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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume II, Issue 26, June 25, 2012 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "TerĂº")  

Teru's Trash Talk

California is struggling mightily to find solid economic ground, and about the only Resource we have in sufficient abundance to make a difference is what we, as a society, so callously continue to throw away. Since we're not going to magically make people stop tossing stuff away, we should be doing everything in our power to reclaim that costly flow before it goes over the cliff. Aren’t we smart enough  to figure this out?

OK, let's try: We talked about a MRF last week - a Materials Recovery Facility, a pick-apart complex where all the mixed waste goes in to be separated into stuff for re-use, recyclable materials, and whatever "residual" is left over. A MRF accomplishes, by law, “recovery for reuse or recycling”. But recycling must include the entire conversion process to get back to Goods. What about Performance Standards? As the US EPA Solid Waste Division knows from trying to pry actual numbers out of the states, this is the sensitive economic heart of the business of running a MRF. Cardboard prices are up! Pull more cardboard. There’s no place to take that sort of Plastic? Fine; leave it on the line. Anything we do to put arbitrary pressure on that operation shifts the balance, granted, but not always in favor of sanity and business, much less the environment. There is no simple answer.

MRF Performance Standards might ensure we effectively pull an agreed-upon list of “recyclable materials” out of the trash flow. But there's a BIGGER question: what happens to the Good Stuff that is pulled? Where is the data on what is or is not disposed, not just to the local landfill, but also at the very end of the process chain? Isn’t it necessary to “convert” those same materials into something useful to go back into the commodities exchange? If we don’t let Industry in California develop diverse, market driven waste conversion processes that close the Recycling loop, we end up leaving processing and disposal to far less environmentally-sound means than we ourselves could accomplish here in California. If we can't prove the stuff pulled off the lines as "recyclable materials" gets all the way back into the Commodities Flow, then we are just picking which group gets to make money by shuffling trash.

Assembly Bill 341 mandates Commercial Waste Recycling starting on or after July 1, but Nothing in this new law requires that anyone validate the entire processing regime of what we so loosely call “recycling”. If all we do is require Business to "arrange for recycling services" and don't attend to what happens next, perhaps we should call the program, "Mandatory Commercial Separation." 

Hey Rube!

The CalRecycle defines Recycling as “Using waste as material to manufacture a new product. Recycling involves altering the physical form of an object or material and making a new object from the altered material." In our book, we’d call that “Closed-Loop Recycling”, different from just dropping a bottle into the right bin, or bundling cardboard and plastic for shipment overseas. The department has asked for Stakeholder Comments to the AB 341 draft implementation plan, “California’s New Goal: 75 Percent Recycling”, see the Action Item below. Read the Plan, and file your Comments this week; we’ve posted a detailed review of AB 341 to help explain what CalRecycle’s plan SHOULD be doing, and to better inform your position. Let’s hold the agency to its own definition, and make it very clear that going forward, we’re all focused on validating and expanding the whole Closed-Loop Recycling infrastructure. Who SAYS it’s “recycling?” Where DOES that segregated stuff go, anyway? Inquiring minds want to know!

The Week's Extra Reading

California AB 341 Legislative Analysis examines the new diversion law that modifies California's Integrated Waste Management Act. It directly impacts Commercial Waste Generators, also known as businesses and local agencies. This is the background you'll need when you comment on the CalRecycle's draft report "California's New Goal: 75 Percent Recycling" that is being prepared in compliance with AB 341.

