Teru Talk Newsletter with current news, action items, and some trash talk on matters of waste conversion for resource recovery.

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Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume I, Issue 4 -  March 21, 2011 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú") 
Teru's Trash Talk 

The term “symbiosis” was coined by a gentleman named Walter B. McDougall, a botanist who studied taxonomy and plant ecology under Asa Gray who wrote the first real plant tax manual for North America in the late 19th century. For Walter’s doctoral work, he studied forest interactions between, among other things, soil fungi and tree roots. He found that there was no clear boundary: fungal hyphae invaded and became part of the tree roots, and the fungal mass within that forest soil literally connected one tree to the next throughout the stand.


Fungus helps trees pick up nutrients; trees help the fungus with air and water uptake. These two very foreign bodies are symbionts; they are so closely linked as to effectively be one complex organism. When fungus does that with algae, you get lichen. When fungus hooks up tree roots, you get, well, one big genetically-connected plant showing up as a bunch of upright tree trunks, with some very particular mushrooms under them. I said, genetically connected: genetic material moves through soil fungus, along with other enzymatically-digested minerals and organics between tree root systems.


Be especially careful with those GMO FrankenBugs, folks; genetic material spreads. My old mentor Dr. McDougall, bless his botanist’s heart, thought “symbiosis” was a nice word.


Hey Rube!


The CEC’s revised draft 2011 Bioenergy Action Plan is on the agenda for approval this coming Wednesday, March 23rd. This draft has really been worked over compared to the one released last December 2010. Yes, we did submit comments on the first one. There was no formal request for comments this time, but we’ll submit some anyway, post them to Teru Talk for your reference, and attend the CEC’s March 23, 2011 Business Meeting. See you there? Say hello, if you come.


OK, so trying to comment on CalRecycle’s 382-page Draft Anaerobic Digestion Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (whew!) probably means you should actually read the document. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen … but you should comment, you know, or at the very least you need to understand what has (and perhaps what has not) been accomplished. So we will be providing our Cliff Notes version in our upcoming Focus Report that will be posted to Teru Talk sometime today. Oh, and at least try to get those comments in by April 4th.


The Week's News


Design Phase Begins on Waste Plastics to Fuel Plant in Ireland

Swiss engineering giant Foster Wheeler AG announced earlier this month that their firm has been selected for process engineering design services on Cynar Plc’s 6000 ton per year facility for conversion of waste plastics to liquid fuel. 03/20/2011


New Biofuels Cluster to Produce Fuel from Plant Waste

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has launched the new Cluster on Biofuels to focus on development and use of enzyme biotechnology techniques to produce liquid fuels from the cellulose and lignin solids of waste plant feedstocks. 03/19/2011


Lignol and Novozymes Complete Cellulosic Ethanol Production R&D Phase  Lignol Innovations, Ltd and Novozymes have successfully completed a major phase of cellulosic ethanol production research and demonstration (R&D). Lignol Innovations, Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lignol Energy Corp.  03/19/2011


Google Ventures Backs CoolPlanetBiofuels

Google’s investment arm, Google Ventures, has announced their investment in the Camarillo, California advanced biofuels company CoolPlanetBiofuels, backing the company’s development of technology for conversion of low-grade biomass into high-grade fuel and biochar. 03/19/2011


ZeroPoint’s Initiative Supports On-Landfill Biomass Gasification

New York headquartered biomass gasification company ZeroPoint Clean Tech, Inc has announced their Renewable CHP Solution initiative for integration of biomass gasification on landfill sites to support expansion of renewable energy generation. 03/19/2011


UK’s Aston University Developing Pilot Bioenergy-Bioproducts Plant

Aston University in Birmingham, United Kingdom (UK), announced that they are developing a £16.5m renewable low carbon technology laboratory, which will include a small scale biopower plant integrated with algae photo bioreactors.” 03/18/2011


EPA Proposes 3 Year CO2 Emissions Permitting Deferral for Bioenergy  The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would defer, for a period of three years, Title V and other greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting requirements for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from biomass-fired and other biogenic sources. 03/18/2011


UK’s Bore Hill Farms Redevelopment to Integrate Biogas Plant for CHP  United Kingdom (UK) based Malaby Biogas announced that redevelopment of the long-idle Bore Hill Farm complex in Wiltshire will include integrated combined heat and power supplied by anaerobic digestion of local and regional commercial organic food waste. 03/18/2011


Ballard & GS Platech to Demonstrate MSW Plasma Conversion for Fuel Cell  Canadian fuel cell company Ballard’s Power Systems division has announced their partnership with Korean company GS Platech to demonstrate plasma conversion of municipal solid waste (MSW) to hydrogen for fueling Ballard’s fuel cells. 03/18/2011


Greenleaf Biofuels Receives Initial Funding for 10 MGY Biodiesel Plant  Connecticut based Greenleaf Biofuels has received a “pre-seed” investment to support final engineering work and provide working capital for development of an initial 10 million gallon per year (MGY) biodiesel processing operation at New Haven Terminal, with a groundbreaking planned within 90 days. 03/16/2011


Korean Biogas Plant Converts Livestock Manure to Energy

As part of their global sustainability efforts, Cargill announced that they have helped fund and develop a pilot biogas plant on the Korean island of Jeju. 03/14/2011


The Week's Action Items

Due 05/10/2011, 06/09/2011: Applications for USDA Advanced Biofuels Funding  United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the USDA is seeking applications to increase the production and use of renewable energy sources with focus on advanced biofuels. 03/15/2011


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