Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume VI, Issue 2, January 11, 2016 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

There are two main elements to the Circular Economy: the Technology, and the Human. That's just as true for the rest of our advanced civilization as for resource recovery. Failure is assured when we concentrate only on one side of that equation and lose perspective of the other. A gizmo may be designed with the perfect set of electronics, but if the operator won't RTFM (er, read the fancy manual), the thing won't work right. And the best corporate intentions can't make up for a bad system design. Folks call this the Human-Technology Interface.

Engage brain, and then start equipment: that's the rule. Put a really good operator together with an excellent system, and Magic can happen. Somehow along the circular pathway from new stuff to old stuff and back again, those two key elements have to work together for efficient resource recovery. We want to Re-Invent the design of the things we make, Re-Think the way we buy, use, and reuse goods, and Re-Define what we do with used stuff instead of dumping it. Easier said than done: let's visit some catch-points along the path.

Styrofoam clam-shell food containers and plastic film shopping bags are being banned as unsustainable, but paper cups leak and paper bags tear. Food keeps longer if it is carefully wrapped, yet folks want to see what they are buying.  A garbage disposal in your sink can grind up most leftovers, but old cooking oil and rice-water-starch makes Grease-Bergs that clog your sewer line. Supermarkets may want to put unsalable produce in a special container destined for their local commercial food waste converter, but there's that 17-year-old & 7-second truism: the kid handling the job in the back won't give a bad apple more than a seven-count before tossing it somewhere , so if the store really wants proper separation to happen there must good training, repeated often.

Then there's the local Anaerobic Digester, or AD system. The thing works because live microbes thrive inside, because the design siphons off biogas before it blows up, because somebody maintains it each and every day. The digester-bugs have to digest; the operators better be on their toes with time, temperature, and retention. Yes, AD works like a charm, as long as at least as much thought has gone into the Human side of the equation as into the design of the technology.

Every step along the way, we need to consider how those that run things interact with the things they run. If our industry just focuses on the Human-Technology Interface as it pertains to waste conversion for resource recovery, we will do our part to secure a circular materials flow.

Our kids are smart, more intuitive than we give 'em credit for. They GET this human-techy interface conundrum; just watch them work your cell phone. Let's make sure that while we're congratulating ourselves on advanced waste conversion technology development and implementation, we take the time to train the Young Humans who will eventually run everything.

Hey Rube!

The US Department of Energy's 2016 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in March will include a panel on The Human-Technology Interface: How to Make or Break Tech. Will you be there?

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This Week's Extra Reading

Value of Integrating 2nd Gen Co-Products into 1st Gen Ethanol Production

Researchers in the Department of Chemical Engineering in Sweden's Lund University have released findings on the integration of first generation ethanol production with second generation lignocellulosic co-production. 01/05/2016

This Week's Top Story

First US Resource Recovery MBT Facility Breaks Ground in West Virginia

Entsorga West Virginia (WV) has announced the groundbreaking of the first resource recovery facility in the US to utilize Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT).  01/07/2016

The Week's News

Agenda for 2016 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit Is Now Available

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has hosted the annual Energy Innovation Summit for the past six years. 01/09/2016

Canada Invests $4M in Development of Next Generation Clean Technologies

The Discovery Frontiers initiative of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has awarded a $4 million grant to a nation-wide team for investigation and development of three inter-related clean energy challenges. 01/09/2016

Rolls-Royce Tests Confirm 50% Emissions Reduction Using Virent Bio-Jet

Bio-jet emissions testing by Rolls-Royce confirmed that jet fuels containing Virent’s BioForm® Synthesized Aromatic Kerosene (SAK) fuel blend produced a 50% to 80% reduction in particulate matter emissions depending on engine operating conditions as compared to conventional jet fuel. 01/08/2016

Company Executives Join AEE Board to Spur Growth of Clean US Energy

Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) announced that executives of seven market-leading companies have joined its board of directors to support the business group's efforts to spur the growth of secure, clean, affordable energy in the United States. 01/08/2016

Reverdia and BioAmber Sign Non-Assert Agreement on Bio-Succinic Acid

The Netherlands based Reverdia and Canadian company BioAmber Inc have signed a non-assertion (non-assert) agreement concerning Reverdia's Biosucciniumâ„¢ technology. 01/07/2016

RENAC Offers Training in Private Finance for Green Energies

The Berlin based Renewables Academy AG (RENAC), in cooperation with the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia & Pacific (ADFIAP) has announced the three-year scholarship program "Green Banking - Capacity Building for Development and Commercial Banks on Climate Finance". 01/07/2016

Buckinghamshire County Council Awards Food Waste Contract to Shanks

Shanks Group plc has been awarded a food waste contract by Buckinghamshire County Council to manage the treatment of approximately 7,000 tonnes of food waste in the northern part of Buckinghamshire. 01/06/2016

New California Laws for 2016 - Organics Recycling, Infrastructure in Focus

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) composed a year-end roundup of new legislation include those that improve organics management, create tax incentives to increase the state’s recycling infrastructure, and bolster CalRecycle’s ability to collect recycling and disposal data. 01/06/2016

 Amyris Signs First Biofene® Ingredient Supply Agreement

California based Amyris, Inc has announced signing its first Biofene® ingredient supply agreement for the global nutraceuticals and vitamins market. 01/04/2016

Global Bioenergies Delivers First Batch of Drop-in Bio-Isobutene Fuel to Audi

French company Global Bioenergies and Audi have announced signing a new collaboration agreement to further broaden the feedstock flexibility of Global Bioenergies’ Isobutene process. 01/04/2015

The Week's Action Items

Due 02/05/2016: Comments to AFRL on EA for Red Rock Biofuels Biorefinery

Red Rock Biofuels LLC is developing a domestic commercial-scale military specification transportation fuel production facility in Lake County, Oregon, capable of using woody biomass feedstocks. 01/09/2016

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Recommended Reading:

 CHAGALL: The Recycling Dragon
CHAGALL: The Recycling Dragon
by Marty Strauss

Out of the Wasteland: Stories from the Environmental Frontier by Paul Relis  
Out of the Wasteland: Stories from the Environmental Frontier by Paul Relis


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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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