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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume IV, Issue 10, March 10, 2014 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Waste Wars: "It's My trash! No, it's MY trash!" That cry has long been heard in squabbles between municipal solid waste (MSW) haulers, when one company claims the other is stepping into their territory, bogarding contracted collections of trash destined for the local dump. Waste Management has always been about the money, but now that the "waste" is fast becoming "resource," the bickering over surreptitious runs has started to focus more on lucrative waste conversion.

The twist comes when a government claims not only the authority to hand out the prized hauler contracts, but to own the grease, as well. Over the last few weeks, a sordid tale of unauthorized waste hauling has unfolded in Singapore, with regular official updates being provided by the country's National Environmental Agency (NEA) and less official if more telling tales running in many of the local news services. We've opened the story to you with a news item this week.

For years now, the ugly practice of "sewer oil" recovery and reuse has been a serious problem in the Asian regions. Companies suck up the floating grease and oil literally from the gutters and the sewers, strain out the big chunks, and (gag) sell it back to the restaurants at less than the rapidly-escalating price of "virgin" cooking oil. Besides just being plain nasty, we have to consider that when any oil is repeatedly heated it breaks down into some very toxic substances.

But turning that same waste grease into biodiesel apparently brings a hefty return with less risk, as the back-alley practice has not been as closely watched. That has changed, especially in Singapore. The government controls who collects all of that cruddy waste grease and oil so they can then feed it to anaerobic digestion systems at nationalized "waste recovery plants" for conversion to biogas. Singapore's NEA figured out that unauthorized grease-suckers were selling their greasy slop to outside biodiesel producers, and the proverbial grease hit the fan.

This example really should not be too much of a surprise. Money's tight, and Trash is Treasure for the indomitable entrepreneurial spirit. Waste Conversion businesses already find securing supply contracts to be a tightening marketplace; it's just that when the government claims the resource, well, that is a game changer. Today it's the grease, tomorrow the waste wood and short-fiber paper fragments, next week the un-recyclable plastics. Soon, we'll all understand there is no "waste" that can't be converted back to goods.

Think this is limited to Singapore? We'd suggest exercising extreme caution, if you decide to cart off waste kitchen oil from the Commissary at one of the US military bases that now is making their own biodiesel. Just sayin'.

Hey Rube!

A more encouraging example to watch of integrated waste management for conversion instead of disposal is playing out in the Metro Vancouver region, where the existing sewage and solid waste management infrastructure is being augmented with waste conversion complements, with the resulting biogas then fed to the existing natural gas pipeline framework. Go, Vancouver!

This Week's Top Story

University in Denmark Reports on Cheaper 2G Biofuels without Enzymes

The University of Southern Denmark (USD) has announced that its researchers in collaboration with the University of Baghdad and Al-Muthanna University in Iraq have developed a new technique to make second generation (2G) biofuels without the use of expensive enzymes. 03/03/2014

The Week's News

Singapore's NEA Cracks Down on Collection of Waste Grease for Biodiesel

The National Environmental Agency (NEA) of Singapore has issued an advisory providing an update regarding several cases of illegal collection of waste kitchen and sewer grease for conversion to biodiesel. 03/09/2014

Ensyn and Memorial Hospital Sign RFO™ Cellulosic Biofuel Supply Agreement

Delaware based Ensyn Corporation (Ensyn) has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ensyn Fuels, has entered into a contract with Memorial Hospital of North Conway, New Hampshire ("Memorial") for the supply of RFO™ heating fuel, Ensyn's advanced cellulosic biofuel. 03/08/2014

US DOE Hosts Biomass Liquefaction and Bio-Oil Co-Processing Workshops

The US Department of Energy's (DOE) Bioenergy Technology Office (BETO) has posted details and registration links for two up-coming biomass conversion workshops. 03/08/2014  

Global Bioenergies Selects Linde for the Design of Its German Pilot Plant

Paris based Global Bioenergies SA has announced that the Engineering Division of The Linde Group will design Global's second industrial pilot that will be located at Leuna refinery site in Germany. 03/07/2014

Liquid Light Unveils Catalytic Process to Make Chemicals From CO2

New Jersey company Liquid Light, Inc has announced its new process for the production of major chemicals from carbon dioxide (CO2), showcasing its demonstration-scale 'reaction cell' and confirming the potential for cost-advantaged process economics. 03/07/2014

Springboard Biodiesel's New Chico Facility Launches Local Buyers Club

California based Springboard Biodiesel has announced the creation of a local biodiesel buyers club for interested individuals and companies in and around Butte County. 03/07/2014

2014 Clean Energy Challenge Finalists include Waste Conversion Start-Ups

Clean Energy Trust has announced the 16 startup companies that will compete in the fourth annual Clean Energy Challenge, a $500,000 business plan competition that takes place April 3, 2014 in Chicago. 03/05/2014

Succinity's First Commercial Plant Startup Produces Biobased Succinic Acid

Succinity GmbH, the joint venture between Corbion Purac and BASF for the production and commercialization of biobased succinic acid, has announced the successful start-up of its first commercial production facility. 03/05/2014

HP and YFY Jupiter Partner to Convert Chinese Straw into Packaging

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has announced that it has partnered with YFY Jupiter in an innovative program to convert waste straw into packaging and a cash crop for Chinese farmers. 03/05/2014

Foster-Wheeler Secures Contract for Two Boilers at Pakistani Sugar Mill

Foster Wheeler AG has announced that a subsidiary of its Global Power Group has been awarded a contract by Shanghai Marine Diesel Engine Research Institute (SMDERI) for the design and supply of two grate boilers for Fatima Energy Limited, a subsidiary of Fatima Group. 03/04/2014

BioNitrogen Signs 25-Year Biomass Feedstock Supply Agreements with BRM

BioNitrogen Holdings Corp has announced signing biomass supply agreements with BioResource Management (BRM) for feedstock supply for Bionitrogen's initial plant in Florida. 03/04/2014

IBI Will Host 2 Public Webinars on Proposed Revisions to Biochar Standards

The International Biochar Initiative (IBI) has announced two interactive webinars to discuss proposed changes to last year's Version 1.1 Biochar Standards. 03/04/2014

Metro Vancouver Will Convert Sewage Waste to Biogas for Pipeline Injection  Metro Vancouver in British Columbia (B.C.) Canada has announced a $13 million project to capture some of the energy in sewage and convert it to energy-rich biomethane for delivery to FortisBC and its natural gas distribution system. 03/03/2014

UCSF and Verliant Collaborate to Advance Science of Waste Conversion

San Francisco based Verliant Sciences (Verliant), has announced entering into a multi-year collaborative research and development agreement with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) for the analysis and separation of molecular constituents of various waste streams. 03/03/2014

USFS Releases Forest Management Plan and FEIS for Kaibab National Forest

The US Forest Service (USFS) has announced release of the new land and resources management plan and accompanying final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for the Kaibab National Forest (KNF), which are available on the USFS website. 03/03/2014

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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.