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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter            Follow TeruTalk on Twitter

Volume I, Issue 25 -  August 15, 2011  
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú") 


Teru's Trash Talk  

Turning over every rock along a path exposes things we may not want to see. When we take a Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) approach to understanding the real-world impact of developing and using biofuels, we will invariably identify aspects that are not all so pretty. In fact, no matter WHAT we might look at from that source-to-endpoint perspective, we're bound to spot the good, bad and the abominable. The alternative is what we have always done: cover our communal eyes and enjoy the products. Don't watch the grinder, just enjoy the sausage.


The Problem comes when we want to honestly compare products, say Bio-sourced Fuels and Petro-sourced Fuels. We roll up to the pump and fill that 20-gallon-plus tank, roll away and hope like crazy we don't have to really know how that stuff got there. We are not going to stop filling up just because somewhere (else) there's literal devastation occurring as a result of producing that fuel. But more and more people are choosing to fill up with BioDiesel, instead of PetroDiesel. Why? Well, just maybe underneath we'd rather not buy the bad karma with the gas.


It is maddening, yet heartening, to know that all over the planet groups are currently trying to untangle the LCA of transport fuels. Europe has a dozen or so efforts on-going. Right here in the Golden State, we're working on the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, sorting and comparing biofuels and petrofuels. Now, we're going all the way back to the growers and the collectors, the well-drillers and the miners, working along the Supply Chain through conversion to Product development.


Lots to do; always lots to do. It just seems like it shouldn't be so darn hard to figure out that making fuel for our planes, trains and automobiles from waste french-fry cooker oil or waste plastic or waste wood or… waste whatever, has to be better than paying for what getting all that crude oil really costs.


Hey Rube!


There's a new law in California that expects us property owners to pay some of the cost of keeping our surrounding "Urban-Wildland Interface" (yep, that's called the "WUI", folks) from burning up, and burning us up with it. Assembly Bill 29 puts a charge on living where there is something more than concrete and just how that is going to play out is up for grabs. For us that are interested in extracting Biomass from the woods in a way that clearly helps, this new law may be just what the BioEnergy Doctor ordered. Or not, it's already being contested. Teru will track the process and let you know when to Stand Up.

The Week's Extra Reading

The California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is under development and Teru submitted comments last Friday to the LCFS Advisory Workgroup on their Workplan Version 2. The Advisory Group is responsible for oversight of the LCFS program planning process and the Workplan is their roadmap. Comments are due today.

The Week's News 


PNNL Researchers' New Enzymatic Catalyst Makes Hydrogen Gas – Fast  Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) report that their new nickel-based enzymatic catalyst separates hydrogen from water at a rate of abut 100,000 molecules per second, much faster than previously accomplished by natural plant enzyme action. 08/13/2011


Air Products Receives Planning Permission for Plasma Waste to Energy Plant  United Kingdom (UK) based Air Products has received planning permission from the Stockton on Tees Borough Council for their proposed Tees Valley Renewable Energy Facility. 08/13/2011


Metso Wins 8th Contract in Germany for Modular CHP Biomass Plant

International energy, paper and mining giant Metso Corporation announced that they have secured their eighth contract for a modularized bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) gasification based power plant to be delivered by their Metso-Wärtsilä (MW Power) joint venture. 08/13/2011


BASF and Purac Negotiate JV for Commercial Production of Bio-Succinic Acid  Global chemistry giant BASF and Netherlands-based Purac (a subsidiary of CSM nv) have announced negotiations for formation of a joint venture (JV) to produce commercial quantities of bio-sourced succinic acid at Purac's facility near Barcelona, Spain. 08/12/2011


DOE Releases 2011 Update of the Billion Ton Biomass Supply

The US Department of Energy's Knowledge Discovery Framework (DOE/KDF) has announced release of their 2011 "U.S. Billion-Ton Update: Biomass Supply for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry" (2011 BT2). 08/12/2011


