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Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume IV, Issue 33, August 18, 2014 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Here's a big part of the problem: It seems that these days, agencies require waste conversion system developers to have Data to get Permits, but first must have Permits to run the thing, to get that data. Which comes first, the Chicken Permit or the Egg full o' Data?

If a company is lucky enough to find some rat-hole where they can develop, run, test, break, and then remake their waste conversion system relatively undisturbed, they still have to find a respected outside party to run the thing again and verify what they already know, or at least what they think they know.

How absurd is this? Just put the same silly conditions on almost anything else we do: No, you can't grow and sell that lettuce until we test it to see if it is actually lettuce, and makes a decent salad. Or: "If you think you are going to manufacture that washing machine before fully being tested, buddy…" Well, at least the same conditions apply to our Oil & Gas industry, right?

We need "safe spots" where the meat grinding and packing can be perfected before the sausage is offered for sale. We need to develop envelopes where there's plenty of room to make something, run it till it fails, remake it, and repeat until Right. This has been the premise of our National Labs and our Universities when it comes to taking a whats-it concept to bench scale. But once we try to scale up a prototype, we run into the chick-and-egg conundrum.

The EPA long managed one of the nation's biggest programs providing the much-needed third-party Okie Dokie. The EPA's version folded this year, leaving a vacuum in services providing external technology verification. But then the EPA's ETV program never really was allowed to tackle the complexities of Waste Conversion straight-on - it always had to be couched in some other topical area of Waste or Air Quality. Those curbs had been put in place when the ETV system was first dreamed up, restrictions agreed to simply to mollify an irate minority that regularly uses this Chicken-n-Egg problem to hold back progress in very specific areas of development. Yeah … them again.

Can we now pay attention to Science, and move past that nonsense? One of the most attractive Safe Zones are the military bases, where our Department of Defense can actually Get Stuff Built. Most bases have the requisite room, the tools, the expertise, and the protective wrapper from prying eyes. To a somewhat lesser degree, these same conditions are found at privatized military bases: big and roomy, usually under-utilized, lots of in-place infrastructure … and a management company that would really like to lease out more of those vacant buildings.

Agency-sponsored and supported Demonstration programs at the state and federal levels do help this sticking-spot, by specifically paying to scale pilots up to at least a pre-commercial and fully operational size. Most still require that the Demos already have all their permits …Chicken and Egg again.

Hey Rube!

Take a good look at the California Energy Commission's most recent grant offerings, focused on biomass conversion to fuels and electricity. There may actually be room to accomplish this middle ground, but beware the dreaded mandate to Prove it Works, before you can Do It.

Teru Talk Is Number One!

Teru Talk is Number One! Thank you all! It's not official yet though, so don't tell anyone.All smiles! The Entrepeneur's Showcase has extended the deadline until Wednesday, Aug 20th because of website problems, so we'll have to wait for formal confirmation. We very much appreciate your support of Teru Talk for the advancement of waste conversion. Our readers are the best!! We will keep you posted.

This Week's Top Story

POET-DSM Schedules Grand Opening Celebration for Project LIBERTY

South Dakota based POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, LLC has announced that Project LIBERTY will open its doors to the public at the Grand Opening celebration on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 in Emmetsburg, Iowa. 08/14/2014

The Week's News

New ISO Standards Reflect Growth in Solid Biofuels Industry

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has announced that work on international standards for solid biofuels continues and the first seven standards have been published. 08/16/2014

CARB Schedules Workshops on Technology and Fuels Assessments

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is hosting a series of public workshops to discuss technology and fuels assessments for trucks and buses, transport refrigeration units, rail, fuels, ocean-going vessels, commercial harbor craft, cargo handling equipment, and aviation. 08/16/2014

NEB Plans Cellunolix® Waste Sawdust to Ethanol Plant in Finland

Finnish investor North European Bio Tech Oy (NEB) has made a decision concerning the construction of a bioethanol plant on the Renforsin Ranta industrial estate in Kajaani, Finland. 08/15/2014

Virent's Drop-In Bioform Gasoline Receives EPA Registration

Wisconsin based Virent, Inc has announced that it has received fuel registration for its BioForm® Gasoline in blends of up to 45% from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 08/13/2014

Vega Biofuels to Ship Large Biochar Order to International Client for Testing

Georgia based Vega Biofuels, Inc has announced that it has received an order for its Biochar product to be shipped to an institutional client for testing. 08/12/2014

ReEnergy Resuming Operations at Biomass-to-Energy Facility in Maine

New York based ReEnergy Holdings has announced plans to resume operations at its biomass-to-electricity facility in Ashland, Maine. 08/12/2014

IBI Launches 2014 Global State of the Biochar Industry Survey

The International Biochar Initiative (IBI) has announced its 2nd annual State of the Biochar Industry survey for 2014 that has been designed to identify ongoing trends in the evolution of the industry. 08/11/2014

Notre Dame Researchers Make Low-Energy CO2 Capture Breakthrough

The Brennecke Research Group at the University of Notre Dame has made an unexpected discovery in the study of ionic liquids, widely considered to be greener alternatives for a broad range of processes that currently use toxic solvents. 08/11/2014

The Week's Action Items

Due 10/20/2014: Applications to CEC for Distributed Generation Demos

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has released Program Opportunity Notice (PON)-14-303 to fund applied research and development activities associated with distributed biopower and photovoltaic technologies. 08/13/2014

Due 11/07/2014: Applications to CEC for Bioenergy Demonstration Projects

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has issued Program Opportunity Notice (PON)-14-305 to fund demonstration and deployment projects of pre-commercial biomass conversion technologies, generation systems, and development strategies. 08/14/2014

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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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