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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter             Follow TeruTalk on Twitter

Volume I, Issue 34, October 17, 2011
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú") 

Teru's Trash Talk

Sometimes ya gotta love the Military Mindset. Let's take the Department of Defense (DoD) attitude to getting alternative fuels: "Gimme all you got now, and as much as you can make as soon as you can make it." My bet? We're witnessing a Game Changer for the entire industrial development of alternative fuels, with Biofuels being a major part (but not all) of that shift. How is this possible, when biofuels production is supposedly so costly, both environmentally and economically when compared to petroleum fuels? Because the DoD counts ALL the cost of getting that petrol from the Middle East, not just the price at the pump. Because instead of the Renewable Fuels Standard requiring new fuels to spew 50% less crud into our environment, the DoD just says, "do no worse." And because, well … because they can make the decisions, get the money and do the deed without paying much attention to the whimpers of the entrenched petroleum magnates, or the zealots among us who don't want anything to get built anywhere ever. The Navy's alternative energy motto: "We have the Land, and we have the Need!"


Our best brains from the National Academy morosely report that the way we're going about it, we just can't meet the Renewable Fuels mandated production and consumption volumes by 2020. Agreed. When you fail, yet persist in doing the same thing, you can expect more failure. Einstein called it insanity. The DoD has wisely followed Captain Kirk's directive regarding the Kobayashi Maru principle: when faced with an unwinnable situation, change the rules. 

Hey Rube!

Two "minor" changes to California’s most recently announced proposed Low Carbon Fuel Standard regulation (see our new Focus Report) deserve special notice: (a) there is no longer a minimum amount of biofuel necessary to qualify for Pathway registration, and (b) the agency says they need to see more examples of Ultra-Low Carbon Biorefineries. Looking at the LCFS Pathway Methods chalked up to date, we see little evidence that conversion of waste to fuel has any place at the table. The Air Resources Board hearing on proposed regs is set for December 15th and there will be a formal 45-day rulemaking and comment period starting in a little over a week to add Public Thoughts to agency staff documentation. If your process can squeeze out a few drops of Ultra-Clean Alternative Fuel, get registered; if you are making that fuel from waste-sourced feedstock for goodness sake Let ARB Know by filing comments before the hearing. We always whine that the Regs pin our industry down unfairly; now's when we can do something about that problem.

The Week's Extra Reading

The California ARB held its third and final public workshop last Friday on changes to the proposed Low Carbon Fuel Standard regulatory amendments. See Teru's Focus Report, Update on California's LCFS.


We also learned last week that presentations and video recordings of the 8th Annual California Biomass Collaborative Forum are now available online. Links are provided at the end of Teru's Focus Report, "Back from the Biomass Forum."

The Week's News

NAS and DoD Use Different Scales to Measure Value of Renewable Fuels The National Academy of Science (NAS) Research Council's Committee on Economic and Environmental Impacts of Increasing Biofuels Production has published "Renewable Fuel Standard: Potential Economic and Environmental Effects of U.S. Biofuel Policy (2011)." 10/16/2011


California’s Net Metering Program Now Includes Small Scale Biomass/Biogas Governor Brown signed the Renewable Energy Equity Act, Senate Bill 489 (Wolk), expanding California's Net Energy Metering (NEM) program beyond wind and solar to include small scale biomass, biogas and other forms of renewable power generation. 10/14/2011


Alter NRG and Coskata Complete Successful Waste Conversion to Ethanol Testing Canadian plasma developer Alter NRG Corp., owner of the Westinghouse Plasma technology, has completed successful testing for plasma conversion of waste feedstock to ethanol. 10/14/2011


Waste Management Takes Direct Equity Stake in InEnTec for Waste to Fuels Waste Management, Inc (WM) has announced the trade of its equity interest in S4 Energy for a direct ownership of equity in InEnTec, Inc. 10/14/2011


London Releases Shortlisted Proposal Details of Residual MSW to CHP Projects The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) has announced project details of three proposals for long term and sustainable use of Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF). 10/14/2011


Meadow Lake Tribal Council Plans 36 MWe Mill Waste Biopower Plant Saskatchewan's utility company SaskPower has signed a letter of intent with the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) to negotiate a 25-year power purchase agreement for a 36 megawatt biomass fueled power plant. 10/13/2011


