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Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume IV, Issue 52, December 29, 2014 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú") 

Teru's Trash Talk

Ah, tis a time for reflection …and a time to wonder where the year went. Most of us watch something closely; Teru watches waste conversion. We observe trends, follow new efforts, and try to spot those oft-overlooked wonders that after decades of quiet work become the next "overnight success." Here are a few of our favorite 2014 highlights:

Biocoal demand is up - WAAAY up, and torrefied wood pellets from North America are bobbing their way across the Atlantic to replace fossil coal in ever increasing tonnages. Biochar is becoming a household word, or almost, with myriad ways proofing out that this biomass to charcoal stuff is proving useful by itself, or mixed in with mulch and microbes. Biomass is being converted into all sorts of apparently useful chemicals like glutaric acid, whatever that is - if someone needs it and you can make it out of waste, Game On.

The Big Ticket remains gathering up food waste, feeding it to microbes in absence of oxygen, and making biomethane for power, fuels, chemicals, and fertilizer. Everybody's doing it. Those "ancient" 1st generation ethanol plants are retrofit targets now, both for bolt-ons, and for full remakes to let them eat waste instead of corn, and bubble butanol instead of booze. Around practically forever: "dry fermentation" has pushed its way into the limelight as another effective way to turn organic residuals into useful biogas and fertilizer - without all that water.

It seems someone took a poll in Canada and found strong support for turning garbage into energy. Sometimes the simplest thing to do with waste is still the best: direct thermal conversion to power is a known science, tried and true, and often worthy of consideration. Non-incineration thermal conversion is finally being recognized for its utility and difference, as a continuum that proceeds from drying to pyrolysis to gasification to plasma. Just do the thermal trick cleanly.

Poor CalRecycle: the state auditors took a close look at what the agency has been doing and found a few problems. But then, what's a $100MM per year recycling deficit among friends? Other agencies fared better, notably with the surge of Green Banks opened globally, designed to put money back into the Circular Economy, novel concept.

The messier and more costly the waste, the more lucrative will be the conversion back to resources. Example: grease trap goo recovery and conversion to biodiesel got a boost this year. Reaching deeper into the communal muck, we find big companies partnering to turn an entire region's "gutter oil" (yuck) into aviation fuel, a far, far better idea than cooking with it again (and again). Then there's all that plastic - from tires to pop bottles, from illegal canyon fills to 5 trillion bits afloat on our oceans. Progress seen here, turning that stuff back into fuel and chemicals, but lots more work is needed in this very needy arena. Not simple to work with, but there certainly is no shortage and the mess we make with this kind of waste just screams for answers.

Hey Rube!

Remember that it requires both good technology and good operations to cleanly and cost-effectively convert waste for resource recovery. Now, head into 2015 enlightened and enthused, and do your part to turn our global garbage back to goods and all our waste to wealth

This Week's Top Story

B&W Vølund Will Build Waste-to-Energy Plant in East Lothian, Scotland

The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) has announced that a consortium that includes its Denmark-based subsidiary, B&W Vølund, has been awarded a $230 million (£147 million) contract to engineer, procure, and construct a waste-to-energy (WTE) power plant in East Lothian near Dunbar, Scotland. 12/23/2014

The Week's News

Envoland Launches Mobile Waste Plastics Pyrolysis Plant

Taiwan based Envoland Co., Ltd has launched a truck-mounted mobile pyrolysis platform for conversion of waste plastic to alternative fuels. The system integrates an automatic feed module, catalytic cracking and pyrolysis, heat exchange / cooling, and all controls. 12/27/2014

DOE Awards $3MM to SUNY College for Feedstock Logistics Research

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded up to $3 million to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in New York to to reduce the cost of delivering woody bioenergy feedstocks to biorefineries. 12/27/2014

WM Completes Divestiture of Wheelabrator to Energy Capital Partners

Waste Management, Inc (WM) has announced completion of the previously announced sale of Wheelabrator Technologies, Inc to an affiliate of Energy Capital Partners (ECP) for a cash sales price of approximately $1.94 billion. 12/23/2014

Neste Oil and REG Enter into Settlement and NEXBTL License Agreement

Neste Oil Corporation of Finland and Renewable Energy Group, Inc (REG), headquartered in Ames, Iowa, USA have entered into a Settlement Agreement in which the parties have settled Neste Oil's US patent infringement lawsuits against REG and REG's Singapore patent infringement lawsuits against Neste Oil. 12/23/2014

Corn Stover Harvest Trials Run in Iowa for Cellulosic Ethanol Refineries

In two Iowa cornfields in early November, Leifmark, LLC and New Holland Agriculture teamed up to test equipment and methods used to gather, bale, and store the corn stover left behind after the grain harvest. 12/23/2014

ATS Pilots Recyllose Recovery Process at Scottish WWTP

California based Applied CleanTech (ACT) has announced that its pilot project to test its SRS sewage recycling technology for wastewater being conducted with Scottish Water is showing promising results. 12/17/2014


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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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