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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume III, Issue 37, September 16, 2013 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Beautiful, mind-boggling images of the Cosmos come to my computer screen every morning, courtesy of the Space Administration's "Astronomy Picture of the Day". Besides a constant reminder of just how insignificant I really am, there are other lessons to be learned from space; yes, even lessons in cosmic waste management. A recent exposé on Black Holes provides an excellent example. It seems many galaxies contain these disposal units, whirlpools that science says suck up almost everything around them eventually, converting the mass into radiation. Black Holes follow most folks' concept of what happens when the handle on the household commode is pushed and stuff goes down the hole in the bottom. It just goes "away".

I don't have this Cosmic Re-Use, Recycling, Resource Recovery and Ultimate Disposal thing all worked out yet, so bear with me. Stars explode and implode; galaxies share dust and shoot energy at each other. Molecules from one monstrous aggregate are bathed in pure energy, get all excited, blow up, become part of some other something. This happens over millions of years, but the reprocessing is similar to a Materials Recovery Facility integrated with Waste Conversion and Energy from Waste facilities. Loose discards come in, get sorted out, become something else, and the dross gets turned into energy. Way out there, billions of light years distant are super active groups of Black Holes that would turn us all into raw X-rays. Lucky for us, our rather quiet Milky Way (a mere 26,000 light years away) seems reluctant to gobble up the gaseous winds from young stars in the region and sends that syngas back out among the stars to make new cosmic stuff. As NASA puts it, "hot gas is hard to swallow." That's the crux of Thermal Conversion at its core: the Universe is just a Great Reprocessing Station in the Sky (sorry, but this continues to get worse).

Let's bring this enormity down to human scale. A broken rake handle becomes a plant stake, a plant stake becomes compost, compost becomes garden growth, and what the deer don't get first, becomes dinner. Dinner, of course, feeds our family while the scraps feed my seething colony of Wee Beasties (although most of you probably don't maintain Soldier Grubs for recycling) or perhaps gets turned into Biogas, downtown. Biogas makes power, and some of that energy runs the factory that makes the rake handles. Cosmic, dude …

Take home message: you, me, that rake handle and everything else around us consists of useful molecular stuff, propelled around the Circular Economy by its own packet of energy. As long as each bundle has enough energy, it avoids the drain. That will happen anyway, each in its own time as the energy finally runs down; we don't need to speed that process. In fact, we're all better off if we work to keep stuff cycling, if we maintain and even increase the energy level around us. Do your part: Avoid the Drain.

Hey Rube!

Two events occur in Sacramento this week, and if you are in the area, you should join the fray. First, CalRecycle and the Air Board are at it again on Tuesday afternoon, holding another workshop to help puzzle out how to reduce the greenhouse gas impacts of the Waste Management Sector. Second: The California Bioresources Alliance hosts its 8th Annual Symposium: "A Call to Action" on Wednesday and Thursday.  If you happen to be in the San Diego area instead, drop in on the Waste Conversion Technology Conference that started yesterday and runs through tomorrow. Y'all come now, ye hear?

This Week's Top Story

Bently Biofuels Acquires Bay Area Waste Oil and Grease Collection Company

Headquartered in Minden, Nevada, biodiesel producer Bently Biofuels Company has announced that late last month, it completed acquisition of Got Grease?, a large-scale San Francisco Bay area grease trap pumping and waste oil collection service. 09/10/2013

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.


LLNL and Chemergy Plan Biosolids to Hydrogen Demo at Delta Diablo WWTP

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has announced its readiness to oversee demonstration trials of a process for conversion of biosolids to hydrogen at the Delta Diablo Sanitation District (DDSD) wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). 09/13/2013

USDA Expands Promotion of Rural Wood to Energy Project Development

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new partnership agreement with four non-profit associations, and the award of five grants totaling $1.1 million to associations and state agencies supporting wood energy projects and expanding the use of forest health program generated biomass. 09/13/2013

USFS Webinar Announces Transfer of 4FRI Phase I Stewardship Contract

The U.S. Forest Service hosted a web conference today to announce the decision to transfer the Phase 1 stewardship contract for the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI). 09/13/2013

Furuya Opens New Tetronics Plasma Plant to Recover Precious Metals

United Kingdom (UK) based Tetronics International has announced that the plasma pyrometallurgical facility it supplied to Furuya Metal Co., Inc. in Tsuchiura, Japan has been officially opened. 09/11/2013

Oregon DEQ Is Forming Materials Management Workgroup

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is in the process of forming a Materials Management Workgroup to implement the Materials Management in Oregon: 2050 Vision and Framework for Action. 09/11/2013

WELTEC BIOPOWER and Domaix Develop Four Biogas Plants in France

Germany based WELTEC BIOPOWER has announced development of four agricultural anaerobic digestion (AD) combined heat and power (CHP) plants for production of biogas in France with partner Domaix Energie, based in Alsace. 09/11/2013

Danish Public/Private Partnership Plans Sulfur-Free Marine Fuel Biorefinery

The Port of Frederikshavn, Steeper Energy and Aalborg University have announced a public/private partnership to establish a biorefinery to produce up to 900,000 tons of sulfur-free marine fuel to serve over 100,000 vessels passing through the Danish port annually. 09/11/2013

Midori Renewables Launches Solid Catalyst that Converts Biomass to Sugar

Massachusetts based Flagship VentureLabs has announced that its company Midori Renewables, Inc is globally deploying its technology platform that centers on a solid catalyst with the capacity to dissociate biomass into its constituent sugars. 09/10/2013

Ribbon Cutting for Ameresco's Johnson Canyon Landfill Gas to Energy Plant

Massachusetts based Ameresco has announced that it will join local officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark completion of construction of a 1.4 megawatt electric (MWe) landfill gas-to-energy installation at the Johnson Canyon Landfill in Gonzales, California. 09/10/2013

CalRecycle and CARB Host Workshop to Discuss Revised AB 32 Scoping Plan

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will co-host another AB 32 Draft Scoping Plan workshop on September 17, 2013 to discuss revisions to the Waste Management Sector topical documents. 09/09/2013

EDF Renewable Energy Acquires Heartland Biogas Project in Colorado

San Diego based EDF Renewable Energy has announced that the company has closed on an agreement to acquire Heartland Renewable Energy LLC and its Heartland Biogas Project located in Weld County near LaSalle, Colorado. 09/09/2013

SoCalGas Establishes $1MM Clean Tech Innovation Fund with LACI

The Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) and the nonprofit business development agency Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) have announced the launch of a collaborative Innovation Fund. 09/09/2013

The Week's Action Items

Due 10/09/2013: Renewable Electrical Power Proposals to City of Palo Alto

The City of Palo Alto, California has released a Request for Proposal for Utility Commodities, RFP151223 - Renewable Electric Power - Fall 2013. 09/11/2013

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Recommended Reading:

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Waste to energy conversion technology (Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy 2013)


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