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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume III, Issue 50, December 16, 2013 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Here's another buzz word we can chew on, another term that gets people who are interested in finding and using waste conversion technology painted into a tight corner: Commercial.

"We have to have a Conversion Technology that is commercial somewhere." "That company isn't commercial yet; they are still at the demonstration stage." "The risk is too high: they have not been commercially proven." "Too early to work with them: they don't have a commercial project."

It's as if the condition of being commercial just magically occurs at some point, when actually commercialization happens in stages and by degrees. And just how are we applying the word? Are we talking about a commercial company, or a commercial technology, or a commercial facility, or … or what?

Let's say a well-established "commercial" company gets a contract and installs their anaerobic digester at a operational food processing plant: they've certainly entered into a Commercial Agreement. If the same company installs the same digester at a National Lab to fine-tune the technology, write research papers and garner bragging rights, that's not a Commercial deployment, that's Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D). Same technology, different application.

"Projects" are things we are in the process of doing. Keeping that in mind, here's a mind-bending oxymoron: Commercial Project. By the time a development is up and running, making (or losing) money, it is no longer a Project, it's a Facility. Let's put a finer point on that problem: when that Commercial Company sold their anaerobic digester to another company that runs the Food Processing Plant, where's the "project"? If all goes as planned, it's simply an equipment installation. That AD unit gets integrated right into the overall processing system at the facility like any other piece of needed equipment.

Ah! There's an important concept: if all goes well, we'll never see the full market penetration of waste conversion technologies. These complex pieces of equipment and the methods needed to run them are rapidly becoming common place, and soon will be just about as exciting as a pump, a grinder or a generator. It's just that we don't have easy ways to do "comparison shopping" for small-footprint Anaerobic Digesters … yet. So when a City tries to figure out what sort of Conversion Technology will safely and cost-effectively turn their organic slops into fuel and power, they have to start by looking for units that are already up and running, that are backed by proper service and not costing more than they are worth, that are Commercial.

Not that the usual search process is simple, or even very effective. If you send out a Request for Qualification to Commercial Companies and ask them if they can build and operate what you need, of COURSE they are going to tell you exactly what you want to hear. That's just Business, folks.

Hey Rube!

Every project site is different; every suite of agencies has their own twist to their approval process. Whether the conversion equipment you seek is running in the UK or in downtown Boulder, it is still in Commercial Operation. When you look over this week's News, think about the stage of commercialization represented by each development. Good News: it's working.

This Week's Top Story

Nexterra to Provide Biomass Gasification System for 10 MW Birmingham Plant

Colorado based MWH Global, Inc has announced that MWH Treatment has secured the contract from Birmingham Bio-Power Ltd to design, build, and maintain a new 10.3 MW biomass gasification facility in Tyseley, Birmingham, United Kingdom (UK). 12/13/2013

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.


CR&R Receives SCAQMD 'Permit to Construct' Organic Waste AD Facility

California based CR&R Environmental Services has announced receipt of a Permit to Construct from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) for an organic waste anaerobic digestion recycling facility. 12/13/2013

USDA, Navy's 'Farm-to-Fleet' Program Will Blend Biofuels with Standard Fuels

Secretaries of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Navy have announced that the USDA and Navy's joint "Farm-to-Fleet" venture will now make biofuel blends part of regular, operational fuel purchase and use by the military. 12/13/2013

UK DEFRA Releases Waste Management Plan for England

The United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has released the "Waste Management Plan for England" bringing current and planned waste management policies together in one place, and providing an analysis of waste management in England. 12/13/2013

Braskem, Genomatica Partner for Commercial Development of Biobutadiene

Brazilian company Braskem S.A. and California based Genomatica, Inc have announced an agreement for the joint development of commercial process technology to make bio-based butadiene from renewable feedstocks. 12/11/2013


Commissioning Begins at Three Tamar Energy AD Facilities in the UK

London based Tamar Energy Limited has announced that three new anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities with a combined capacity of 6 MW have been built at various locations in the United Kingdom (UK), and are entering the commissioning phase. 12/11/2013

BDI-Bioenergy Starts Up Multi-Feedstock Biodiesel Plant in France

Austria based BDI-BioEnergy International AG has announced that the biggest Multi-Feedstock BioDiesel plant in France (Le Havre) has been completed and brought into operation successfully. 12/11/2013

OriginOil Launching Permanent Technology Showcase at Model Fish Farm California based OriginOil Inc has announced that it will inaugurate its Permanent Technology Showcase at the model sustainable fish farm Aqua Farming Tech near the Salton Sea on December 18th. 12/11/2013

Future of North America's Database of Wood to Energy Facilities Is Ensured

The US Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) has announced a new partnership with three associations representing various segments of the wood-to-energy sector to ensure continuation of www.Wood2Energy.ORG. 12/10/2013

Construction Starts on £81m Derry/Londonderry Renewable CHP Plant

The United Kingdom (UK) Green Investment Bank and the Northern Ireland based Evermore Group have announced the onset of construction of an £81m biomass renewable power plant being built on a Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners site at Lisahally. 12/10/2013

Britain’s Largest Coal-Fired Power Station Opens 1st Coal-to-Biomass Plant

Britain's largest coal-fired power station is about to become one of Europe’s biggest renewable electricity generators with the opening today of the Drax Group plc's coal-to-biomass conversion plant, and with new FEED funding to further the White Rose CCS project, also based at the site. 12/09/2013

Methes Energies Signs LOI to Acquire Assets of OTC Energy Technologies

Nevada based Methes Energies International Ltd has announced signing a Letter of Intent (LOI) to acquire the assets of OTC Energy Technologies Inc. (OTC), including all of OTC's technologies and knowhow relating to the conversion of several types of biomass into a chemical quality synthesis gas (syngas). 12/09/2013

Waste2Tricity Acquires Exclusive License for Alter NRG Plasma Technology

Waste2Tricity Ltd (W2T) has announced that its subsidiary Waste2Tricity International (Thailand) Limited, has converted its option for exclusive access to the Alter NRG Corp Westinghouse Plasma Gasification Technology in Thailand into a full exclusive license agreement. 12/09/2013

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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.