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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume II, Issue 51, December 17, 2012 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "TerĂº")  

Teru's Trash Talk

A sold-out, day-long head-knocking session on "Community Scale Bioenergy" filled the Thirty Mile Conference Room of the McClellan Wildfire Training Center this past Friday. Each of the main rooms of the Center is named after a catastrophic fire in California; the "Thirtymile" fire of July 10, 2001 took the lives of four fire fighters. CDF started the workshop with the sobering reminder that this business of biomass utilization is crucial to our economy and our environment, and the persistent lack of proper forest health management thinning comes at a real and personal cost. A common irritant in this conversation has been from a zealous opposition whose mantra of "No You Can't, Not in MY Forest!" remains irrationally, embarrassingly prominent. True to form, in a room chock full of veteran fire fighters, some joker had the gall to point out the smattering of "studies" that claim we shouldn't be thinning, that a hands-off approach was somehow better all around. For whom, pray tell?

"Community Scale" biomass conversion to combined heat and power (CHP) used to be focused on finding appropriate technologies, then on the cost of interconnection, and now on the politics and policies. California has a New and Improved 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan that recognizes that the excess of 36 million bone dry tons of biomass generated each year COULD be turned into more than a billion gallons of non-food cellulosic biofuel, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by reducing both the frequency and severity of wildfires. Over 900,000 acres end up destroyed in wildfires each year, at a dollar cost of around $1 billion annually. One ton of slash burnt in the open generates around 200 times the carbon emissions of a biomass gasification facility converting the same amount of woody waste to energy.

The conference came together at this time because California's Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1122, the feed-in tariff bill that provides a carve-out for small (3MWe or smaller) bioenergy facilities and secures a new regulatory foundation for biomass to energy. We're talking about tightly-controlled woody biomass conversion facilities that use two to three truck-loads of slash per day, gathered from about 30 miles radius around the plant. These facilities can use loose branches and dead-fall, and trimmings from logging, stuff that usually gets piled up and torched in the forest or left as unwanted "fuel loading".

We carefully went through a vast amount of detail on the good, bad and downright horrible Policies and Regulations everyone still must wade through to set up even the simplest biomass plant. On the bright side, there were FOUR community scale project reps in one panel at the same time. Yet it still can take months to just push the paper, and some communities have been struggling to find a legal way to set up simple systems for ten years or more. It is useful to remember that not one of those forest fires applied for a permit, nor would they have stopped if they'd been denied permission to devastate our lives and our countryside.

Hey Rube!

Probably the clearest message: you absolutely MUST have overwhelming community buy-in, with a majority of residents willing and able to agree on a Stewardship Plan. A newspaper from one of the communities doggedly pushing ahead with biomass conversion published a great line: "Since Change is inevitable, let's Change in the direction that the Community wants."

The Week's News

Oregon Approves Materials Management and Clean Fuels Programs

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) under the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) voted on two key clean tech issues during this month's meeting, unanimously approving the Materials Management for Oregon: 2050 Vision and Framework for Action upon acceptance of the Staff Report, and the following day approved implementation of Oregon's Clean Fuel Program, Phase 1. 12/15/2012

MaRS Cleantech Fund Invests in Woodland Biofuels for Biomass to Ethanol

The MaRS Cleantech Fund of Toronto, Ontario, Canada has announced the completion of an investment of an undisclosed amount in Mississauga based Woodland Biofuels, which has a demonstration plant in the commissioning phase in Sarnia. 12/15/2012

Oregon BEST Grant Advances ShelterWorks Waste Wood Filled Cement Blocks

Oregon based green building materials company ShelterWorks owns rights to formation of Faswall® waste wood filled cement construction block, a lightweight "green" building material. 12/14/2012

Cyclone Power Forming JV with Precision CNC for Production Center

Florida based heat driven engine developer Cyclone Power has announced signing a Letter of Understanding with manufacturing company Precision CNC to establish a production center for Cyclone Engines. 12/14/2012

CEC Awards over $2.5MM for Clean Fuel Transportation Projects

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has announced release of more than $2.5 million in awards to support clean transportation projects, including over $1.2 million for pre-processing solid food waste as feedstock for two existing but underutilized anaerobic digesters. 12/13/2012

DPS Secures Global License for Ethos Pyrolysis Gasification Technology

United Kingdom UK) based engineering group DPS Global has announced acquisition of a global license from Ethos Energy for a modular thermal waste processing technology. 12/13/2012

Sierra Energy SacPort Project Part of GO-Biz Investment Forum in Beijing

California based Sierra Energy has announced that its SacPort waste-to-sustainable fuels project has been included in the GO-Biz Investment Forum kicked off last week in Beijing, China by US Ambassador Gary Locke. 12/13/2012

Nova Scotia Buys Bowater Paper Mill for Conversion to Biofuels Center

The Province of Nova Scotia has announced a partnership with early stage venture capital firm Innovacorp, energy services company Emera, and advanced cellulosic biofuels company Cellufuel to advance cellulosic biomass to energy and fuels. 12/13/2012

OEC Receives Patent for MaxDiverter Advanced Mechanized MRF Design

Organic Energy Corporation (OEC) of Sugar Land, Texas has received a patent for "Mechanized Separation of Mixed Solid Waste and Recovery of Recyclable Products" (US 8,322,639 B2). 12/12/2012

Global Clean Energy Forms JV with MicroEnergies for Pyrolysis Projects

Texas headquartered Global Clean Energy Inc. (GCEI) has announced a joint venture with MicroEnergies, LLC to develop pyrolysis projects utilizing thermal technologies and feedstock agreements acquired by Nevada based MicroEnergies, LLC. 12/12/2012

Pond Biofuels, ETIC, US Steel Canada Launch Emissions to Biofuel Pilot Project

Toronto based Pond Biofuels has announced launch of its second pilot project designed to capture carbon from industrial emissions in algae grown for biofuels. 12/12/2012

Methes Energies Is CRFA New Producer of the Year for Renewable Fuels

Nevada based Methes Energies International Ltd. has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Methes Energies Canada Inc., has received the New Producer of the Year award from The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA). 12/10/2012

US Army Completes Successful Field Tests of Hybrid Waste to Energy Module

The US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) reports that an advanced prototype of the Trash Gasification to Energy Refinery (TGER) technology has now been returned to the manufacturer following successfully completed field trials. 12/10/2012

The Week's Action Items

Due 12/18/2012:Applications for CEC Community Scale Renewable Energy Grant

Update : Addendum No. 4 to Program Opportunity Notice PON-12-502 has been issued that changes the submittal deadline to Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 3:00 p.m, as well as several other revisions. Applicants who have already submitted will be allowed to resubmit. 12/10/2012

Due 12/21/2012: Comments to CEC on Proposed RE Planning Grants

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has released a Request for Comments toward the development of a grant solicitation that would support County-level renewable energy (RE) planning efforts. 12/12/2012

Due 01/22/2013: Comments on Oregon's Conversion Technology Standards

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has announced release for public review and comment of new performance standards and solid waste permit requirements for certain conversion technology facilities in Oregon. 12/15/2012

Due 02/05/2013: Proposals to CEC's Energy Innovation Small Grants Program

The California Energy Commission's (CEC) Public Interest Energy Research, Energy Innovations Small Grants program (PEIR / EISG) released the last Program Solicitation Notices for this year. 12/12/2012

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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.