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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume II, Issue 5, January 30, 2012 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Not too long ago, less than a decade, if you wanted to turn some kind of waste into something beneficial you had perhaps six to ten systems to choose from… and the likelihood that they'd be permissible in California, especially for developing community-scale systems for biomass to combined heat and power, was, well … slim, at best. Now lack of functional waste conversion systems simply isn’t the problem. Teru Talk has spent the last year disproving the tired old saw that "there aren't any of these working." The dearth of operating waste conversion installations in California really isn't too surprising; what's surprising is that we can still build ANYTHING here, but that's a whole different problem. On the bright side, technical options now exist for conversion of just about every sort of available waste or residual into not just heat and power, but into fuels, foundation chemicals, even into pharmaceuticals. Politics certainly play their role in any anti-industrial atmosphere; frozen financing remains a monstrous barrier. But as the old prayer goes, let's focus on changing the things we can.


The industry has struggled so long and hard to get the technical aspects right. Now a great many waste conversion efforts have remained ONLY a "techy thing", and only lacking adequate business management. This is what we see shifting: solid technical cores are getting their requisite business wrappers and becoming an integral part of the broader marketplace. Instead of being odd, although cool toys, conversion technologies (CT) are approaching that magic time when they may be "spec'd" into a project just like any other commercially-available equipment or part, just like selecting a pump, an engine or an HVAC unit. To do this, market study needs to replace ego, and a developer doesn't get to claim they are still the only game in town. This competitive, business-oriented approach is a GOOD thing; remember, it was only a decade or so ago that there wasn't much CT competition. To get to this point of real market entry, a "techy" company has to ask itself a series of tough questions: what IS this thing we're developing, why is it different, who is the competition, and how much is worth on the open market? And yes, it needs to assess the costs and risks against the returns and benefits. Companies need to attend to the Business part of waste conversion, and compete their way into the open market.

Hey Rube!

There are a number of high-level rulemakings and standards-development efforts underway that will change the Waste Conversion socio-economic position; we've reported on three just this past week that cover state, federal and international programs. Oregon has decided to define and regulate Waste Conversion. The U.S. Forest Service has issued its final impact statement on the massive new Forest Planning Rule that will so significantly change how National Forests (and the resources they contain) are managed. The International Biochar Initiative is moving forward with its global conference schedule, timed to coincide with culmination of its collaborative Biochar standards development program. These big plays could use your comment and your support. Now, granted that this may be more than you can justify for the time and expense necessary to become directly engaged, but keep an eye on Teru Talk; we're paying attention.

The Week's News

Rennie Wins Future Farmer Award for Scotland's 1st AD Plant

The Future Farmer Award, an initiative funded by the Elizabeth Murray Trust, named Andrew Rennie of Gask Farms in Turriff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the 2011 Future Farmer. 01/29/2012


USFS Issues Final Impact Statement for New Forest Planning Rule

The US Forest Service (USFS) has released a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the proposed National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule. Release of the PEIS signals the intent to release the new Planning Rule, which addresses land management planning on the 193-million acre National Forest System. 01/27/2012


Celtic Renewables Converts Scotland's Whisky Residuals to Bio-Butanol

Edinburgh Napier University has announced the commercialization of Biofuel Research Center's process for conversion of whisky production residuals into bio-butanol. 01/27/2012


Maersk Completes Nautical Trials on Solazyme's Algal Based Biodiesel California's algal-derived biofuel and bioproducts firm Solazyme announced that the Virginia based Maersk Line Ltd. has completed a one month, 6,500 nautical mile fuel trial on SoladieselRD as part of a US Navy integrated testing and certification program. 01/26/2012


ZeaChem Receives $232.5 MM USDA Conditional Loan Guarantee

Colorado based advanced biofuels company ZeaChem has announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved a $232.5 million conditional loan guarantee under the USDA's Biorefinery Assistance Program. 01/26/2012


Xebec Supplies Biogas Upgrading Plant to South Korean AD Plant

Canadian biogas upgrading specialist Xebec Adsorption, Inc. has announced the award of a $2.2 million contract to provide a biogas upgrading plant for installation at a food waste-to-energy anaerobic digestion (AD) facility in South Korea. 01/26/2012


USAF Issues O&M Contract to PyroGenesis for Plasma Waste-to-Energy System The US Air Force (USAF) has issued an 18 month contract to modular plasma systems developer PyroGenesis Canada, Inc for operation and maintenance (O&M), and data collection for the Plasma Resource Recovery System (PRRS) at the Hurlburt Field Air Force Base in Florida. 01/25/2012


Genomatica Obtains Exclusive PROESA Rights for Bio-BDO Production

San Diego based Genomatica has secured exclusive global rights to use the PROESA technology platform for production of butanediol (BDO) in a license agreement with Beta Renewables. 01/24/2012


Avantium and Solvay's Rhodia to Jointly Develop Bio-Polyamides

Dutch catalysis specialists Avantium announced that its partnership with the Solvay group of companies has now advanced to a joint bio-polyamide development agreement with Solvay's Rhodia subsidiary. 01/24/2012


Ontario Ministry Supports Algae-based Emissions Absorption Pilot

Ontario, Canada's Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation has announced its support for the pilot project that captures carbon dioxide laden emissions from the St. Marys Cement plant and converts it to oxygen and biofuels. 01/24/2012


POET Declines $105MM USDA Loan in Favor of DSM Joint Venture

Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, advanced biofuels company POET has announced that it intends to formally decline the $105 million USDA loan guarantee secured last September, before drawing upon any of the funds available. 01/23/2012


Oregon DEQ Starts Conversion Technology Rulemaking

Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has scheduled the first advisory committee meeting for January 27, 2012 to discuss the state's new Conversion Technology Rulemaking. 01/23/2012


JBI Receives Final Emissions Data on Plastic2Oil Stack Tests Canada's waste plastic to fuel company JBI, Inc. has received and released final third-party stack test data for their Plastic2Oil conversion process (P2O) on JBI's processors in New York. 01/23/2012


MagneGas to Supply Syngas Cutting Fuel for Florida Tank Demolition Project Florida's plasma-driven waste-to-syngas company MagneGas has announced a new cutting fuel supply contract with King Metal Recycling and Processing Company of Miami. 01/23/2012

The Week's Action Items

Due beginning 02/21/2012: Applications to USDA for Rural Energy Grants, Loans  The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting applications for grants and loans for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. 01/26/2012


Due 03/09/2012: Grant Applications for Manitoba Biomass Energy Program The Province of Manitoba, Canada is now accepting applications for its Biomass Energy Support Program (MBESP), an element of the broader Manitoba Bioproducts Strategy launched this month. 01/25/2012


Due 03/31/2012: Abstracts for 4th International Biochar Congress in China

As one of the key global sponsoring organizations, the International Biochar Initiative (IBI) has released a request for abstracts detailing the process of consideration of proposals for presentations during the 4th International Biochar Congress: "Biochar: The Road to Richer Food and a Safer Environment" to be held during September 2012 in Beijing China. 01/27/2012


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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.