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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume II, Issue 50, December 10, 2012 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

We're interested in Third World waste conversion technology that might fit into North America. All over Asia right now, communities are getting guidance and even a little money to put together "Domestic Biogas" systems. Really, these anaerobic digesters are not much more complex than a standard septic tank, except that they are made so the stuff that rots inside makes biogas you can accumulate and use for heating, cooking, and power generation.

You make a tank with a top part that can swell up, add a valve and a hose on the very top that can let gas out when you want it. You put food waste (and maybe some manure?) in a chute that dumps into the bottom and you seal 'er up to keep out the air. Those microbial beasties get busy and up bubbles methane-rich gas. Not as clean and powerful a fuel as straight natural gas, granted, but certainly enough to make a flame and heat water, or to cook dinner. Each day, you add more goopy organic waste: potato peels, carrot tops, and the leavings from your pet pot-bellied pig. Most of our households toss out from one to five pounds of kitchen waste a day. In a really simple digester, that'll make enough biogas to cook dinner and maybe lunch, or to boil perhaps 10 gallons of water.

Now, if you add an extra water heater in front of the one now in your home or business, and you have a balloon-like storage thingie to store up biogas to keep a flame lit under that "pre-heater", you can raise the temperature of the water that goes into your main tank and save money. Your family may not toss enough goopy food waste to heat up all the water you need, or to cook your meals AND heat your water, but it’s a start. That puts your biogas contraption in the same category as those Solar Water Heater panels you bolt onto the roof, but then those panels don't convert your food waste into fuel and fertilizer.

Now, it doesn't take too much imagination to see that this system could be scaled up to convert more poundage of food scraps into more cubic meters of biogas. Once the system starts getting bigger and you get the mechanics down pat, add a small Jeep engine and you've got your own green back-up generator. Tie in with your PV solar panels and make more of your own power on-site. Make and store more biogas, make more electricity, and your "interconnection" can push extra electrons right back into the Power Grid, something you can maybe get paid for. Ta-da! "Distributed Waste Conversion for Renewable Biogas Fueled Power Generation!"

Indeed, the larger scale "commercial" digesters that eat from 20 to 100 tons of organic goopy a day and generate a whole lot more biogas are starting to become acceptable in polite society. Perhaps it's time for that "3rd wave" of commercialization, where the goods make it all the way down to our own homes. So here's a cool Popular Mechanics project: Build a Do-it-yourself Domestic Biogas unit scaled to eat up all your food scraps. Teach it to make biogas, store the biogas in a balloon affair, and use the fuel gas to run your outdoor kitchen / B-B-Q and make more food scraps. Now, I'd call that Recycling!

Hey Rube!

There's bound to be other folks out there who are interested in fiddling with a small digester. We know there are in India, in Vietnam, and in the UK: We've reported on 'em. If you have experience or at least an abiding interest in small scale biogas kits, and think maybe it's time for a Domestic Biogas revolution, sing out and let Teru Talk know.

The Week's News

NCF Uses Sunlight to Convert Industrial CO2 to Gas and Liquid Fuels

The newly formed company NewCO2Fuel Ltd (NCF), a spin-off from the Weizmann Institute of Science, is finding success with a new approach to producing liquid fuel from carbon dioxide laden industrial emissions, according to non-profit news service Israel21c. 12/08/2012

Solena Secures British Airways 10-yr OffTake Agreement for GreenSky London

Washington, DC headquartered Solena Fuels Corporation has announced that British Airways has signed an off-take agreement to purchase all of Solena's aviation fuels produced from the GreenSky London project over the next 10 years. 12/08/2012

Global Energy Crops Acquires Global License to AGT's Enzymatic Technology

Florida based BioPower Operations Corporation has announced that its subsidiary Global Energy Crops Corporation (GECC) has secured a global license to technology for conversion of farm waste to liquid fuel, fertilizer and animal feed amendments. 12/07/2012

Dioxide Materials Secures $4MM ARPA-E Grant for CO2 Recycling

Illinois-based Dioxide Materials has announced receipt of an award of $4 million from the US Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy division (ARPA-E). 12/07/2012

Bio-Economy Network Formed to Support Bio-Based Product Development

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) has announced the broad-based formation of the Bio-Economy Network (BEN) in support of expanded development and global marketing of the bio-sourced products economy. 12/07/2012

LanzaTech and Baosteel Succeed with 100K gpa Emissions to Fuel Trials

New Zealand base LanzaTech and the Chinese steel mill company Baosteel have jointly announced success in production of low-carbon liquid fuels form conversion of Baosteel's carbon-laden industrial emissions. 12/07/2012

Global Bioenergies-Synthos Partnership Finds Pathway to Bio-Butadiene

Headquartered in France, bio-sourced foundation chemical company Global Bioenergies has announced their successful completion of the process discovery phase in partnership with international rubber company Synthos for production of the light olefin foundation chemical gas butadiene. 12/06/2012

Placer County Releases Final EIR for Cabin Creek Biomass to Energy Facility

The Placer County Community Development Resource Agency has announced release of the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Cabin Creek Biomass Facility in California, and is seeking public comment prior to the public hearing. 12/06/2012

Britain's 1st Food Waste Recycling Plant Opens at Bristol Sewage Facility

Wessex Water, parent company of the food waste digestion specialist firm GENeco, has announced the opening of the United Kingdom's first food waste anaerobic digestion (AD) plant co-located with a sewer treatment facility. 12/04/2012

Fulcrum Bioenergy Secures $175MM Financing Commitment

California's waste-to-fuels company Fulcrum Bioenergy, Inc reports success in securing around $175 million in commitments to finance its Sierra Biofuels Plant construction in Nevada, and to fund further commercialization of the firm's advanced gasification methodology. 12/04/2012

DECC Awards £3MM to 38 UK Communities for Residential Renewable Heating

The United Kingdom (UK) Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced the Phase 2 release of offers to 38 communities for the award of around £3 million to fund development of household-scale renewable energy heating systems. 12/03/2012

Household Biogas Program Achieves Gold Standard Certification

The Netherlands based philanthropic organization SNV has announced that the Vietnam Biogas Programe has achieved full Gold Standard registration as a key project for reducing carbon emissions. 12/03/2012

The Week's Action Items

Due 12/14/2012: Comments to CEC PIER Natural Gas Initiative

The California Energy Commission's (CEC) Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program has released a survey seeking ideas for 2013 natural gas focused grant solicitations. 12/03/2012

Due 01/31/2013: Bids for Renewable Energy and/or RECs to PNM - New Mexico

The Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) has announced issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for renewable energy and/or accompanying renewable energy certificates (RECs). 12/07/2012

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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.