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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume I, Issue 43, December 19, 2011 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "TerĂº")  

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! Just wanted to let you know that our newsletter will go out Tuesday the 27th next week.

Teru's Trash Talk

China's got a problem making biodiesel. The country regulates who can collect and who can convert, but it seems only about one third of the used cooking oil collected makes it to the biodiesel processors. The rest is being filtered and resold to restaurants. Testing shows around 90% of the oil now in re-circulation is contaminated with the toxic breakdown products that accumulate when veggie and animal oils are repeatedly hit with high heat. This may put a new spin on the old "food or fuel" fight.


We read that we Humans waste a huge amount of food, but then learn most of that waste occurs during original processing. Only one in three apples make it to the grocery store shelf; more than half the rice-plants grown are straw, not grain. Instead of paying to dispose of that "extra" stuff, we're starting to learn to convert it into more Product for the marketplace, which means more money for the farmer. But as we can tell from the Chinese cooking oil fiasco, not everything can or should be recycled, or even composted. Sometimes we really DO need to pull stuff from the market cycle, un-bake the cake, and put the molecules back to work in totally different forms. And we have the tools to do that with, safely and cleanly.


It isn't just Food that fits the story; right now, California is working the kinks out of what to do with old Carpet to keep the sheer tonnage out of the landfill, while the UK is struggling with this same problem (the two should compare notes). Lots of carpet can be pulled apart, the fibers made back into more carpet or at least made into carpet pads, but that recycling cycle only goes so far. Then what? The non-recyclable stuff makes good fuel for energy, surely it's under consideration and far better than the dump. Along the value chain between recycling and incineration we have Conversion; those synthetic polymers can be carefully vaporized, vacuum-separated by types of molecules, and turned back into chemical building-blocks and clean fuel. That HAS to be better than buying more crude from Iran.


This tussle over where Waste Conversion fits in the hierarchy, what methods can be approved as simple re-manufacturing and what gets shelved because of fear and old money will play out more and more often now in our agencies and our courts. We'll continue to bring you, Dear Reader, the blow-by-blow.

Hey Rube!

California's waste management department CalRecycle is taking a novel approach to changing regulations, one I really don't remember happening in the 30 years I've been dogging this business; agency staff have been working with stakeholders to identify the Issues, THEN asking what pieces of the standing regulations might need to be fixed to clear those barriers. It's a subtle difference, looking for solutions instead of excuses. Everyone meets again this week to dig a bit deeper into the dozen or so key Issues we've agreed need Solutions, and gently try to nudge the regulatory structure back toward sanity over the next few months. You should come too.

The Week's News

Coskata Files for Proposed $100MM IPO

Illinois based Coskata Inc. has announced a proposed initial public offering (IPO) of common stock with the filing of a Form S-1 registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. 12/17/2011


CalRecycle Schedules Informal Workshop on Potential Regulatory Changes The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has announced an informal Public Workshop to be held on December 21, 2011 at the Cal EPA building in Sacramento from 9:00 am to noon. 12/16/2011


Mascoma Receives $80MM from DOE, Michigan Biorefinery Now Fully Funded New Hampshire's waste-to-fuels company Mascoma Corporation has announced an award of $80 million from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for the proposed commercial-scale hardwood cellulosic ethanol facility in Kinross, Michigan. 12/16/2011


City of Glendale Approves Zero Waste Plan, including Food Waste AD The Glendale City Council in Los Angeles County approved a Zero Waste Plan and Extended Producer Responsibility program at its December 6, 2011 meeting. 12/15/2011


Digester Designer GHD is now DVO, Expands to Asia, EU, South America Plug-flow digester company GHD, Inc has changed its name to DVO, Inc, and announced expansion of services for export of its technology to farmers in South Korea, Serbia, Chile and Canada. 12/15/2011


Enerkem Raises $15MM Equity Financing from WM, EB for Edmonton Plant Montreal's waste to biofuels company Enerkem has announced equity placements by Waste Management Inc (WM) and EB Investments totaling C$15 million toward subsidiary Enerkem Alberta Biofuels L.P., currently under construction in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. 12/15/2011


Inbicon Certifies Harris Group for North American Biorefinery Buildout Denmark's waste to biofuels firm Inbicon is expanding operations and has announced certification of the Harris Group Inc as meeting all of the standards necessary for engineering Inbicon commercial scale biorefineries in North America. 12/15/2011


Neste Oil Plans 1st Waste-Sourced Bio-Oil Plant in Porvoo, Finland Finland-based global refining and marketing company Neste Oil Corporation has announced plans to build a waste-sourced bio-oil production facility in Porvoo, Finland, already the site of Neste's main base-oil refinery. 12/15/2011


City of Ottawa Awards 20-yr Waste Conversion to Energy Contract to Plasco The Ottawa City Council approved a 20 year contract with Plasco Energy Group to convert a portion of the City's solid waste with Plasco's plasma gasification process to energy, deferring the need for a new city landfill until 2070. 12/14/2011


DOE Launches Program to Help Business use National Lab Discoveries The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced  a new pilot program to speed commercialization of critical discoveries from DOE labs. 12/14/2011


FuelCell Energy and Abengoa Target Biofuel to Fuel Cell Market

California-based FuelCell Energy has announced a partnership with Abengoa S.A. to develop localized stationary ultra-clean fuel cell power plants. 12/13/2011


Shanks Opens Cumbria MBT Plant for Waste Conversion Ahead of Schedule United Kingdom waste management company Shanks Group LLC. has announced the opening a mechanical-biological treatment (MBT) facility for household waste three months ahead of schedule in Hespin Wood, Carlisle. 12/13/2011


Mule Dung Biogas Plant Installed for India Cave Shrine

Local press for the Jammu and Kashmir region of India reports that the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) has installed a 4 tonne per day anaerobic digester (AD) near the pilgrimage base camp, and will soon commission the plant. 12/13/2011


International Research Team Engineers Rice Straw for Biofuels Production Researchers from Washington State University Pullman and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have teamed with the National Chiayi University in Taiwan to engineer rice straw to produce enzymes facilitating its cellulosic hydrolysis, without significantly impacting the food value of the rice grain. 12/12/2011


LanzaTech Takes Two Top Global Honors for Emissions Conversion Technology New Zealand based LanzaTech has announced receipt of two world-class 2011 clean tech awards, taking top honors with an Award of Excellence as Platts Global Energy's "Sustainable Technology Innovation of the Year". 12/12/2011


BIOCORE Produces 2nd Generation Ethanol Through Waste Straw Conversion The European Union's 18 month old multi-national collaborative project "BIOCOmmodity REfinery", or BIOCORE, has announced success in advanced non-food sourced biofuel pathway development and implementation with the pilot-scale production of 2nd generation bioethanol. 12/12/2011

The Week's Action Items

Due 01/16/2012: Comments on CEQA IS/ND for California Carpet Stewardship Plan California's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has released the most recent draft California Carpet Stewardship Plan submitted by Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE). CalRecycle's approval of the Plan is being considered a "project" under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). 12/17/2011



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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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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.