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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume II, Issue 1, January 3, 2012 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

We made some progress in the face of prevailing winds in 2011. Hitting the high points of where we've been is encouraging and can give us a glimpse of where we are going in 2012. Maybe.


The Military / Industrial Complex seems to have rung the starting bell on transport biofuels and now can't get enough … in spite of the $15/gallon start-up price. Measured against the cost in security and blood, it ain't so bad. With the quantities being ordered, prices for jet, truck, boat, and train fuel will start coming down pretty quick, just as with any other first off-the-shelf commodity. Most of the world's major airlines are joining the Aviation Biofuels game along with the Navy: presto! Real Demand.


Small-scale anaerobic digestion units, home-sized up to modest community scale, are being cheaply installed all over the world (except in our own advanced USA) to turn critter poop and food waste into non-stinky cooking gas and home heating: 45,000 units were installed in India alone during 2011! It is a little less common but an increasing practice to hook that low-grade biogas up to run an engine and make power, but then not all "civilizations" want or need as much electricity as we crave. With California's broadening of the Net Metering regs, we should be able to set up our own little AD units at home and spin the meter backwards with biogas. Let Teru Talk know if you've got a good package design.


Food waste of all kinds has become the low-hanging (waste) fruit to feed larger AD systems, pulped and mixed into stand-alone digesters or as Special Sauce to make happy bugs in advanced waste water treatment plants. Either way, those microbes put out more biogas. We've figured out how to use pressure and hot water to smush tough biomass down, and enzymes to dissolve if further, which lets us feed those bugs things like corn cobs (there's a joke in there somewhere), rice straw, even wood chips. And biogas isn't just for buses any more; it gets compressed and bottled or injected into high-pressure natural petro-natural gas pipelines. It runs ultra-clean turbines and fuel cells. With the right catalysts, that methane-rich biogas can be turned into all sorts of liquid fuels and chemicals.


Some of the coolest of the Hard Working Microbes do their magic with not much more than the carbon monoxide laden emissions from steel mills and other industrial facilities. Some churn out to specification Green Chemicals and Biofuels directly: Garbage in, Fuel out. With some, you bubble the syngas from thermal conversion processes through their hungry selves and get all sorts of short-chain alcohols. Some do their magic in a thin soup, others like a thick slurry, but all have added amazingly to our options for Waste Conversion … 2011 was a Bug's World.

Hey Rube!

Now, we know this isn't exactly "Waste Conversion" but it is at least a really different Re-Use. UC research scientists Want Your Old Socks! Visit their web site and then raid your sock drawer. Really.

The Week's Extra Reading

CalRecycle has begun a process of regulatory reform to integrate recycling oversight with the rest of the state's waste management purview. Teru's Focus Report on CalRecycle's Regulatory Clean-up looks at the first four issues addressed in the last  workshop.


Teru has concerns about California's Draft "Green Chemistry" regulations extending the DTSC's purview and authority into CalRecycle's waste management arena, and he has submitted his comments to the final draft.

The Week's News

India Adds 3,815 Renewable MWe and 45,000 Anaerobic Digesters in 2011 The Government of India, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, has released a summary of renewable energy progress during 2011, citing a total new installed capacity of 3,815 megawatts of renewable electricity (MWe). 12/31/2011


EERC Pilot Project Gasifies Coffee Processing Waste for Energy

The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota has announced a pilot project to convert Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) process and facility wastes to energy. 12/31/2011


CEC Releases Report - Renewable Power in California: Status and Issues The California Energy Commission (CEC) has announced release of the Lead Commissioner Report on "Renewable Power in California: Status and Issues" (CEC-150-2011-002-LCF-REV1). 12/31/2011


CARB Responds to Federal Injunction on LCFS Regs, Issues Advisory

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued several rulngs yesterday, including an injunction staying implementation of California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) regulations. 12/30/2011


California Will Consider Changes to SRA Fire Prevention Fund Regulations The California Board of Forestry will revisit the emergency Title 14 regulations adopted to implement Chapter 13 - State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fees, and consider revisions in a Public hearing at its January 11, 2012 meeting at the Resources Building in Sacramento. 12/30/2011


BP Invests in Cool Planet Biofuels for Renewable Gasoline

Camarillo-based Cool Planet Biofuels, Inc announced that BP Technology Ventures has invested in the company during its C Round along with investments by current investors. The financing led by Shea Ventures is now ahead of schedule. 12/30/2011


Federal Ruling Halts Implementation of California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard Growth Energy announced today that Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill of the Federal District Court in Fresno, California has ruled that California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is unconstitutional. 12/29/2011


Argentina Initiative Tackles Waste Disposal with Biogas Production

Argentina's Fundación Proteger (Protect Foundation)  has an extensive and successful program underway by providing training in the design, installation, and operation of small modular anaerobic digestion (AD) systems for biogas and fertilizer production. 12/29/2011


UNEP's Pakistan Project Converts Ag Waste to Biofuels, Fertilizer

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) has just released a summary of its Pakistan project to convert agricultural wastes and residues to fuel and fertilizer. 12/28/2011


Imperial County Supports The FOG Companies' Waste Oil Pilot Project The Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved a Letter of Support for The FOG Companies' proposed Imperial Valley FOG (fats, oil and grease) Pilot Project during the December 20, 2011 Board Meeting in El Centro, California. 12/28/2011



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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.