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Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume IV, Issue 22, June 2, 2014 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "TerĂº")  

Teru's Trash Talk

The Buzz Word for the Day is Bio-Residuals: that left-over plant and animal "waste" we generate with everything we do, everywhere. The Farmer cuts the grain, and turns most of the straw back into the soil to keep it healthy. But there's more straw than the dirt needs: Bio-Residuals, destined to be burnt, or buried, or blown away. The Farmer picks tomatoes, and only the best go to market. Isn't that what the advertisements claim: we only sell the Best of the Best? The Rest are Bio-Residuals: half of the "biomass" harvested never makes it to market.

But what about that market? Stand around in the Produce section of your local store and watch the constant culling that goes on. New broccoli arrives in a waxed cardboard box; old broccoli goes out to the dumpster. Let's figure that about a ton a day conservatively of the food stuff that makes it to your own supermarket's shelves will end up being shuffled off to the dump. You can bet we pay for those Bio-Residuals; part of the cost of every apple we select has to cover the apples we leave behind, or that market isn't long in business. We pay to waste our resources.

You spot a local restaurant owner in line while you buy your apples: she's got an arm load of fresh baguettes from the store's bakery. You remember how nice it is to eat at that establishment and show up for the dinner hour: mmmm, fresh baguettes! That's because yesterday's bread went out when the new loaves came in. Tonight's baguette that doesn't get eaten will go out with the scraps of kale you thought were only for decoration, along with that entire serving of fresh steamed broccoli the little brat at the next table refused to even taste.

We all see it happening every day. Now, we hear that if we can only gather it up effectively, there are cool tools to turn that goop into biogas and fertilizer, turn those Bio-Residuals back into Money. Here's an honest question: how can we intercept Bio-Residuals before that rich organic glop is lost forever? Folks around the world right now are figuring out what kind of rollie-cart with a snap-down lid they need to have at the ready in the restaurant kitchens, what sort of de-packaging gismo can strip the plastic off that rejected package of tofu, how to train ourselves and our kitchen staff not to dump the bleach and broken glass in with the carrot tops and egg shells. Remember: we've got three, maybe four days before the Wild Microbes win this round, or before those rotting resources are under another layer of fill at the local "sanitary disposal site".

When we think of Bio-Residuals, we don't spend much time figuring out just how much is being generated, or how in the world we could gather it up and make something good out of it. People with food readily available to eat pay little attention to the farmer's dilemma, and seldom think of the food they waste at all. Humans are Humans, and Waste Happens. We just have to make ourselves spend more time figuring out how to count, collect, and convert Bio-Residuals back into fresh resources, and send them for another spin on the wheel.

Hey Rube!

There's lots going on concerning Bio-Residuals right now, including the annual re-think forum tomorrow organized by EPA9 and UC Davis in Northern California, new webinars on various aspects of organics utilization, and a new European guide to managing and reducing food waste. Don't forget the calls for abstracts and requests for renewable energy offers. Look it all over, pick your targets and get busy. Whistle if you need a hand; there are lots of us more than ready to help.

This Week's Top Story

St1 Biofuels Is Building Waste-Based Ethanol Production Plant in Sweden

Finland based St1 Biofuels Oy has announced that it will deliver an Etanolix® plant producing waste-based bioethanol to North European Oil Trade Oy in Gothenburg, Sweden. 05/27/2014

The Week's News

US DOE Issues Funding NOI for Clean Energy Projects on Tribal Lands

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has released a Notice of Intent (NOI) to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled “Deployment of Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects on Indian Lands.” 05/31/2014

UNEP, FAO, and WRAP Release Food Waste Prevention Guidance Tool

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have collaborated with the United Kingdom’s (UK) Waste & Resource Action Programme (WRAP) in the release of new on-line guidance for designing effective food waste prevention programs. 05/31/2014

UC to Host Webinar on Biomass-Fuelled District Heating in Belgium

The University of California's Woody Biomass Utilization Group will host a webinar on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 on biomass-fuelled district heating systems in Belgium. 05/30/2014

VTT Thesis Explores More Efficient Straw and Wood Conversion to Chemicals

The physical science and technology service Phys.Org reports that the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has released "Development of pretreatment technology and enzymatic hydrolysis for biorefineries," a thesis exploring more efficient methods of agricultural residue conversion. 05/30/2014

Construction Finally Starting on Mercia EnviRecover EfW Facility in UK

Switzerland based Hitachi Zosen Inova AG has announced that it has been selected as the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Contractor for the turnkey delivery of the Mercia EnviRecover Energy from Waste facility (EfW) at the Hartlebury Trading Estate, near Kidderminster, England. 05/30/2014

Patriot Renewable Fuels Hires Leifmark to Design Inbicon Biomass Biorefinery

Illinois based Patriot Renewable Fuels, LLC and Leifmark, LLC have announced that Leifmark has been authorized to create a custom Project Definition, the first step of a plan for co-locating an Inbicon Biomass Refinery on the site of Patriot’s 130 million gallon per year grain-ethanol plant in Annawan, Illinois.  05/29/2014

Vertrolysis' Vertro Biochar Receives IBI Certification

The International Biochar Initiative (IBI) has announced that "Vertro Biochar" produced by the firm Vertrolysis LLC meets the IBI Biochar Standards and has received certification. 05/29/2014

IEA Studies Focus on Co-Generation, Energy Efficiency, and AD Pretreatment

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a series of reports this year, emphasizing the benefits and opportunities of efficient energy, advanced feedstock processing methods, and alternative fuels utilization. 05/27/2014

The Week's Action Items

Due 06/27/2014: Offers To SCE for Eligible Renewable Resources

Southern California Edison (SCE) has issued its Fifth Renewable Auction Mechanism Request for Offers ("RAM 5 RFO") for Product from Eligible Renewable Resources. 05/31/2014

Due 06/30/2014: Abstracts for DOE's Renewable Energy Markets Conference

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has opened a Call for Abstracts for its long-running annual Renewable Energy Markets (REM) Conference to be held this year on December 2-4, 2014 in Sacramento, California. 05/29/2014

Due 07/18/2014: Applications to NRCS California for Funding for Tribal Lands

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is partnering with California’s tribal nations to make financial assistance available to tribal farmers, ranchers, and non-industrial private forest operators. 05/29/2014

Due 08/08/2014: Applications to 2014 Defense Energy Technology Challenge

Organizations with defense-related energy solutions are invited to submit an application (no fee to apply) to compete in this year's Defense Energy Technology Challenge (DETC). 05/27/2014

Due 09/15/2014: Abstracts, Posters, Session Topics for Waste to Worth 2015

The non-profit eXtension Foundation's Livestock and Poultry Learning Center has released a call for submission of abstracts, poster concepts, and session topics. The submissions are sought as an aid to planning the 2nd Annual Waste to Worth conference scheduled for March 31 to April 3, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. 05/27/2014

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