogas, that wood waste to bio-oil, or that plastic waste to … kerosene, or whatever fuel blend-stock you want to make from plastic waste. There are no catalogs, so a municipality or a developer releases some kind of Request for Proposals. Thousands of dollars later, they've got maybe six companies who all claim to Do whatever needs to be accomplished. Now we need the Data. Do the companies have Projects? Have they ever installed anything? Do they have a track record of successful business you can review? How "commercial" are they? There aren't any Catalogs for this emerging field, and without knowledge of who is out there, you can't compare just how commercial any one company IS. This is a fast-changing field with new companies emerging every day. Everyone is scurrying around trying to find the right angle, the first project, the solid team, the Honest Investor.

Back in the mid-'90s, NASA and the Air Force Research Lab worked out a set of metrics to describe nine typical stages of technologic development from the Gleam in the Scientist's Eye to when that Thing was ready to come off the laboratory bench. They published their Technology Readiness Levels or TRLs, breaking things into stages of Feasibility Research, Tech Demonstration, and System Test, Launch, and Operations.

Now, we need a similar set of metrics for the typical stages of Commercial Development of conversion technologies, what we'll call Commercial Readiness Levels or CRLs and these need to be organic. That is, CRLs must be representative of the natural surges and stumbles that companies experience as the commercialization process advances. It takes a great technology AND a competent operator to solve a waste conversion problem, and that takes time and money. The more thoroughly a particular system has been tested and validated, the lower the risk. Less risk in turn means more access to funding. For a developer seeking systems, a higher risk company with a low CRL may be cheaper to engage but more expensive to insure, while a deeply experienced company with proven technology may cost more initially, but be within an acceptable risk profile.

Assume for the moment that the companies under consideration are Early Stage, Pre-commercial. Much work must occur before a company can actually install that first system, and how much has been accomplished can provide an Early Adopter with the information necessary to decide on one company, one system over another. The first few questions are crucial: (1) Has the company tested a unit long and hard enough to break it, then modified the system until they have a stabile model with serious run-time? (2) Has there been Outside Validation, where somebody else with credibility ALSO says the thing works? Last but not least: (3) Is there an experienced management team in place that actually knows how to make Business, with a good technology and a good operator? If those first three CRLs have been successfully accomplished, chances are good the company is ready for their first commercial application.

Hey Rube!

We're in that part of the year when agencies and foundations open up annual grant programs and this week has seen a number of very interesting opportunities. Along with the grant programs are a number of chances to have your say regarding important regional, national and international issues. Getting the boiler-plate details together first is always a good idea

The Week's News

CASA Asks Court to Certify Opinion Opposing Land Application Ban of Biosolids

The California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) has submitted a Request to justices of the California Court of Appeals, Fifth Appellate District, asking the Court to certify its February 13, 2013 Court Opinion in City of Los Angeles v. County of Kern, 2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1115 by publication. 03/09/2013

Kolhapur to Outsource 20-year Waste to Energy Conversion and Management

The Kolhapur Municipal Corporation (KMC) has reported in the Clean India Journal that it is seeking developers capable of managing waste collection, recycling, and conversion of the City's municipal refuse to energy, with a goal of no more than 10% residual requiring final landfill disposal. 03/09/2013

Republic of Ireland to Regulate Separate Household Food Waste Collection

Opting to follow the European Union's dictates, the Irish Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government has announced it has signed the European Union Household Food Waste and Bio -Waste Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 71 of 2013). 03/09/2013

Metsä Group Innaugurates Residuals Gasification Plant at Joutseno Pulp Mill

Finland based Metsä Group has announced that its subsidiary Metsä Fibre’s woody residuals gasification plant at its Joutseno pulp mill was inaugurated on March7, 2013. 03/09/2013

CASA Posts Presentations from Wastewater Biogas Technology Summit

The California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) has announced the availability of presentations from the February 7, 2013 California Wastewater Biogas Technology Summit held in Diamond Bar. 03/09/2013

ElectraTherm's Green Machine Doubles Steam Engine Output at Biogas Plant

Nevada based waste heat conversion specialist ElectraTherm has announced successful installation and operation of its Green Machine organic Rankine cycle (ORC) heat-to-power engine integrated with a small steam engine at a German anaerobic digestion (AD) facility with a 635 kilowatt (kWe) GE Jenbacher 312. 03/07/2013

RSB Formally Recognizes Forest Stewardship Council Certification

The Swiss based Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) has announced its decision to recognize the forest management standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), establishing a direct link between forest biomass and sustainable biofuels. 03/07/2013

Introducing Low Cost Clean Technologies Could Reduce South Asia Emissions

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced findings indicating that proper introduction of clean technologies could cut South Asia emissions associated with power production by one fifth by 2020. 03/06/2013

Anaergia Biogas Upgrading Plant at Fair Oaks Farm, Indiana is Operational

Canada based Anaergia Inc. has announced successful start of operations for its biogas upgrading facility integrated with the company's anaerobic digestion (AD) systems at Fair Oaks Farms in northwestern Indiana. 03/06/2013

BioSyngas Signs Plantation Tree Trimmings Feedstock Supply Agreement

Australian clean energy company Syngas Ltd has announced that its subsidiary BioSyngas Pty Ltd has entered into a "Heads of Agreement" (HoA) with the Australian lumber plantation company African Mahogany (Australia) Pty Ltd (AMA). 03/06/2013

Incbio Contracts to Install 8,000MT/year High FFA Biodiesel Plant In Malaysia

Portugal based biodiesel systems company Incbio has announced that it has secured a contract for an advanced feedstock pretreatment and transesterification biodiesel production plant to the Hong Kong based biodiesel producer Biofuel Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Green Energy Group Limited. 03/05/2013

Australian Government Awards $5.4MM to Licella for Waste Wood to Biofuels

Australian biomass to liquid fuel company Licella Pty Ltd. has received an award of $5.4 million to further advance commercialization of its biomass to "bio-crude" fuels technology. 03/04/2013

The Week's Action Items

Due 03/15/2013: Requests for RFQ to TAQA for 100MWe WtE Plant in UAE

Abu Dhabi based global energy company TAQA National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA) has released an invitation for engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) companies to submit qualifications toward development of the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) first waste to energy facility. 03/04/2013

Due 03/20/2013: Comments to CEC on Proposed RPS Guidebook Changes

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has announced that it will conduct a March 14, 2013 workshop on proposed changes to the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Eligibility Guidebook, and is seeking stakeholder comment to the pertinent Dockets by March 20, 2013. 03/05/2013

Due 03/22/2013: Pre-Proposals to NRCS for Conservation Innovation Grants

The US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that California project pre-proposal submissions for this year's Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program are due by 4:00 pm on March 22, 2013. 03/05/2013

Due 06/07/2013: Comments to EC Public Consultation on Plastic Waste

The European Commission (EC) has released a Green Paper on a European Strategy on Plastic Waste in the Environment and opened a three-month international public consultation soliciting comments. 03/07/2013

Due 08/05/2013: Submissions from the US for 2014 Zayed Future Energy Prize

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) based Zayed Future Energy Prize (ZFEP) annual $4 million award program has announced that submissions from the United States of innovative, renewable, and sustainable energy projects are now being accepted, with a submission closing date set of August 5, 2013. 03/05/2013

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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.