BC Hydro Will Invest $300 Million in Four Biomass to Bioenergy Projects  BC Hydro has announced selection of two developers for four British Columbia, Canada bioenergy projects totaling 104 megawatts (MWe) capacity, for an investment of over $300 million. 08/12/2011


MagneGas Signs MOU for First Liquid Waste to Fuel Satellite Operation  Florida plasma specialist MagneGas has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with waste recycling and treatment company Grease Depot Inc. (GDI) for installation and operation of a liquid waste to hydrogen-based fuel production plant at GDI's facility in Clearwater, Florida. 08/11/2011


UK Expert Advisory Group Considers Waste and Residue Conversion to Biofuels  Presentations considering management of waste and residuals under the European Union's Renewable Energy Directive (EU RED) have now been posted on-line from the most recent meeting of the United Kingdom's Expert Advisory Group for the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). 08/11/2011


IDB's New Costa Rica Strategy Includes Financing for Renewable Energy  The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Board of Directors has announced their approval of a new country strategy for Costa Rica which includes a financing framework of between $700 million and $1.6 billion over the next three years. 08/10/2011


SARTA's CleanStart Initiative Offers Free Advanced Biofuels Webinar

The Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA) CleanStart initiative will host an informal webinar on advanced biofuels and the Greenwise Sacramento program's “Million Gallon Challenge” on September 20, 2011 starting at 11:00 am PDT. 08/10/2011


California's New SRA Wildfire Prevention Fund Will Support Biomass Removal  The California Fire Safe Council reports that the cost of excess biomass clearing and collection necessary for fire prevention within any State Responsibility Area (SRA) may now be partially funded through emergency session Assembly Bill 29 (AB 29x1), the now-chaptered SRA Fire Prevention Fund legislation, which will in turn improve access to biomass supply for clean conversion to energy, fuels and other products. 08/10/2011


Cortec Launches EcoOcean Biodegradable Thin Film Plastics

Bioplastics company Cortec Corporation has announced the commercial availability of their EcoOcean line of highly degradable thin film packaging plastic intended to easily decompose in marine environments, under anaerobic digestion (AD) processing and in "backyard" low-temperature composting conditions. 08/09/2011


EPA Proposes RCRA Exemptions for Geologic Carbon Sequestration

In an attempt to address Interagency Task Force findings released a year ago on the topic, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has responded with a proposed rulemaking to exclude control of certain carbon dioxide emission streams from their hazardous waste regulations when injected into qualified wells for geologic sequestration (GS). 08/09/2011


Canadian $17.5MM Grant Supports Pulp Mill Wastewater-to-Energy Project  The Government of Alberta has granted Millar Western Forest Products $17.5 million to develop the mill's Bioenergy Effluent Project in Whitecourt, Alberta, Canada. 08/09/2011


Denver Zoo Tests Gasification of Zoo Waste for CCHP and Landfill Diversion  Construction has begun on the Denver Zoo's massive Asian Tropics project, and to provide combined cooling, heating and power (CCHP) to the facilities, the zoo is testing biomass gasification systems. 08/08/2011


UN Seeks Global Input, Launches Biofuels Feedstock Producers Questionnaire  The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN/FAO) Bioenergy and Food Security Criteria and Indicators (BEFSCI) initiative has seeking global input from bioenergy feedstock producers to highlight sustainable bioenergy development. 08/08/2011


Vanguard Synfuels Refurbishes and Re-Opens 15 MGY Louisiana Biodiesel Plant  A 15 million gallon per year (MGY) biodiesel facility in rural Pollock, central Louisiana, has been retooled by local owners Vanguard Synfuels and is ready for the grand re-opening scheduled for August 8, 2011. 08/08/2011


The Week's Action Items


Due 09/30/2011: Comments to Ireland's New National Waste Policy

Ireland's Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government is seeking comments on its recently published discussion paper, "Towards a New National Waste Policy." 08/11/2011


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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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