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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume IV, Issue 4, January 27, 2014 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

The old R&B shout-out: "Can I Get a Witness?" is a good anthem for Waste Conversion efforts. No matter how many times we claim our techy thing works just fine, we need someone out there in the Real World to give it the Real Trial. "External Verification" happens when we grit our teeth and risk much to have bright people that aren't beholden to us size up our work.

People have been using that sort of outside review for everything, forever: "Here: taste this, tell me what you think." But when you've put in a decade of development and spent all the money you and all your friends can muster to get that technology up and ready for the marketplace, it is understandably nerve-wracking yet absolutely crucial to trust your Baby to someone else's hopefully-expert opinion. Our industry is no different from any other in needing outside proofing, but is comes at a steep price and carries the very real possibility of (cringe) Finding Something Wrong. It's infinitely better however to take a punch from within the relatively safe confines of a bona fide testing service than from a Customer.

The EPA has run six elite "Environmental Technology Verification" (ETV) centers since 1995, converting these from wholly federally funded to vendor-paid in 2007. The effort was designed to eventually become self-sufficient, and for that reason the EPA ended their ETV program last year - arguably, right when we need it the most. During their run, the Centers produced detailed reports on of over 500 technologies. One thing is sure: the non-profit technology testing labs like the Southern Research Institute will continue to offer pay-to-play efficacy verification. The Department of Defense has also been picking up some of the validation slack regarding both waste conversion and the broader field of alternative fuels production, continuing to test promising systems for military applications and often applying their Technology Readiness Level (TRL) metrics to such testing (as we chatted about in last week's Trash Talk).

Whatever the protocols chosen, it is the determination of optimal operational mode that is the testing target: what does this new tech system do best? No one design can ever be expected to meet all needs; there is no "silver widget." A developer will naturally seek to be the Best Available Technology, but the market needs to know where the magic box actually fits best into their own panoply of needs into the overall infrastructure. An outside testing service works to define the appropriate "envelope" of use, beyond which the new design really shouldn't be expected to perform.

Ah, but the glory, when the answer to that testing comes back a resounding Yes! That's the sort of affirmation you can take to the bank, or in the case of one waste conversion systems and project developer struggling with federal regulations, the kind of leverage you can use to fend off misguided rules enforcement. External Technology Validation: always the Gold Standard, for waste conversion technology commercialization.

Hey Rube!

What do you see as the most critical early-stage hurdles to waste conversion system commercialization? Don't just take the easy shot and say "Money", we all know that - but what is in the way of getting those crucial scheckles? If you've got specifics in mind, shout 'em out to Teru Talk, and we'll report back.

The Week's Extra Reading

Teru has just written a new article on " Gasification vs. Incineration " for your reading pleasure. This has been a contentious subject for many years, and still has a way to go, but there are signs of progress.

This Week's Top Story

Iogen Develops New Method to Make Drop-in Cellulosic Biofuels from Biogas

Ottawa, Canada based Iogen Corporation has announced that it has developed and patented a new method to make drop-in cellulosic biofuels from biogas using existing refinery assets and production operations. 01/24/2014

The Week's News

Chesterfield Biogas Selected to Build UK’s Largest Biomethane-to-Grid Project

United Kingdom (UK) based Pressure Technologies plc has announced that its subsidiary Chesterfield BioGas Limited has been awarded a £4.2 million contract to supply, install, and commission biogas upgrading equipment for a UK renewable energy project. 01/24/2014

BioAmber Plans 100,000 Ton Plant to Supply BDO Under Take-or-Pay Contract

Quebec, Canada based BioAmber, Inc has announced signing a 15-year master off-take agreement for bio-based 1,4-Butanediol (BDO) with Texas based Vinmar International. 01/24/2014

Renewable Energy Group Enters Industrial Biotech with Acquisition of LS9

Iowa based Renewable Energy Group, Inc (REG) announced that it has acquired leading renewable chemical technology developer LS9, Inc for a purchase price of up to $61.5 million, consisting of up front and earnout payments, in stock and cash. 01/23/2014

VTT's Biomass Supply Chains Speed Up Use of Bioenergy in Vietnam

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland announced that it has developed efficiency in the current biomass supply chains and power plant operations in Vietnam's Mekong Delta to increase the use of biomass fuels for energy. 01/23/2014

EU Funds Verbio for Biomethane from Straw Demo Project in Germany

Verbio AG has announced that the €22.3 million grant agreement has been signed and the demonstration project to convert straw to biomethane has now officially been launched. 01/23/2014

Blue Sun BioRefinery Commercializes Enzymatic Transesterification

Colorado based Blue Sun Energy has announced implementation of its enzymatic biodiesel processing technology at the Blue Sun St Joe Refinery in St Joseph, Missouri. 01/22/2014

EcoWASTE Platform Introduced During Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

EcoWASTE is a new regional platform introduced during this year's Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week with an exhibition held January 20-22, 2014 to support the urgent waste disposal challenges and needs in the Middle East. 01/22/2014

Elementa and the Ontario Power Authority Finalize Energy-From-Waste PPA

Ontario, Canada based Elementa Group Inc has announced that it has reached an agreement with the Ontario Power Authority to sell power from a new commercial-scale, energy-from-waste project to be built in Sault Ste. Marie. 01/21/2014

Global Bioenergies and AUDI Partner on Drop-in Biofuel for Gasoline Engines

France based Global Bioenergies has announced entering into a collaboration with the German car-manufacturer Audi on the development of isobutene-derived isooctane, a high performance biofuel for gasoline engines. 01/21/2014

Loans Available for Renewable Energy Projects in Developing Countries

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) have announced approximately $41 million in concessional loans for renewable energy projects in developing countries. 01/21/2014

Grand Canyon Railway's 1923 Steam Engine Runs on Waste Vegetable Oil

The Grand Canyon Railway (GCR) has announced that it will fire up its iconic 1923 steam engine for regularly scheduled runs from Williams, Arizona to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in 2014. 01/20/2014

Sonoco Dedicates $75MM Biomass Boiler Facility at South Carolina Plant

South Carolina based Sonoco Products Company has announced dedication of the new biomass boiler at its Hartsville paper manufacturing facility. 01/20/2014

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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.