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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter              Follow TeruTalk on Twitter

Volume I, Issue 30, September 19, 2011
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú") 
The Sacramento region's Million Gallon Challenge for advanced biofuels will be presented in a free webinar this Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 11:00 am PDT. Teru will be one of the featured speakers. You can register online, but hurry.

Teru's Trash Talk

For some reason, the Nay Sayers are not frowning so much on Bio-Fuels and Bio-chemicals, as they have been for so long on Bio-Electricity. If we make some chemicals out of bio-this-'n-that, we're only putting some more chemicals into the Global Value Chain, into a marketplace that continues to gobble up anything Bo-Sourced. When we make electricity out of bio-stuff, it seems we are competing head to head with Those That Control the rest of the electricity, the entrenched Utilities. The Chemical Industry is presently buying up one after another of those nifty biotech companies that make foundation chemicals like succinic acid and the Oil Industry has been grabbing up the techy specialists that create drop-in biofuels. What is it about bio-sourced electricity generation that sets Utilities' teeth on edge? Why aren't those giants grabbing up bio-power generators left and right?


First of all, there is a WHOLE LOT MORE MONEY, pound for converted pound, in chemicals and fuels than there ever was, or probably ever will be, in electricity. Second, you can make chemicals and fuels and set them aside until the market is willing to pay more for them, instead of making and selling electricity on the spot, as generated, for whatever the momentary tariff will afford. Third, you can stick chemicals together with other chemicals to make more costly chemicals; you can refine raw biofuels into other more costly biofuels. Fourth … well, you get the idea: it's the Money, as always.


Now, we certainly NEED renewable, bio-sourced, base-load electricity. Solar and wind only spin the meter when the sun and the wind are respectively so inclined. Biopower cranks along, day and night, providing that surety of minimum service that everything else can depend on. But the Bang for the Buck is seldom sufficient … unless, perhaps, you are serving your own on-site needs (DG, or distributed generation), you are also using the thermal energy for heating and cooling (combined heat and power, or CHP) or … or you figure out how to FIRST make chemicals and/or fuel, then use what's left to make electricity.


Power's so last week. Chemicals and Fuels are where it's at.

Hey Rube!

In case you hadn't noticed, California's got a savvy ol' bird in the Gov's seat these days, one that isn't in there for the flash, one that quietly is doing the work. To get that work done, Governor Brown has put a few Newly Chosen in key spots and given all the agencies walking orders to figure out how to more effectively utilize Biomass. CEC and CDFA meet this coming week to hash out how biofuels development should fit into the AB 118 games and they are "seeking stakeholder input". So … INPUT, for goodness sake!

The Week's Extra Reading

Teru participated in the California Bioresources Alliance 6th Annual Symposium put on by the EPA Region 9 last week in Sacramento. Teru's Focus Report on the symposium, California Bioresources - Part 1, addresses the industry and agency perspectives on organic residuals (bioresources, biomass). Part 2 will be posted to Teru Talk later today.

The Week's News

Saria Invests in PDM Group, PDM Opens 1st ReFood Waste Digester in UK  German-based Saria Industries has secured a majority equity interest in the United Kingdom's (UK) PDM Group after the two firms have worked in partnership for several years. 09/18/2011


Mascoma Corporation Plans Initial Public Offering to Raise $100MM

New Hampshire-based Mascoma Corporation has filed a Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), seeking to raise up to $100 million in equity investments through an initial public offering (IPO). 09/18/2011


EPA Submits Biogenic CO2 Report to Science Advisory Board for Review The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Atmospheric Programs has released a substantive report for peer review entitled "Accounting Framework for Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources". 09/18/2011


Alphabet Energy Secures $12MM in Equity Funding for Waste Heat Conversion San Francisco based Alphabet Energy has increased their financial base in a Series E round of equity placement, raising $12 million with TPG Biotech, the life science venture investment arm of TPG leading the round. 09/17/2011


OPEC Project Will Produce Green Chemicals from Food Waste

The United Kingdom's University of York Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence has announced a multi-national project to develop and commercialize a new microwave-based process that can isolate valuable biochemicals from citrus processing wastes. 09/17/2011


BioAmber Selected for Bio-PBS Production Plant in Thailand

Minnesota's bio-sourced succinic acid specialists BioAmber, Inc will partner with PTTMCC Biochem Company for a biosourced polybutylene succinate (Bio-PBS) plant in Thailand. 09/17/2011


Oxford Catalysts Wins Kirkpatrick Engineering Excellence Award

Oxford Catalysts Group Plc (OCG), a United Kingdom based specialist in catalysis for synthetic oil production, has won the prestigious 2011 Kirkpatrick Chemical Engineering Achievement Award. 09/16/2011


FlexEnergy Applauds CPUC's Re-Up of the Self-Generation Incentive Program Clean power systems developer FlexEnergy, whose 250 kilowatt Flex Turbine and Flex Powerstation will qualify under the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) recently approved Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP; SB 412 of 2009), notes that biogas-fueled combined heat and power (CHP) applications can receive up to 60% of project costs or $2,500 per kilowatt in incentives. 09/16/2011


New Texas Law Will Simplify Emissions Permitting to Boost CHP Applications Texas House Bill 3268, signed into law in June by Governor Rick Perry, required the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to simplify air quality emissions permitting for combined heat and power (CHP) systems. 09/16/2011


Global Biofuel Information Tool Provides Map Based Overview of Biofuels The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has created and made available free of charge an on-line interactive map-based overview of biofuel development, the Global Biofuel Information Tool (GBIT). 09/14/2011


ACEEE Expands Program for Behavior and Human Dimensions

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has announced a key addition to its staff and expansion of its assessment capacity with the selection of Fulbright recipient Susan Mazur-Stommen as the Director of Behavior and Human Dimensions. 09/14/2011


International Alternative Fuel Technology Center Opens in San Antonio The Texas based Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has announced the launch of its cross-disciplinary International Alternative Fuel Technology Center (IAFTC) to help its clients reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and drive forward state and federal mandates for alternative fuel production and reduced emissions standards. 09/13/2011


EPA Hosts Free Webinar on GHG Regs for Combined Heat and Power Systems The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Combined Heat and Power Partnership program will be hosting a webinar this Thursday, September 15, 2011 to highlight new greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting regulations specifically for combined heat and power (CHP) systems, focusing on "GHG Requirements for CHP Systems.". 09/13/2011


California Agriculture Biofuel Forum Scheduled for September 22, 2011 The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) will be holding a joint-agency public forum on agriculture business and the biofuel industry, and is seeking public input. 09/13/2011  

The Week's Action Items

Due 10/03/2011: Comments to CDFA-CEC on California Agriculture Biofuel Issues The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) is seeking public comment from the agriculture business and the biofuel industry on California agriculture biofuels issues. 09/14/2011


Due 11/03/2011: Proposals for High Value Biochemical Development The United Kingdom's (UK) Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is opening a competitive grants program to fund the development and commercialization of processes to manufacture bio-sourced chemicals. 09/17/2011


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Featured Events:

2011CHP Combined Heat and Power Conference & Trade Show  
October 17-19, 2011
Houston, Texas

Sacramento Clean Tech Showcase 
Clean Tech Showcase
October 24, 2011
Sacramento, California



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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.