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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume II, Issue 44, October 29, 2012 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

The language used to talk about "waste" seems to be shifting globally, blending with terms describing "sustainability", "recycling" and "resource management" - much better. For too long, anybody that really wanted to talk about waste conversion was expected to step outside of Environmentally Friendly Conversations, banned from polite society - sorta like Smokers. That's mostly because nobody wants to discuss or even think about what happens after the Can gets set to the curb, after that handle on the commode gets pulled: too much Eeeeuuw Factor. Yet as the social, environmental, and sheer economic cost of digging up and transporting new raw materials continues to escalate, as we add in all those "external" factors nobody ever wanted to think about, all this stuff we've been throwing away starts to look pretty appealing as a source of raw materials. Big Industry is negotiating with waste management and conversion technology companies to "close the loop" in the relationship between their discards, their energy use, and their material inputs. As this happens, the language used in their Corporate Responsibility doctrines shifts to better describe how and why Waste now has value.

No matter how you do the math, grabbing stuff on the way to the dump and turning it back into stuff you can use or sell just has to come out ahead. Mind you, the topic is still a long way from being Dinner Chatter, but what happens when waste is converted to something useful is getting serious attention across the public / private mindscape. The focus is shifting as well; we don't hear as much about that Techy Thing in the middle that actually turns the Conversion Trick as we do about the waste feedstock and the resulting raw materials now ready for remanufacturing. That makes sense: we don't define water treatment plants by the sort of equipment they use, we just expect the folks that build and run those plants to somehow make it happen.

Even the conversation about the Sacred Topic of recycling is changing as people realize that once you separate all that stuff you still need to reprocess it back into useful raw materials. If you don't know what actually happens to all those sorted-out Recyclates, you are not alone. All too often, the plants that do the final conversion to raw materials are not even in this country. It's hard to talk coherently about something you've never seen or really even heard about. The language hasn't been in common usage because the process has all been happening out-of-sight, out-of-mind. As communities learn to close that loop on a local basis, as people begin to see the evidence that local waste conversion makes good sense as well as lots of cents, they also learn how to talk about it in a reasonably polite manner. Maybe soon, those that do won't be relegated to the back patio …

Hey Rube!

Tune into the state, federal, and international resource policy discussions and watch for evidence of this shift in the dialogue. As we see an increase in open recognition that Waste means Money we also see an increase in the Policy language strengthening the concept that everything can be recycled, given properly equipped and operated waste reprocessing facilities. But remember, you can't manage what you don't count: Where is this waste stuff actually going? How much is reprocessed, and how much is left over? Who gets paid, tracks the details, and who is watching them? And while you are at it, ask "Just exactly what is Recycling, anyway?" Here's a hint; Recycling is:

Collect > Sort > Clean > Pre-treat > Reconstitute to Raw Materials

It's not: Collect > Sort > Broker to Who-Knows-Where

The Week's News

Cool Planet Energy's Micro-Refinery Produces Biofuel at $1.50 per Gallon

California based Cool Planet Energy Systems has announced a major commercialization breakthrough for production of carbon negative biofuel from non-food biomass at a cost of about $1.50 per gallon. 10/27/2012

Neste Oil Opens Europe's First Waste to Microbial Oil Pilot Plant

Finland based Neste Oil Corporation celebrated the official opening of Europe's first biorefinery to produce microbial oil from industrial and agricultural residues such as straw for refinement into Neste Oil's NExBTL renewable diesel. 10/27/2012

POET-DSM Contracts with ANDRITZ for Biomass Pre-Treatment Technology

After a four-year collaborative period, the joint venture POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels has announced selection of a multi-stage cellulosic biomass breakdown technology from International Technology Group ANDRITZ through its U.S. subsidiary. 10/27/2012

ACEEE Releases Report on Understanding Industrial Investment Decisions

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has announced the release of a concise and insightful report, "Understanding Industrial Investment Decisions", available for free after registration. 10/25/2012

