Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume IV, Issue 29, July 21, 2014 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Market penetration of game-changing technology moves in waves, and this is certainly true for Waste Conversion and Resource Recovery. The first hesitant stage sees new Whats-its enveloped within Military installations and Government labs. The next wave finds adoption at the large Municipal and Industrial settings. As controls are refined, another wave finds utility for these new technology platforms in small communities and even at the residential level.

Let's face it: there's more room for slop in big systems. Variability in the waste input is more easily managed when the amount going in is only a small fraction of the amount already being processed. But when you take those same methods down a couple orders of magnitude and the input is about the same as the process capacity, you'd better have your song down pat.

We're not talking about jury-rigged little boxes that can somehow roast a ton of crud to char, despite the smoke they spew, or even the in-ground digesters that last about three years before having to be dug up and mucked out by hand. Small modular waste conversion must perform exceptionally well, stay as stabile and self-maintaining as any big rig and produce the same or less pollution per ton of input as larger capacity systems - and that last requirement is a tall order. Leakage from one small biochar pyrolyzer or food waste digestion unit may not seem like much, but multiply that by a few dozen units scattered around the neighborhood and you can make more mess than a regional operation, including the trucking emissions.

As we link community-level design with more regional integration for clean conversion of crud to goods, issues of scale and the questions of "clean, compared to what?" become all the more crucial. Whether we are engaged in a community-wide experiment in Industrial Symbiosis like the Danes, or advancing multi-stage hub-and-spoke production like Maverick Biofuels, the end result has to be less mess and more benefit than would result from landfill disposal.

There is no magic size of waste conversion system. In fact, we need a number of different sizes, ranging from the tools appropriate for a regional center right down to modules that could fit behind your friendly neighborhood grocery store. There is a market niche for super-clean modules of all scales that can address conversion of all sorts of waste. With this, we can develop multi-stage waste and biomass conversion infrastructures like Iowa State has been researching for years. Regional wastewater plants will keep processing poop for the foreseeable future, and some are now are sucking up food waste as well. Community- and farm-scale digesters are making a significant impact on localized economics, energy, and resource recovery, especially in the UK and Europe. But keep your eye on deployment of advanced micro-modules like SeAB, and the RD&D work coming out of Sweden. Once we have systems of all scales for all appetites, we'll see some real market integration of waste conversion for resource recovery.

Hey Rube!

One of the better support mechanisms available in the US for advancing smaller, newer waste conversion technology platforms has been the Department of Energy's Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR). A new Phase I SBIR solicitation has just opened, seeking applications for advancements in air and climate, manufacturing, toxic chemicals, water, building materials, food waste and homeland security. See our Action Item below, and get you papers in order. Applications are due September 11, 2014.

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This Week's Top Story

Bluesphere Receives $15MM Term Sheet for Rhode Island Biogas Project

North Carolina based Bluesphere Corporation has announced receipt of a term sheet from Energy Power Partners (EPP) for full equity financing of over $15 million for its 3.2 megawatt (MW) waste-to-energy project in Johnston, Rhode Island. 07/14/2014

The Week's News

JTI Completes Initial Research of Low-Cost Biogas Upgrading System for AD

Vancouver based Hallbar Consulting, Inc has provided an update on research by the Swedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering (JTI) into development of low-cost biogas upgrading technology suitable for use with anaerobic digestion (AD systems. 07/20/2014

US Invests $6MM to Develop Cost Competitive Advanced Biofuels by 2017

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced investing $6 million in two projects to develop next generation biofuels that will help drive down the cost of producing gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels from biomass. 07/19/2014

BioNitrogen Receives Incentives for Taylor County, Florida Urea Plant

BioNitrogen Holdings Corp has announced that it has received approvals from the Taylor County Commission, the Perry City Council, and the Taylor County Development Authority for an incentives package of up to $220 million in capital investment for a new Urea plant in Taylor County, Florida. 07/19/2014

GIB Report Identifies Gap Between UK Waste and Conversion Infrastructure

The United Kingdom (UK) Green Investment Bank (GIB) has published a market report in partnership with Tolvik Consulting that forecasts a gap of up to 7.7 million tonnes of post-recycling waste and the infrastructure available to process it. 07/16/2014

Princeton Study Validates Liquid Light's CO2 to Chemical Technology

New Jersey based Liquid Light reports that a research team affiliated with the Department of Chemistry at Princeton University has released a peer-reviewed paper validating key elements of the company's carbon dioxide (CO2) to chemical technology platform. 07/15/2014

Danish Symbiose Center Coordinates Industrial Symbiosis in Kalundborg

Washington state based Mercurius Biorefining, Inc has provided an update of the Danish Symbiose Center's on-going circular economy project implementing "industrial symbiosis." 07/15/2014

Harmonic Energy Signs LOI for Supply of 18K Tonnes/Year Waste Tires

London based Harmonic Energy Inc has announced that it has signed a letter of intent (LOI) for a long term supply of tire feedstock with Consolidated Tire Processing LLC, which will supply 18,000 tonnes or an estimated 2 million scrap tires per year of scrap tires to Harmonic. 07/15/2014

Methes Energies Completes Its First Biodiesel Sale Transaction in the US

Methes Energies International Ltd has announced completion of its first biodiesel transaction in the United States through its wholly owned US subsidiary as the importer of record and generator of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). 07/14/2014

UK Offers Support for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships for Agri-Food Supply

The United Kingdom’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) issued a reminder that registrations are still being accepted for establishment and support of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs). 07/14/2014

EC Awards €308MM to Six Key Bioenergy Projects from EU Emissions Trading

The European Commission (EC) has awarded €1 billion in funding to 19 projects to fight climate change. Of these, six regional bioenergy-focused projects receive support. 07/14/2014

The Week's Action Items

Due 09/11/2014: Applications to EPA's SBIR Program for Phase I Awards

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced of the new Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Solicitation (SOL-NC-14-00014) to develop and commercialize new environmental technologies. 07/17/2014

Due 10/02/2014: Grant Applications for Clean Energy Projects on Tribal Lands

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the availability of up to $7 million to deploy clean energy and energy efficiency projects in tribal communities. 07/18/2014


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Featured Events:

5th Biomass Pellets Trade & Power
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Sep 23-25, 2014


 7th Annual Waste Conversion Technology Conference & Trade Show
7th Annual Waste Conversion Technology Conference & Trade Show, Sep 24-26, 2014


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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