Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume IV, Issue 31, August 4, 2014 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

What's in a name, or an acronym for that matter? When it comes to differentiating between kinds of thermal conversion of wastes and residuals, naming and mis-naming continues to cause rampant confusion. Part of the problem is inherent in the process; some is due to differing international conventions. Most can be laid squarely on us and our lack of attention to details. Is "Waste to Energy" just incineration as many people think, or does it also include other forms of thermal conversion such as gasification, pyrolysis, plasma...

Telling one stage of thermal conversion from another is complicated enough. When material is subjected to progressively higher temperatures, we know it'll (1) dry out, and then begin to degrade and fall apart. A bit more heat and the molecular bonds begin to break: (2) solids turn to liquids and then (3) to gas. Molecules that are no longer so firmly attached to each other start hunting for new bonds - and are particularly happy when Oxygen is there for fill the gap and "oxidize" the newly freed compounds. As this oxygen-bonding occurs Energy is released. If we keep this up, we (4) drive off and oxidize all of the molecules that break down, and the rest gets "rendered to ash". There: we've just followed the path from (1) drying to (2) pyrolysis to (3) gasification and finally to (4) incineration.

If what we want is to turn a pile of waste into Heat and Power, we can rely on highly advanced incineration. But if our purpose is Molecular Resource Recovery, we don't let everything oxidize and we siphon off the liquids and gases as foundation materials for future manufacturing. Conversion of waste for molecular resource recovery requires that we manage the process to intercept the freed-up resources before they are rendered to ash.

But let's look at the dictionary definition: Energy is Power. Most folks equate "energy" with Electricity; a few more recognize that Energy is both heat and power. It would seem logical then to say that making heat and power from waste can be called Waste to Energy (acronym WtE) or as many in Europe would prefer to say, Energy from Waste (EfW). We have enough trouble defining what is actually waste; we can't seem to agree at all on where to draw the line in defining Energy. This is a classic "lumpers vs. splitters" conundrum. Either converting any form of Waste to any form of Energy gets lumped into the WtE category or only incineration gets that buzz-word and everything else gets its own acronym. Basic Rule of Thumb: if you are going to use a Buzz Word, make sure you define it.

Hey Rube!

One path for reclaiming Money from Waste is to make a gas, clean it up, compress it, and use it for fueling vehicles and power generation equipment. This week's News contains a number of examples, each a bit different, all showing advanced levels of integration with surrounding municipal and industrial Business. We're getting closer to closing the waste-to-goods loop.

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This Week's Top Story

Grundon Receives Planning Approval for Waste Treatment Facility in Sussex

United Kingdom (UK) based Grundon Waste Management has announced that the West Sussex County Council’s Planning Committee has granted planning permission for Grundon's proposed Circular Technology Park at Ford in West Sussex. 07/30/2014

The Week's News

USDA Releases Greenhouse Gas Modeling for Farms, Ranches and Forests

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has completed and released a detailed report outlining science-based methods for assessing and managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and carbon storage mechanisms related to farming, ranching, and forest management. 08/02/2014

CDFA Requests CPUC to Implement SB 1122 to Support Anaerobic Digesters

The State Board of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has sent a formal request to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for its support of anaerobic methane digesters as a key tool in the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide clean renewable energy in the state. 08/01/2014

Funding Approved to Construct Gas to Liquid Plant at Oklahoma Landfill

London based Velocys plc has announced that the final investment decision has been made to proceed with construction of a commercial gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant using the company's technology. 08/01/2014

FCC Environment Is Reducing Waste to Landfill for Imperial Tobacco

United Kingdom based FCC Environment has announced that it is working with Imperial Tobacco to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill from its Nottingham site as part of a three year waste management contract. 08/01/2014

M&G and Guozhen JV to Build World's Largest Cellulosic Ethanol Refinery

Luxembourg based M&G Chemicals has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary M&G International S.à.r.l (M&G) has entered into a Sino-foreign joint venture (JV) with Anhui Guozhen CO, Ltd (Guozhen) to construct what will be the largest cellulosic bio-refinery in the world using non-food biomass. 07/31/2014

Waste Management to Sell Wheelabrator Technologies for $1.94 Billion

Texas based Waste Management, Inc has agreed to sell Wheelabrator Technologies Inc to an affiliate of Energy Capital Partners for $1.94 billion in cash. 07/30/2014

GIB Invests in 3rd Scottish Distillery-Balmenach Converts from Oil to Biomass

United Kingdom's Green Investment Bank (GIB) has announced an investment in Balmenach distillery in Speyside from the £5m Fund for Green Energy at Scottish Distilleries set up in May. 07/30/2014

Sierra Energy Develops FastOx™ Waste Gasification Calculator Tool

California company Sierra Energy Corp has announced development of a Calculator Tool to quickly give custom economic projections and end-product comparisons for implementing its FastOx™ gasification system. 07/29/2014

Himark BioGas Contracts to Build Three Anaerobic Digestion Plants in the US

Alberta, Canada based Himark BioGas International (Himark BioGas) has signed an agreement with New Hampshire company NEO Energy LLC for the design, construction, and start-up of three (3) integrated anaerobic digestion (AD) and fertilizer plants in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 07/29/2014

UK Develops Calculator to Identify Emissions from North American Biomass

The United Kingdom (UK) Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has announced release of a scientific calculator that investigates carbon emissions from biomass sourced from North America to produce electricity in the UK. 07/28/2014

Commissioning Begins at Tamar Energy’s 2 MWe Halstead AD Facility

United Kingdom (UK) based Tamar Energy has announced that construction has been completed on its 2 MWe anaerobic digestion (AD) facility in Halstead, Essex. 07/28/2014

EIF and Seneca Meadows Open Renewable Natural Gas Facility at Landfill

Michigan based EIF Renewable Energy Holdings LLC and New York company Seneca Meadows, Inc have announced the opening of Seneca Energy II, a landfill gas-to-renewable natural gas facility located at the Seneca Meadows Landfill in Seneca Falls. 07/28/2014

BioCNG to Design/Build Biogas System and Pipeline for Colorado WWTP

Wisconsin based BioCNG, LLC has announced that it has been selected to design and build a BioCNG™ biogas conditioning system and gas pipeline for the Persigo wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). 07/28/2014

The Week's Action Items

Due 12/31/2015: Proposals to NYSERDA for AD Gas-to-Electricity

The New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) has announced the availability of approximately $20.4 million in Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) funding through 2015 to support the installation and operation of Anaerobic Digester Gas (ADG)- to-Electricity Systems in the state. 07/31/2014

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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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