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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume III, Issue 24, June 17, 2013 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

The thing about stuff is you either have way too much, or not nearly enough. If you need a lot of stuff, there is never enough. And … yeah, if there's enough to be a problem, you can't get rid of it for anything. Biomass is like that.

Biomass: recently dead organic stuff. If you want to get enough to really make any money doing something with it, it is almost certain to cost you more to gather and transport that much biomass stuff than you can sell it for. Biomass takes up more room than it's worth; you seldom can load enough into a truck to cover the cost of the diesel.

For rural communities deep in the woods, this is a real problem. Once, a small town could cut that wood to lumber and ship that out. Once, there were small community sawmills scattered along the entire length of the Sierra Nevada and Coastal mountain ranges in California, just like there were in almost every other forest in North America. Now? Not so much, and for complex and constantly changing reasons. It has been over three decades since the hey-day of the rural saw mill economy and its wigwam burners (or teepee or beehive burners), and in that time the amount of biomass has continued to accumulate. The national economy remains in the dumps; brush and thickets of saplings increase the risk around forest-land homes and businesses. Climate Change isn't helping, and every year more super-fires rage. But for all the risks, good folks will continue to make the woods their home and excess biomass will continue to be a challenge.

One less obvious reason for this, at least to people who don't live in the woods, is that it is particularly difficult to get any three terribly independent forest dwellers to agree to one single path of action for "biomass management." Add to that the constant turf wars classically present between rural communities and the state and federal authorities who govern surrounding lands … not an easily managed situation. Yet after decades of bickering, the concept of Community Stewardship is winning out and real change is beginning to happen within our forested communities.

A more obvious reason has been the lack of clean and cost effective options for converting all that excess and dangerous accumulation of fire-prone stuff into anything of value, even enough value to pay for the basic removal. This too is changing, as new tools and methods emerge globally that can settle comfortably into the quiet rural, forested community structure. This week we've covered a Wood Stove Challenge that is ferreting out some very nifty designs to turn a little wood into a lot of residential or small-business heat and power. Small scale conversion of woody biomass also includes high-efficiency community scale heat and power generation. Also important: relatively small amounts of biomass stuff can be converted to fermentable sugars that you can make into plastics, fertilizer, vehicle fuel, and a whole range of chemicals. The real trick is to find a way to up the value of that biomass stuff while reducing the bulk, and all the above options manage that, in one way or another. Options! We have Options!

Hey Rube!

We also have a lot of "homework" to do, tracking down just what is available, who has it, how much it costs and whether there is anyone Out There that can help pay for getting these things kick-started. Teru Talk is focused on doing the homework; do your part, and Read the News.

The Week's News

NOTE: A recent problem has developed with Internet Explorer 9's ability to follow a link directly to its location on a page (It bounces, so look around). If you are using other web browsers, there doesn't seem to be a problem. We are hoping this will clear up in future IE9 updates. Sometimes the magic works. 


CARB, CalRecycle Host AB 32 Scoping Plan Workshop on Waste Management

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and California's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) have posted a Revised Agenda for a public workshop to be held in Sacramento at the Cal/EPA Headquarters on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 from 1:00pm to 4:30pm. 06/15/2013

JBI Begins Shake-Down Testing on Third Plastic2Oil Processor Assembly

New York based JBI, Inc. has announced completion of assembly on the company's third pyrolytic retort for conversion of non-recyclable waste plastic into alternative fuel. 06/14/2013

CalETC's New Alternative Fuels Report Praises California's LCFS

The non-profit California Electric Transportation Coalition (CalETC) has announced release of a new report, California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard: Compliance Outlook for 2020, exploring the rapid development of alternative fuels and offers high praise for the states' Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) as a global market driver. 06/14/2013

PHG Energy Integrates Wood Gasification with GE's Clean Cycle Generator

Tennessee based PHG Energy (PHGE) has announced success in a collaborative project with GE to integrate its wood gasification system with GE's "Clean Cycle" heat-to-power Rankine Cycle generator. 06/14/2013

Energy Answers' Puerto Rico Waste to Energy Project Receives EPA Air Permit

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its final approval of a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) air permit for a new 77 megawatt solid waste facility owned by Energy Answers Arecibo, LLC’s, at the former site of Global Fibers Paper Mill in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. 06/13/2013

Cyclone Power and Ohio State Kick-Off Heat-Driven Engine Testing Program

Cyclone Power Technologies Inc of Pompano Beach, Florida has announced the official start of a development and testing program with Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research (OSU CAR). 06/13/2013

ENER-G Selected for Landfill Gas to Energy Project in Celaya, Mexico

The United Kingdom-based green power developer ENER-G has been selected by the Mexican municipality of Celaya to build and operate a landfill gas (LFG) management project, according to the Energy Services and Technology Association (ESTA). 06/12/2013

Green Investment Bank Releases Market Report on Anaerobic Digestion

United Kingdom based Green Investment Bank (GIB) has announced the release its Anaerobic Digestion Market Report 2013, detailing the current status of the anaerobic digestion (AD) industry in the United Kingdom. 06/12/2013

USDA Approves $98.6MM in Advanced Biofuels Production Support Payments

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that up to $98.6 million in payments supporting advanced biofuels production have been approved. 06/12/2013

ESA Releases Practical Guide to a Circular Economy by Reprocessing Waste

The United Kingdom (UK) based Environmental Services Association (ESA) has released a report entitled Going for Growth: A Practical Route to a Circular Economy, available for download without charge. 06/11/2013

Renmatix, UPM Sign JDA for Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Sugars

Pennsylvania-based Renmatix has entered into a non-exclusive joint development agreement (JDA) with the Swedish firm UPM. 06/11/2013

Penn State's NEWBio Webinar Will Explore Future of Residential Wood Heating

Pennsylvania State University's NEWBio program hosts the free monthly "Northeast Bioenergy Webinar Series", and has announced the next presentation on June 11, 2013: The Future of Residential Wood Heating. 06/10/2013

Stafford County Approves Lease for EEP's $73MM MSW Pyrolysis Project

The Board of Supervisors of Stafford County, Virginia last week approved the lease of 11 acres of property controlled jointly by the City and County of Fredericksburg at the Rappahannock Regional Landfill to the local firm Energy Extraction Partners (EEP). 06/10/2013

The Week's Action Items

Due 07/12/2013: 2nd Call for Grant Applications to DECC for Energy Projects

The United Kingdom Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has announced the second-round opening of a grant program soliciting innovative ideas in energy efficiency, energy storage, and low carbon energy generation. 06/13/2013

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Featured Events:
8th Annual
CBA Symposium

Sacramento, California
18-19, 2013
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.