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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume III, Issue 3, January 21, 2013 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "TerĂº")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Let's consider a little looser definition of what constitutes "waste conversion." I propose that any process that takes a "waste" and makes it back into a "non-waste" as a raw product or commodity ready for remanufacturing is a conversion process. It stands to reason that any technology used to accomplish that Hat Trick of waste to non-waste can be called a conversion technology, or for the acronym-addicted, a "CT."

Broadening definitions, we have to admit that CTs have been around for a long time. We risk losing that cache of New & Improved when we include older reprocessing methods and technology platforms. Yet there isn't really any bright line between kinetic-plus-thermal reprocessing of mixed waste plastic into planks and extruded furniture, and the pyrolytic off-gassing and depolymerization of that same waste plastic into synthetic fuel gas and chemicals. At its core, this is just a matter of degree, and control.

Waste paper's the same way. For ages, we've been pulping, chemically treating, heating, and pressing used paper back into cardboard and "kraft" paper. Now, we know we can use super hot water, pressure, and enzymes to turn that pulp into wood sugar, ready for microbes to turn it into fuel and chemicals, or dry heat to make bio-oil to be catalyzed for fuel. We've just managed to achieve a few new options for how to get that waste paper to no longer be "waste."

Look at the decomposition of veggie waste by microbes that like oxygen, a practice we call Composting, and compare it to the microbial decomposition of those same kinds of biomass in a no-air atmosphere, something we call Anaerobic Digestion. Both conversion methods can be tightly guided with addition of CTs. We can even control which bugs eat what sort of feedstock and what those bugs spit out, if we know what we are doing and are particularly careful.

Oh goodness, now we've confused what we have been calling Recycling with what we have been calling Conversion. Exactly. You can't complete the return of waste to usefulness without some form of conversion, whether major or very minor. And if recycling has to end with some kind of reprocessing, we need to rethink what we mean by "post-recycling residuals." Consider that somehow we probably can use the residuals of one conversion processing pathway as another pathway's feedstock. We need to build the interconnected infrastructure necessary to create our own Circular Economy and reclaim materials cradle-to-cradle. It comes down to accessing the right tools at the right time in the right place, and the knowledge of how to use them.

Hey Rube!

Speaking of having the wherewithal to turn lemons to lemonade, check out our News bit about all that cowburger in the UK showing up with horse and pig DNA. Lost to most of those folks watching this catastrophe is the fact that at least one major supermarket chain finds itself already geared up with enough Anaerobic Digestion systems to turn their losses into energy instead of sending thousands of pounds of meat to the dump. Whatever you think about the wide-spread practice of adding questionably sourced meat stuff to make cheap burger stick together, ya gotta applaud the market's Corporate Responsibility concept of waste-to-nonwaste.

The Week's News

BTEC Registers Tarm Biomass Project as First Biomass Green Heat Site

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) has announced that an industrial bioenergy installation developed by member company Tarm Biomass of Lyme, New Hampshire is the first Biomass Green Heat Registered Site in the organization's new recognition program. 01/20/2013

ARA and Blue Sun Partner to Commercialize Renewable Jet and Diesel Fuels

New Mexico based Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) and Colorado based Blue Sun Energy, Inc. jointly announced a partnership for the design, construction, and operation of a Biofuels ISOCONVERSION (BIC) Process demonstration system. 01/20/2013

CRI Catalyst Selects KBR to Design Commercial IH2 Process Facility Packages

Houston's engineering and construction services company KBR, Inc has announced that it has been selected by CRI Catalyst Company as its preferred engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) partner for design of commercial scale IH2 technology facility packages. 01/19/2013

UK's Horse DNA Contaminated Burger Waste Will Be Converted to Energy

The United Kingdom (UK) Food Standards Agency has provided an update to the on-going investigation into horse and pig DNA contaminated beef products. 01/19/2013

John Lewis Partnership and Centriforce Products Close Plastics Loop

The United Kingdom's largest waste plastics recovery and recycling company Centriforce Products has announced that its long-standing work with the retail giant John Lewis Partnership will now include full closed loop management of the company's diverse plastic wastes. 01/18/2013

JBI Secures Additional $4MM in Extended Series B Private Placement

Canadian headquartered plastics to oil company JBI, Inc. has announced that it has completed an extended Series B private placement funding round this month, securing an additional $4,037,446 from sale of convertible preferred stock. 01/18/2013

DOE FEMP Schedules Training Webinar on Combined Heat and Power

The US Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) has announced a free training webinar addressing "Combined Heat and Power: An Integrated Approach to Energy Resources." 01/17/2013

Recycling Technologies Secures Equity Investment for Waste Plastics to CHP

Recycling Technologies Ltd has announced success in securing initial equity investment from the Wroxall Investors Group (WIG) for advanced waste plastics conversion for recovery of chemicals and/or combined heat and power (CHP). 01/17/2013

Enerkem Closes C$37MM in Equity Funding for Alberta Biofuels Facility

The Canadian thermal waste conversion firm Enerkem has announced a successful equity funding round in support of completing construction of the Enerkem Alberta Biofuels facility in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 01/17/2013

Sweetwater Signs $100MM Cellulosic Sugar Supply Contract with Front Range

New York based cellulosic biomass to sugar specialist Sweetwater Energy has announced signing a 15-year, $100 million contract to provide cellulosic biomass derived sugars to Front Range Energy for conversion to ethanol. 01/17/2013

Harmonic Energy Signs $10MM Term Sheet to Fund Tyrolysis Plants

London based integrated tire production and reprocessing company Harmonic Energy Inc. has announced signing a negotiated non-binding term sheet valued at $10 million in funding. 01/16/2013

Synthesis Energy Explores Gasification of Waste to Produce Green Chemicals

Texas based Synthesis Energy Systems (SES) has announced reaching an exploratory agreement with an undisclosed party to trial its gasification technology in conversion of waste derived feedstock to green chemicals. 01/15/2013

Shanks Contracts to Build Multi-Tech Waste Recycling and Conversion Facility

The United Kingdom (UK) based waste management firm Shanks has announced signing a 25 year contract with Wakefield Council to build a residual waste treatment facility in South Kirkby, Yorkshire in central England. 01/15/2013

Renmatix Commissions Multi-Feedstock BioFlex Conversion Unit

Biomass to sugar specialist Renmatix has announced the commissioning of a new processing unit at the firm's King of Prussia headquarters in Pennsylvania. 01/14/2013

IRENA Launches On-Line Global Renewable Energy Atlas

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has announced the launch of a global web-based atlas of renewable energy (RE), intended to help countries assess their RE potential and to facilitate private company project development. 01/14/2013

BIOGEN Develops Food Waste Anaerobic Digestion Plant at Hertfordshire

The United Kingdom based anaerobic digestion specialist BIOGEN has announced that it will develop a 45,000 tonne per year anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at the Bygrave Lodge Farm near Hertfordshire in east central England. 01/14/2013

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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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