Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume IV, Issue 16, April 21, 2014 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "TerĂº")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Bring on the Heat! That's the strident cry we're hearing across the Waste Conversion spectrum. Wood chips replacing coal; Biochar rising to the top of the scientific pecking order - more federal $$ for a whole range of clean conversion, especially thermal waste conversion for production of biofuels - and in London, even Plasma gets its chance.

There is just a whole lot of waste-sourced resource that needs heat to break it down - those kinds of wastes for which microbial decomposition isn't well suited. Global confidence in super-efficient thermal conversion is on the rise. A lot of what has changed is the technical ability to take the synthetic gas that is sucked off of that super-heated waste and turn it right back into fuels and chemicals with the magic of catalysis. In part, we are guided by the centuries-old wisdom of adding carefully-made charcoal - or "biochar" - back to the soil to improve its water and nutrient holding ability. Then again, wood smoke cruds up the air less than coal fumes, and biomass can fuel those big old coal plants just fine, with a little effort. In the broader view, people are waking up to just how "sustainable" it is to cleanly turn any waste back to goods, and just how important thermal conversion can be to reach that worthy goal.

There's a Zen saying that you can use a thorn to remove a thorn, and then you throw both away. We are learning to use the Problem of too Much Waste to solve the Problem of Too Little Energy, and there's hope in achieving a balance between the two. Yet the biggest reason we are now seeing such a sweeping shift toward common sense inclusion of thermal waste conversion in our communal bag of tricks is not the dramatic improvement in technical control and systems availability. It isn't the climate change wake-up call, although greatly reducing the damage we do to the air we breathe seems pretty darn important. It's the increase in scientifically-founded, logic-driven, problem-solving political leadership ready to embrace the entire realm of clean waste conversion. THAT's what changing the most: Those at the top are re-thinking what "Clean" means.

When it comes to turning waste back to goods, we've all got a job to do - and we need to gather up all our tools, including Bringing on the Heat, to do that job right.

Hey Rube!

Here in California, the Department of Recycling and Resource Recovery will stage a Re-Think Workshop focused on the proper place for Thermal Conversion, as we recently reported. To give this effort a push in the right direction, one of Dr. Eugene Tseng's students at UCLA has started a Change.Org petition to emphasize the Public's will regarding the need to address thermal waste conversion technologies as a crucial element of Integrated Resource Recovery. Dr. Tseng is one of the brighter lights in this country on this subject, and his classes in modern waste-as-resource management are top notch. Ms. Chow's petition deserves your support. (Hint: If you use a newer version of IE, set it to compatibility mode).

This Week's Top Story

Turku Utilities in Finland Plan to Exchange Coal for Biomass and Waste

The energy consortium Turun Seudun Energiantuotanto Oy (TSE) in the Turku region of Finland has confirmed plans to replace a 50-year-old coal plant in Naantali with a multifuel facility that can be fuelled entirely by biomass and waste. 04/16/2014

The Week's News

Springboard to Host Webinar: Benefits of Small-Scale Biodiesel Production

California based Springboard Biodiesel has announced a free informational webinar lasting under an hour on small-scale production for affordable clean burning biodiesel. 04/18/2014

INCBIO Delivers Fully Built 8,000 MT/yr Biodiesel Plant to North Africa

Portugal company Incbio has announced delivery of an 8,000 MT per year biodiesel plant to Biokast Energy S.A. to be installed in Tunis, Tunisia. 04/18/2014

ABC Announces Winners of First Ever Biogas Project of the Year Awards

At its second annual conference last week, the American Biogas Council (ABC) announced awards in the first ever Biogas Projects of the Year in four categories: agricultural, municipal, merchant, and institutional. 04/18/2014

DOE Issues Draft Loan Guarantee Solicitation for Clean Energy Projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a draft loan guarantee solicitation for innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the U.S. that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases. 04/17/2014

British Airways and Solena to Build GreenSky Plasma Waste to Jet Fuel Plant

Washington DC based Solena Fuels in partnership with British Airways has committed to building the world’s first facility to convert landfill waste into jet fuel. 04/17/2014

New Zealand University Issues Open Call for Biochar Samples

The International Biochar Initiative (IBI) reports that researchers at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, seek to characterize the effective heat treatment temperature for production of biochar. 04/16/2014

CCEMC Announces Round One Winners in Carbon Use Competition

The Alberta, Canada based Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) has announced 24 winners for the first round of the $35 million international 'Grand Challenge: Innovative Carbon Uses'. 04/16/2014

The Week's Action Items

Due 05/01/2014: Concepts to DOE for Upgrading Technologies for Biofuels

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $10 million in funding to advance the production of advanced biofuels, substitutes for petroleum-based feedstocks, and bioproducts made from renewable, non-food-based biomass, such as agricultural residues and woody biomass. 04/17/2014

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Recommended Reading:

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