The Week's News

TAQA and CWM Sign MOU for 1MM tonne MSW to Energy Facility in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) has announced signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Centre for Waste Management Abu Dhabi (CWM) to collaborate in the development of a 100 megawatt electric (MWe) generation facility fueled with up to one million tonnes per year of the region's municipal solid waste (MSW). 06/22/2012

Covanta and City of Tulsa Extend Agreement for Energy from Waste

Waste conversion and resource recovery giant Covanta Energy has announced an agreement with the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma to extend the prior waste management contract for an additional 10 years. 06/22/2012

ACORE Launches "Myth-Busters" Renewable Energy Fact Check Service

The America Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) has added a significant resource that is available to the public with the launch of its Energy Fact Check website. 06/22/2012

WELTEC's Spherical Biogas Storage Improves Hungarian Plant Efficiency

German anaerobic digestion specialist WELTEC Biopower has reported the installation and implementation of a key efficiency and economic solution using an ancillary 600 cubic meter storage capacity spherical vessel for raw biogas storage. 06/22/2012

2012 CleanTech Open Semifinalists Include Biomass, Waste, Energy Start-ups

The Cleantech Open has announced 47 semifinalists in the 2012 Western Regional CleanTech Open competition, and will present awards leading to the Finals at today's National Conference in San Jose, California. 06/21/2012

PTG's Wastewater Disinfection & Energy System Passes Ventura Water's Tests   California based Pasteurization Technology Group (PTG) and the City of Ventura Water Department have both announced successful completion of the initial evaluation phase of a non-chlorine wastewater disinfection and energy system pilot at the City of Ventura's Water Reclamation Facility. 06/21/2012

BCN Researcher Awarded $1.8MM for Waste Oils to Fuel and Chemical Pilot

University of Alberta, Canada's Biorefining Conversions Network (BCN) has announced that Dr. David Bressler has been awarded two grants totaling round $1.8 million to develop a pilot scale thermal conversion facility. 06/21/2012

CEC Releases Final CHP Report with Market Assessment for 2011-2030

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has released a revised report developed for the agency by ICF International, Inc. entitled Combined Heat and Power: Policy Analysis and 2011-2030 Market Assessment. 06/21/2012

Myriant Receives $25MM under USDA's B&I Loan Guarantee Program

Massachusetts based green chemistry specialist Myriant has announced a $25 million private bond placement for construction of its 30 million pound per year bio-succinic acid production plant in Lake Providence, Louisiana. 06/19/2012

GE Supplies Waste Gas to Energy Turbine System to Japanese Steel Plant

GE will supply its robust Frame 9E gas turbine system to the JFE Steel Company Ltd (JFE) for installation in the company's East Japan Iron Works, located in Keiyo Industrial Park east of Tokyo in Chiba City. 06/19/2012

MagneGas Selected by LVI for Two Large Demolition Projects - Cleaner, Faster

Plasma waste conversion company MagneGas has announced that its hydrogen-rich metal-cutting fuel MagneGas has been selected by LVI Services Inc. for the accelerated demolition of two large power plants in Florida. 06/18/2012 

Hadfield to Provide Waste Wood to Tilbury Green Power's New Biomass Plant

Tilbury Green Power (TGP) has announced entering into a long-term biomass feedstock supply agreement with Hadfield Wood Recyclers of Manchester. 06/18/2012

The Week's Action Items

Due 07/02/2012: Comments on California's 75% Recycling Initiative

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has requested that public comments on this version of the agency's draft implementation plan "California's New Goal: 75 Percent Recycling" be submitted by July 2, 2012. 06/24/2012

Due 07/03/2012: Intent to Bid on East Kentucky Power Coop All Source RFP

The East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to obtain up to 300 megawatts of power, including but not limited to renewables over 5 megawatts, to be on-line before October 2015. 06/19/2012

Due 07/09/2012: Abstracts for DOE's Renewable Energy Markets 2012 Conference The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Call for Abstracts, seeking short presentations for the September 23-25 Renewable Energy Markets 2012 conference in Washington, D.C. 06/21/2012

Due 07/16/2012: Concept Paper to DOE for Advanced Biofuels Biorefineries

The US Department of Energy's (DOE) Funding Opportunity Exchange has posted notice of a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for "Innovative Pilot and Demonstration Scale Production of Advanced Biofuels." 06/19/2012 

Due 07/31/2012: Abstracts for SWANA's March 2013 Landfill Gas Symposium

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has released a Call for Papers for its 36th Annual Landfill Gas Symposium, scheduled for March 18-21, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 06/22/2012

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