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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume II, Issue 8, February 20, 2012 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Just a spoonful of sugar … well, more like a few hundred box car loads … and we start to see the REAL path to low-cost, high volume bio-production of biofuels and biochemicals. Using complex biomass to get simpler sugar for biorefining works a lot like building with lumber; someone has to get a tree so we can cut it down to fit.


Once you have the enough of the right kind of lumber, or sugar, you can (if you are creative enough) make just about anything. The trick is getting the rough-grade boards or the sugar in the first place, and not too surprising, getting trees out of the forest and taking them apart to make lumber bears a strong resemblance to getting almost any kind of biomass gathered up, ripped apart and turned into sugar. Trees are, after all, a big linear chunk of cellulose. It stands to reason that if you can rip those long chains down to your basic 2X4, or to sucrose and xylose, you get very useful "building materials".


All over the world, people are figuring out how to take apart really low-grade biomass, such as weedy quick-growing plants, waste-sourced wood and pulp, and residues left after agricultural and forest harvesting, and make great quantities of carbohydrate-laden raw material for biorefining. New methods are showing up almost daily to accomplish the same rip-saw action with less harsh chemicals, less expensive energy input.


The industry has commercialized the precision tool sets for biorefining, and has now managed the raw materials conversion stage. Fortunately, some are also paying serious attention to what biomass can be acquired from where with the least damage and the most good, as with the new Forest Planning Rules. As our society weans itself from Petro-Addiction by substituting bio-sourced everything, we're going to quickly find out just how valuable that low-grade biomass really is.

Hey Rube!

There are several action items this week, including fall conferences that are now making their Call for Papers. If indeed you DO have something to crow about, if you have seriously figured out a critical step, it is time for Show and Tell. Get out there and discuss what works, what might be coaxed into working, and if you are REALLY brave, what didn’t work.

The Week's News 

BioAmber, NatureWorks Form Joint Venture to Bring New BioPolymers to Market Two Minnesota based companies, BioAmber and NatureWorks have announced formation of AmberWorks as a joint venture to speed commercialization and market penetration of bio-based polymers. 02/16/2012


SucreSource Contracts to Design and Build Korean Wood-to-Sugar Facility

California-based SucreSource, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BlueFire Renewables, Inc, has announced signing a cellulose-to-sugar systems supply contract with a Korean petroleum firm GS Caltex. 02/15/2012


Capstone Supplies Microturbine for Philippines Biogas to CHP

California-based Capstone Turbine Corporation announced that its Asia-Pacific distributor Sobono Energy has secured a contract to supply and install a Capstone C800 microturbine power package to Biotech Farms, Inc. 02/15/2012


Oregon DEQ Conversion Technology Rulemaking Advances

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announces that it has now formed an Advisory Committee to provide on-going support for its Conversion Technology (CT) Rulemaking process, and has held its first public meeting on January 27, 2012. 02/15/2012


ADBA Launches Advisory Service for Farm-Based Anaerobic Digestion

The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) has announced the launch of a free advisory service for United Kingdom (UK) farmers to assist in the complex decision-making process involved in developing on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD). 02/15/2012 


Dutch-Portuguese Research Advances Hydrogen Production from Lignocellulose A provisional pre-publication article has been released by the journal "Biotechnology for Biofuels," reporting on collaborative work to optimize microbial hydrogen production from cellulosic biomass. 02/14/2012


Joule Awards EPCM Contract to Fluor for Commercial Scale Biorefinery in NM

Texas-based Fluor Corporation has announced it has secured a contract from Joule Unlimited, Inc for the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) to design and build a new biorefinery in New Mexico (NM). 02/14/2012


Foster Wheeler Secures Swedish Contract for 35 MWe Bioenergy Plant System

Swiss engineering company Foster Wheeler announced that its Global Power Group has been awarded a contract to design, construct, supply, and install a 35 megawatt electric biomass-fired circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler island. 02/14/2012


Forest Products Lab Reports on Use of Beetle Killed Trees for Renewable Energy The US Forest Service's Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) has announced the release of a market-oriented status report entitled "Economic Use of Beetle Killed Trees", laying out a strategic framework for making good use of this ever-increasing product of infestations. 02/13/2012


DOE Multi-Year Biomass Program Plan and Presentations Available

The US Department of Energy (DOE) hosted a webinar last week, providing a status report and thorough introduction to the draft Biomass Roadmap released last November. 02/13/2012


Wyss Institute Combines Shrimp Shells and Silk Protein to Make "Shrilk"

Harvard University has announced that researchers at its Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering are micro-layering the chitin from discarded shrimp shells and the protein fibroin from silk to make "shrilk". 02/13/2012 

The Week's Action Items

Due 02/29/2012: Comments to CPUC on Electric Program Investment Charge

Last week, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released its Staff Proposal as Attachment A to Phase 2 of a Scoping Ruling (Proceeding R1110003) on the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC). 02/16/2012


Due 03/01/2012: Grant Applications for Woody Biomass Utilization Projects

The US Forest Service's Technology Marketing Unit (TMU) housed at the Wisconsin based Forest Products Laboratory has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking projects that need engineering services for low-value biomass utilization to generate renewable energy while decreasing fire risk in rural communities. 02/18/2012


Due 03/07/2012: Proposals to SMUD for Biomethane Technical Services

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Electronic Bid Solicitation System (EBSS) has posted a request for proposals (RFP# 120032.OS) for Biomethane Technical Services. 02/16/2012


Due 03/09/2012: Abstracts for EFIB 2012 - "The Bioeconomy Goes Global"

The 2012 European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and Biobased Economy (EFIB 2012) organizers are accepting submission of proposed papers for this year's conference, scheduled for October 16-18, 2012 in Dusseldorf, Germany. 02/15/2012


Due 03/15/2012: Abstracts for Gasification Technologies Council Conference

The Gasification Technologies Council (GTC) has issued a Call for Papers for the 2012 Gasification Technologies Conference, scheduled for October 28-31, 2012 in Washington, D.C. 02/15/2012



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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.