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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume III, Issue 43, October 28, 2013 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Just in time for All Hallows Eve: a tale of Meat and Monsters - microscopic beasties, or "microbes." We are what we eat: we're Meat too, and a lot of Teru Talk's Halloween Pumpkin microbes are particularly good at digesting meat, whether it is stuff left after dinner, or the very Stuff that you and I are made of. Those that take a special liking to eating critters including us Humans are often called Pathogenic Microorganisms: microbes that cause disease in humans or other animals.

Unfortunately, Monster Microbes can escape even our best control efforts, as we've recently witnessed for a certain chicken processor. To prevent the rampant spread of those beasties and the diseases they inflict, meat scraps get sent to "renderers" who apply heat to cook out the useful grease and in the process, kill all those nasty microbes. If you have ever been around a Rendering plant, you won't soon forget the experience: let's just say, it's not an olfactory treat. Nasty but necessary: there are laws that require commercial meat discards go to renderers, and naturally, that industry is protective of the laws that keep their doors open.

Now to the problem: we want to turn food waste and food processing residuals into goods, instead of counting them as a liability and adding them to the local landfill. We can scrape those restaurant plates, pull the older packages off the market shelf, and push the butcher's trimmings off into a bucket. We can do this! (How we gonna do this?). I know! Let's build Digesters and Composters to convert this organic mélange into biogas and fertilizer.

Nope, says California's Food and Ag agency: all that stuff has to be cooked and all those microbe beasties killed dead. If there are any really pathogenic microorganisms growing in that feedstock, we stand a good chance of inadvertently making a whole armada of nasties through improper handling. Funny thing: in California, this is one of the very few instances where thermal waste conversion technologies are the mandated method. But that's just one more example of how the state can't seem to remain "feedstock specific, technology neutral" like its Governor has requested.

If a microbe can't cause disease, it is not pathogenic. Can Anaerobic Digestion and similar controlled microbial processes convert food waste that contains meat while preventing the spread of diseases caused by meat-eating pathogenic organisms? Well, yeah, if done right and tested so you are sure. We just have to figure out how to do this right.

Renderers can still degrease dead cows; we have a much, much bigger problem at hand. Humans will continue to dump food waste and ag residues into landfills, and that stuff will continue to have a sizable Meat fraction. Carefully designed and operated microbial processing can overcome Pathogenicity. Was it the intent of Law to dictate which type of processing we use to accomplish clean and safe conversion? Probably not: it is time we went back the law books and see what they really say.

Hey Rube!

With the Farm Bill un-authorized, there is little enough recourse for support from the US Department of Ag - but despite the lack of broader programs, USDA has once again opened the coffers for biorefinery loans. Advanced Biofuel Project loan applications are due January 30, 2014.

This Week's Top Story

Farmers Delivering Biomass for POET-DSM's Project LIBERTY 2014 Opening

POET has announced that farmers are harvesting corn crop residuals for the 2013 season and delivering cob bales for the 2014 opening of Project LIBERTY, POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, LLC's 20 million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant. 10/25/2013

The Week's News

NOTE: If you are using IE10 and our website isn't loading as smoothly as you would like or the page jumps when you click on a link to go to a certain news item, just change to "compatibility view" and all will be fine.


EIA Study: Waste Fuels are a Significant Energy Source for US Manufacturers

Waste fuel accounted for 29% of U.S. manufacturing fuel use in 2010, according to the US Energy Information Administration's (EIA) latest Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (MECS). 10/25/2013

FAME Approves $25MM Loan Guarantee for Maine Torrefied Wood Plant

The Associated Press and local news report that the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) voted 8-5 last week to approve a $25 million bond for a biomass based torrefied wood pellet plant in Millinocket, Maine. 10/25/2013

The Campbell Group to Manage 4FRI Contract Forest Restoration Operations

Good Earth Power (GEP) has announced the appointment of The Campbell Group as the forest management company that will implement GEP’s Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) stewardship contract in Northern Arizona. 10/25/2013

Viridor Starts Construction on Peterborough Energy from Waste Facility

The United Kingdom's Peterborough City Council and Viridor marked the start of the construction of the City’s Energy from Waste facility yesterday with a formal ground breaking ceremony. 10/24/2013

Estover Energy Receives Planning Approval for South East England CHP Plant

United Kingdom (UK) based Estover Energy, Ltd has announced receipt of planning approval from the Dover District Council for its proposal to develop a £65 million biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant in the South East of England. 10/24/2013

Novus Plans Anaerobic Digestion Facility at the Port of Morrow, Oregon

Novus Pacific, LLC, a subsidiary of Novus Energy LLC, has submitted an application to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for an Anaerobic Digestion Composting Solid Waste Permit to operate a facility at the Port of Morrow. 10/24/2013

Vermont's Norwich University Plans Celebration of New Biomass Heating Plant

Vermont's Norwich University has announced that its new $6.2 million biomass heating plant began operating last week, and the celebration will be held this Friday, October 25th, with limited guest tours and a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:30 pm. 10/23/2013

Maverick Biofuels Awarded Three US Patents for Methanol to Mixed-Alcohols

Maverick Biofuels has announced that it has been awarded three US patents for producing a mixed-alcohol fuel from synthesis gas (syngas) by means of a methanol intermediate. 10/23/2013

KiOR Secures Equity Financing to Start Construction on Columbus II Project

Texas based KiOR, Inc has announced execution of $100 million in committed equity financing in two separate private placement transactions, completing the anticipated financing needed for the company's recently announced expansion of production capacity at its Columbus Project. 10/22/2013

California Center Selected To Lead US DOE Regional Clean Energy Partnership

The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) will receive $2.2 million over four years from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to provide support and technical assistance throughout California, Nevada, and Hawaii. 10/22/2013

Tesco Is First Major UK Retailer to Publish Food Waste Figures

United Kingdom based food retailer Tesco PLC has announced new food waste figures for its operations and supply chain, alongside figures that show 68 per cent of bagged salad is wasted and 35 per cent of this waste occurs in the home. 10/22/2013

Clariant Supplies CO2-SNG Catalyst for 1st Commercial 'Power-to-Gas' Plant

Switzerland based Clariant International Ltd has announced that it has supplied a proprietary developed CO2-SNG catalyst (waste carbon dioxide emissions to synthetic natural gas) for the methanation unit of Audi’s new power-to-gas facility in Werlte, Germany. 10/22/2013

The Week's Action Items

Due 01/30/2014: Applications for USDA Loans for Advanced Biofuels Projects

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the availability of $181 million to develop commercial-scale biorefineries or retrofit existing facilities with appropriate technology to develop advanced biofuels. 10/24/2013

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Waste to energy conversion technology (Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy 2013)


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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.