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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume III, Issue 28, July 15, 2013 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

We're living in an age where Policy regularly trumps Science. There is excellent Science to support the rapid development of a truly Circular Economy, where whatever we throw away gets reconstituted into what we need next. Science says we can now take almost any waste apart and turn it back into usable goods. Science allows us to count up and make direct comparisons of the impacts all along the Life Cycle from goods to waste to goods again. Science gives us ways to select from competing processes, and Science shows us how to pick the winners. But politicians make Policies and shove them at local, state, national, and global agencies to enforce. When Science isn't the foundation, the results can be both ridiculous and damaging.

The High Court dumped on the EPA last week for wanting to defer a clamp-down on biomass plants until they could actually figure out whether controlled combustion of wood for bioenergy generation could be better for us than uncontrolled wildfires, better than diesel power generation, better than dirty coal. No, said the Court: we'll treat carbon released from biopower plants the same way we treat carbon released from coal and diesel fired power plants. After all, we're addressing climate change, whose concepts are based on good Science. We're suddenly awash in "clean natural gas" with its promise of an immediate reduction in greenhouse gases. With all this cheap and clean natural gas, why bother with dirty processes like Waste Conversion and Bioenergy? What could be cleaner than natural gas?

Look closer: the new fracking Policies are burying the underlying Science. How can fracked natural gas be sustainable if getting it trashes our planet? Horror stories are beginning to "leak out"; if you bust up all that deep rock and force all sorts of solvents down-hole, you can make methane-laden natural gas just come rushing to the surface … up the well bore you put in, and up every other crack in the surrounding land surface for miles around that well-head. Science says any aquifer between those clean natural gas beds and the surface will end up contaminated by those chemicals. Policy however, makes fracking exempt from the Clean Water Act so those fracking up our landscape don't have to tell anybody what contaminants they are shoving down-hole. The next time you bless our clean natural gas supply, ask not about our air, friends; ask about our water.

Perspective for appropriate choice is gained by honest comparison based on fact developed by the logic-driven process of Science, not by following baseless Policy serving a particular political constituency. "Clean Energy" and "Climate Change" become obstructive euphemisms when the buzz words are used to obscure the facts. The next time you hear how bad waste conversion is, re-read our Trash Talk rants, check your notes and think about the alternatives. And when another biomass plant is being shut down, check your precepts regarding local, state, and national Policy of what is Clean and what is Dirty, scan the horizon for billowing smoke, and say another prayer for our firefighters.

Hey Rube!

Yes, yes, I know … I'm on my High Horse today … but darn it, there are sure a lot more folks running around this country hip-deep in Waste, breathing the smoky Air and trying to drink benzene-laden Water, than there are jokers making Policy. Call somebody who makes Policy and tell 'em you wanna see the Science. If we choose not to say anything, we imply consent.

The Week's Extra Reading

Comments to the CalRecycle's draft Waste Management Sector plan (part of the AB 32 Scoping Plan) were due last Friday, in case you missed it.Teru's comments were submitted June 28th. You should also see MSW Management Editor John Trotti's Blog, " Options: The More the Better", and the Los Angeles County Integrated Waste Management Task Force's comments to the CalRecycle.

The Week's News

NOTE: If you are using IE10 and our website isn't loading as smoothly as you would like or the page jumps when you click on a link to go to a certain news item, just change to "compatibility view" and all will be fine.


LACSD District 2 Approves Large-Scale Food Waste Co-Digestion Pilot

The Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (LACSD) District 2 Board of Directors approved an agreement with USA Waste of California, Inc., a subsidiary of Waste Management (WM) for a large scale pilot to co-digest food waste with District 2 sewage. 07/14/2013

ZooShare Cooperative Secures 500 kWe FIT Contract for Zoo Poo to BioPower

Canada based ZooShare Biogas Cooperative Inc. (ZooShare) has announced it is one of the community-scale clean energy producers to benefit from the Small Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Program offered by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). 07/14/2013

Sundrop Plans Its First Combination Demo/Commercial Alternative Fuels Plant

Colorado based Sundrop Fuels, Inc. has announced selection of the engineering and construction firm IHI E&C International Corporation (IHI E&C) to develop its first combined demonstration / commercial scale advanced alternative fuels facility in Boyce, near Alexandria, Louisiana. 07/12/2013

REG Completes $21MM Modifications to Minnesota Biodiesel Plant

Iowa based Renewable Energy Group, Inc (REG) has announced completion of modifications to its 30 million gallon per year biodiesel facility in southern Minnesota. 07/12/2013

Innoventé Will Develop 7.2MWe Bioenergy Plant in Matane, Canada

Quebec based renewable energy company Innoventé has announced its intent to develop an advanced bioenergy generation complex within the RockTenn board mill, shuttered more than a year ago. 07/12/2013

Global Bioenergies Secures €23MM for Advanced Biofuels and Biochemicals

With offices in both France and Ames, Iowa, Global Bioenergies (GBE) has announced a significant increase in its capital reserves, netting 23 million euro in its most recent funding round launched late last month. 07/12/2013

Oxford Catalysts to Provide Technology for Oregon Biomass to Fuel Plant

The United Kingdom (UK) based Oxford Catalysts Group (OCG) has announced its selection to provide the Fischer-Tropsch (F/T) catalytic technology for a biomass to liquids (BTL) renewable fuel production plant to be located in Oregon. 07/10/2013

Autark Institute and Agnion Energy Partner for Biomethane Purification Project

The Autark Institute for Energy, Research and Consulting (Autark) of Gorlitz, Germany and agnion energy GmbH have jointly announced an initial two-year collaboration for development of catalytic synthesis gas (syngas) reforming subsystems. 07/10/2013

BioNitrogen Secures Site in Louisiana for Biomass to Urea Plant

Florida based BioNitrogen Corporation has announced signing an agreement to acquire approximately 245 acres in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana for approximately $2 million. 07/09/2013

Swedish Institute Publishes Forest Waste to Biofuels Investigation

The Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transport Fuels, known as "f3" for "Fossil Free Fuels", has announced completion of an investigation and publication (in Swedish only) of "CURRENT AND FUTURE SUSTAINABLE BIOFUELS" assessing conversion of forest wastes and residuals into biofuels, on assignment to the Swedish government. 07/09/2013

Waste2Tricity Plans Bilsthorpe MRF + Waste to Energy Plant

London-based Waste2Tricity (W2T) has announced plans to develop a £70 million waste conversion and resource recovery complex in Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom (UK). 07/08/2013

Collège Boréal and EACOM Timber Launch Study of Biochar for Remediation

Located in Ontario, Canada, Collège Boréal has announced that it is collaborating with Quebec-based EACOM Timber Corporation in its first applied research project on the analysis and use of biochar produced by the forest industry for agricultural use. 07/08/2013

The Week's Action Items

Due 08/07/2013: Comments to Idaho DEQ on Draft Composting Guidance

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued a request for public comment on its draft guidance for operation of composting facilities. 07/08/2013

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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.