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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume III, Issue 9, March 4, 2013 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Let's talk about the idea of a "Circular Economy", and inside of this, a Waste Management Hierarchy. We can guess that this Circular business means whatever stuff we use needs to find its way back into use again at some future date, and probably in some other configuration. Sometimes there-and-back-again routing is also called Cradle to Cradle. New tire to recapped tire to ground up tire to road base; that works OK, as does used tire to "depolymerized" tire to new fuel and chemicals. Used tire to dump doesn't make sense, and what about used tire to furnace to heat to electricity? Tires burn Really Hot!

Power's great and much needed, but what we lose with combustion are the polymer molecules. It takes a huge amount of resources to make new polymers, those complex long-chain chemicals that stick together well enough to make New Tires, as well as so many other useful things. If we incinerate tires, we get heat and power, but if we just pull 'em apart and put those molecules back into service (recovery), we get a whole lot of different useful things. But heat and power is also "recovery", we whine: it is "energy recovery". OK, let's get more specific. With non-incineration reprocessing, we get Molecular Recovery. That's where Waste Conversion shines the brightest.

The Circular Economy concept bets that Molecular Recovery is a Higher and Better Use for that waste than just heat and power. That works, unless what you need most right then is Power. The choice is subjective and has to be thought through case by case, but let's say you want to save Them Molecules via Recovery, and go Cradle to Cradle to Cradle to … over and over until the molecules themselves are worn out.

Now, let's get back to the Hierarchy, or rather, Hierarchies. A "waste management hierarchy" is supposed to set up a pecking order of most preferred to least preferred use. "Highest and Best Use" is that very subjective and case-specific determination of what to DO with the stuff we no longer need. Most typically, this starts with Reduce, then Reuse, then Recycle. From there on, this policy statement gets a slightly different interpretation for each state, again at the US national level, and different again for the European Union (EU) and the rest of the world.

The Difference shows up in how, if at all, the idea of Recovery is wedged in between Recycling above, and Disposal, below. The US EPA lumps everything into one category called "Energy Recovery" and says Composting is equivalent to Recycling. The EU places Recycling above Recovery with everything better than Disposal, but makes no distinction between strict heat generation for power recovery, and Conversion of waste that preserves those hard-to-create Molecules.

If indeed this concept of a Circular Economy holds merit, if Materials Management trumps transformation by burning to make to heat for power, then Those in Power need to re-think the Hierarchies and slot in Molecular Recovery. It's the Molecules, baby …

Hey Rube!

This week's news covers this topic nicely, if in bits and pieces between the US EPA's efforts on Green Chemistry and new RFS Fuels Pathways, to the UK's interpretation of Energy from Waste. a cohesive strategy that specifies Molecular Recovery is sorely needed if Humans are ever going to really make the Waste Management part of our economy Circular.

The Week's News

Karlsruhe Institute & Air Liquide Validate Stage II High-Pressure Bioliq Gasifier

Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has announced that in cooperation with its French technology partner Aire Liquide Global E&C Solutions, the Stage II bioliq® high pressure entrained flow gasifier has successfully converted the liquid Stage I intermediate product BioliqSynCrude® into a tar-free synthesis gas. 03/01/2013

DOE Hosts Success Stories Webinar on Renewable Energy Parks

The US Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has announced that its Strategic Programs Office is hosting a free webinar titled "Community Renewable Energy Success Stories: Renewable Energy Parks" on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. 03/01/2013

Ameresco and DOE Celebrate 1st Year of Savanna River Bioenergy Complex

Massachusetts based Ameresco has announced that it joined the US Department of Energy (DOE) to celebrate the first year of successful operation of the Savannah River Site (SRS) biomass cogeneration facility. 03/01/2013

Pratt & Whitney Commissions Biomass ORC System at Nechako Lumber

Staff at Pratt & Whitney (PW) has told Teru Talk that the company's biomass driven Turboden Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) installed at the Nechako Lumber Mill in British Columbia (BC) last month has now been successfully commissioned. 03/01/2013

Cambi Is Awarded Core Technology Contract for Stavanger Biogas Plant

Norway's pre-treatment specialist company Cambi AS has announced that it has won a contract for the core technology in a new biogas plant in the municipality of Hå, outside Stavanger on the south-west coast of Norway. 03/01/2013

Ballard 175 kWe Fuel Cell System to be Installed at Blue Lake Biomass Plant

Canadian Ballard Power Systems has announced the sale of a 175 kilowatt electric capacity (kWe) ClearGen distributed generation fuel cell (FC) system to the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe of Humboldt County, California. 03/01/2013

DECC Releases Non-Domestic Budgeting Plan for Renewable Heat Incentive

The United Kingdom's (UK) Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced release of the budget scheme to fund the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for commercial, industrial and community organizations. 02/28/2013

DEFRA Publishes Guide to the Energy From Waste Debate

The United Kingdom's (UK) Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced the release of "Energy from Waste - a Guide to the Debate," as an overview of the key environmental, technical and economic aspects of the conversion of municipal solid waste to the recovery of energy. 02/28/2013

Piedmont Biofuels Certified as RSB Sustainable by 3rd Party Assessment

SCS Global Services in California has announced that as an official third-party assessment and auditing party, it has now certified Piedmont Biofuels in North Carolina as sustainable under the international protocols of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB). 02/28/2013

USFS Releases Early Draft EIS for Four Forests Restoration Initiative

The US Forest Service (USFS) has announced public access to elements of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Four Forests Restoration Initiative (4FRI), covering analyses pertinent to the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests. 02/27/2013

CH2M HILL Project at VCS Denmark's Ejby Mølle WWTP Wins WEX Award

CH2M HILL has announced that the Ejby Mølle Wastewater Treatment Plant (EMWWTP) in Odense, Denmark has won a Water and Energy Exchange (WEX) Global Innovation Award in the water and energy category. 02/27/2013

Integro Earth Fuels Receives SCRA Funds for Bio-Coal Demonstration Facility

The South Carolina Rapid Application (SCRA) program has announced that its SCRA Technology Ventures division has provided initial funding to Integro Earth Fuels for development of a bio-coal demonstration facility. 02/27/2013

EPA Issues Final Rule for Additional Renewable Fuel Pathways

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced issuance of a Final Rule (Docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0542) identifying additional fuel pathways. 02/26/2013

Senator Lara Introduces SB 804 in Support of Waste Conversion Facilities

California District 33's Senator Richard Lara last week introduced Senate Bill 804 to (a) require the California Energy Commission (CEC) to include an analysis of the opportunities for utilizing waste conversion technologies in its annual report of awards made under its Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Program, and (b) make a statement of legislative intent regarding the development of waste conversion technology facilities. 02/25/2013

Dynamic Fuels Secures Roundtable on Sustainable Fuels Certification

The RSB Services Foundation, US-based non-profit certification arm of the Roundtable on Sustainable Fuels (RSB), has announced that Oklahoma based Dynamic Fuels LLC has earned RSB certification. 02/25/2013

The Week's Action Items

Due 04/26/2013: Proposals to CEC for Energy Innovation Small Grants

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has announced the release of Energy Innovation Small Grant (EISG) program solicitations, providing up to $95,000 for hardware projects and up to $50,000 for modeling projects that establishes the feasibility of new, innovative energy concepts. 03/01/2013

Due 04/30/2013: Nominations for EPA Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is calling for nominations for the 2013 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for companies and institutions that can design chemicals or a new product that can help protect public health and the environment. 02/25/2013

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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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