Chemopolis Among Top 3 Biofuels Finalists in Global Cleantech Competition The Finnish biorefinery specialist Chemopolis Ltd announced its selection as one of the top three firms in the category of Renewable Energy, Biofuels in the Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA) 2011 competition. 10/13/2011


Chemtex JV Formed to Commercialize PROESA for Cellulosic Biofuels, Biochemicals Italy's Gruppo Mossi and Ghisolfi (M&G) through its Chemtex subsidiary has formed the joint venture BETA RENEWABLES for exclusive licensing of Chemtex' PROESA® cellulosic biofuels and chemicals platform. 10/13/2011


CleanMetrics Releases Waste Reduction and GHG LCA Modeling Tools Tracking and estimating the carbon footprint, waste reduction options, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and energy efficiency profile for industry has just received a boost with the release of two new value chain modeling-software packages from Oregon-based CleanMetrics Corporation. 10/13/2011


Primus Green Energy Pilot Produces and Tests Drop-in Bio-Gasoline Primus Green Energy has completed successful production and testing of a high-octane drop-in gasoline from conversion of cellulosic biomass at the firm's expanded New Jersey pilot. 10/13/2011


Bank of America Poised to Enter US Carbon Market Through California's AB 32 Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA) has announced an agreement with TerraPass, Inc. to procure and market California-standard carbon offsets through 2020 with credits generated by agricultural methane facilities (e.g. dairies) from TerraPass' portfolio of US greenhouse gas reduction projects. 10/12/2011


California's SGIP Re-Funded through 2014 to Support Renewable Energy Projects Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1150 (Perez) into law, re-instating funding for California's Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) and bringing needed support to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects including combined heat and power (CHP), waste heat recovery, and biogas to fuel cell energy generation. 10/12/2011


Calgary Will Host 2011 Global Clean Energy Congress & Exhibition

The Global Clean Energy Congress & Exhibition is scheduled for November 1-3, 2011 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Congress is the inaugural event dedicated to providing a platform for companies and innovators to showcase unique, cutting edge, sustainable technologies. 10/12/2011


Waste Bamboo-to-Biochar Project Receives USDA Funds

The Pacific Islands Area (PIA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the award of four conservation grants, one of which will support the employee-owned Whispering Winds Bamboo Cooperative in its efforts to convert bamboo timber processing waste to biochar. 10/11/2011


California's AB 341 Signed, Sets 75% Recycling Policy Goal by 2020  Among the plethora of bills signed by Governor Jerry Brown this past week was Assembly Bill 341 that sets a 75% recycling goal for California by 2020, developed by recycling advocacy group Californians Against Waste and sponsored by 1st District Assembly Member Wesley Chesboro (D – Eureka). 10/11/2011


Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech Partner for Waste Emissions to Aviation Biofuel In a move to reach beyond its commitment for a 30% carbon reduction per passenger kilometer by 2020, Virgin Atlantic announced its partnership with New Zealand-based LanzaTech for development of an emissions-to-jet fuel platform. 10/11/2011


Illinois Research Team Overcomes Major Barrier in Waste CO2-to-Fuel Pathway Research by University of Illinois Professor Paul Kenis's team in collaboration with retired professor Richard Masel's start-up company Dioxide Materials has resulted in development of a liquid catalyst to improve artificial photosynthesis. 10/10/2011


Biomass and Biogas Carbon Calculator for Carbon Intensity and GHG Released Great Britain's Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) as released the Biomass and Biogas Carbon Calculator, an on-line tool for determining carbon intensity (CI) and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) savings developed along the entire supply chain when using biomass and biogas for heating and electricity. 10/10/2011


Construction Starts in Sri Lanka on 1,000 Tons per Day MSW to Energy Plant The Malaysian based company Octagon Consolidated Berhad held a ground breaking ceremony at Karadiyana, Kesbewa, Colombo, Sri Lanka, for a US$ 248 million plasma gasification facility. 10/10/2011 

The Week's Action Items

Due 10/24/2011: Comments to Proposed Amendments to California’s LCFS The California Air Resources Board (ARB) held its third and final Public Workshop on Friday, October 14, 2011 to discuss proposed amendments to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) regulation. 10/16/2011  

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Featured Events:

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


Global Clean Energy Congress & Exhibition 
Global Clean Energy Congress & Exhibition
November 1-3, 2011
Calgary, Alberta, Canada



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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.