Weltec Biopower Commissioned to Build 3 MWe Biogas CHP Plant in Uruguay

The German biogas production company Weltec Biopower has announced that it has been commissioned to develop an anaerobic digestion (AD) installation at a dry-milk plant in Montevideo, Uruguay. 10/25/2012

Shanks Sells Renewable Energy from Scottish Food Waste AD Plant to M&S

United Kingdom based waste management company Shanks Group plc has announced signing a Power Purchase Agreement with Marks & Spencer (M&S) to supply the retailer with the total renewable energy output of its anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Cumbernauld near Glasgow, Scotland. 10/25/2012

Iowa State Researchers Develop Two-Stage Biofuel Production Method

Iowa State University has announced progress in converting low-grade biomass to high-grade intermediary chemicals and fuels, adding a second-stage gasifier to vaporize bio-oils produced in first-stage pyrolysis. 10/24/2012

Boeing-COMAC Tech Center Will Research Conversion of "Gutter Oil" to JetFuel

The Boeing Company has announced that its new technology center joint venture with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) will initiate the center's first research program, focused on production of advanced biofuels. 0/24/2012

International Biochar Institute Sustainability Survey Identifies Highest Priorities

The International Biochar Initiative has released selected responses to a broad-based sustainability survey conducted in September of this year that asked for greatest potential benefit of using biochar, and to point out the most pressing needs for rapid commercialization and market penetration. 10/24/2012

LA County Adopts New Solid Waste Management Paradigm,Seeks Agency Unity

The Los Angeles (LA) County Integrated Waste Management Task Force adopted a New Waste Management Paradigm, and new definitions for the terms "Recovery" and "Conversion Technology" at its September 20, 2012 public meeting. 10/23/2012

October 24th Webinar Scheduled on Advanced Conversion: Energy from Waste

London-based Advanced Plasma Power (APP) and Renewable Energy Focus have announced a free one hour webinar scheduled for October 24, 2012 on Energy-from-Waste (EfW) processes. 10/23/2012

Metso to Deliver New Biofuel Fired Boiler to Swedish CHP Plant

Finnish-based energy and materials company Metso Corporation has announced an agreement to develop and deliver a new biofuel fired power generating boiler to Jönköping Energi in Torsvik, Sweden. 10/23/2012

Hyrax Licenses Biomass Hydrolysis Process Developed at UW–Madison

Hyrax Energy, Inc has announced that it has entered into a licensing agreement with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) to commercialize a University-developed process for hydrolysis of biomass to fermentable sugars. 10/23/2012

James Cropper Paper Awarded £3.15MM for Waste to Steam Plant

United Kingdom (UK) based specialist paper and materials company James Cropper plc has announced that it has been selected to receive an award of £3.15 million from Round 3 of the UK's Regional Growth Fund (RGF), administered by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS). 10/22/2012

The Week's Action Items

Due 10/26/2012: Comments to Revised CEC 2012-2014 Investment Plan Report

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has released a final staff report and supporting documents for the proposed Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program in preparation for the October 31, 2012 Business Meeting. 10/24/2012

Due 11/30/2012:Applications for CEC Community Scale Renewable Energy Grant

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has released Program Opportunity Notice (PON) PON-12-502 for Community Scale Renewable Energy Development, Deployment and Integration program funding under the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program. 10/28/2012


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Featured Events:

SCWMF Annual Conference & Exhibit -
SCWMF Annual
Conference & Exhibit

Pomona, California
November 7, 2012

 2nd Annual Waste Conversion Congress - West Coast
Waste Conversion Congress
West Coast

Long Beach, CA Nov 28-29, 2012

Recommended Reading:

"Waste-to-Energy, Second Edition: Technologies
and Project Implementation" by Marc J Rogoff and Francois Screve

Municipal Solid Waste to Energy Conversion Processes: Economic, Technical, and Renewable Comparisons by Gary C Young

"Municipal Solid Waste to Energy Conversion Processes: Economic, Technical, and Renewable Comparisons" by Gary C Young


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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.