Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume IV, Issue 36, September 8, 2014 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

It's always a good thing when you get two positives for the price of one and that certainly applies to Waste Conversion. We take care of a problem, and turn a liability into an asset. Instead of flushing used fryer grease down the sewer to gum things up downstream, we make the muck into biodiesel fit to run even a cool motorcycle, and in so doing, we also make money. Instead of flushing hog wash (really) out onto land, we can zap it into clean energy and fuel, and stop the stink. And instead of pushing another umpteen megatons of municipal solid waste into a big hole, we can turn it into federally-certified jet fuel.

Converting stuff from Waste to Goods shifts the numbers from the red column to the black and as long as it doesn't cost more to accomplish the conversion process than you get back, all is good. Yet what we get back goes far beyond lower waste disposal fees and ready access to clean fuel. It often takes quite a bit of noodling to find all the Life Cycle Costs and Benefits involved in waste conversion - after all, we've grown up in a society where the real cost of things like environmental sanitation, energy, and fuel are tally sheets for others to worry about. Cleaning up where we live (you know, Planet Earth, right?) is a pretty worthy goal, but once again, we find that we can't manage what we don't measure.

This old planet knows lots of ways to heal the damage we humans continue to inflict. One of my favorites happens when plant roots suck up contaminants from the groundwater and turn it into biomass. As our conversion tools become cleaner, cheaper and more diverse, we are now learning how to integrate contaminant remediation with biofuel growth. Talk about more bang for your Biofuels Buck! 

Some plants, especially certain fast-growing trees, are veritable crud-pumps when it comes to cleaning the soil and water below ground. If we're talking about cleaning up too much nitrogen from near surface aquifers, those plants can do a wonderful job of making easily harvested and perfectly acceptable biomass feedstock. Yet the mess we make below ground often includes contaminants like high salt content, heavy metals, volatile petrochemicals, and every other nasty we spill. The trees pump up the bad with the good, and to use the wood, we then need to clean it of those bad actors. Not an easy task, but at least the salts, metals, and other stuff is out of the groundwater, and up where we can do something about it.

You have to just love it when we can economically accomplish environmental clean-up by using plants, and then cleanly turn that biomass into fuels and energy.

Hey Rube!

Direct part of your attention to the ever changing global discussion about Sustainability and you will find that going Green is a wonderful marketing tool. Companies big and small are finding they can capture more clients when they prove their environmental good will. People are willing to pay more, so doing the right thing makes companies more money. This extends nicely into what we do with our waste, as we see in most of our news these days, yet proving sustainability is not an easy task. Check out the new handbook released by the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics. These corporate champions have taken up the challenge of how we measure the Social Impact of the things we make and use - Nice Piece of Work!

Extra Reading

A new TERU Focus Report is now available for your reading pleasure. California Organics Management Legislative Update looks at three bills now on the governor's desk, and provides a link to a relevant article by the California Compost Coalition on alternative daily cover.

This Week's Top Story

Vega Biofuels' Pilot Torrefaction Plant to Use Dual Use Biomass Feedstock

Georgia based Vega Biofuels, Inc has announced that its Joint Venture (JV) partner, Agri-Tech Producers, LLC (ATP), has developed a new, patent-pending process that dramatically reduces the cost of some of the biomass feedstock for Vega's pilot torrefaction plant. 09/04/2014

The Week's News

UK Acknowledges Aluminum Packaging Recovery Protocol

The Aluminum Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) has announced that the United Kingdom (UK) has acknowledged a new protocol addressing recovery of aluminum from incinerator bottom ash (IBA). 09/06/2014

USDA Loan Guarantee Closes for Fulcrum Facility to Turn Waste to Jet Fuel

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA has closed on a loan guarantee to Fulcrum Sierra Biofuels, LLC to build a biorefinery to produce jet fuel from municipal solid waste. 09/06/2014

Oberon DME Receives EPA's 1st Biogas-Based Fuel Approval Under the RPS

California based Oberon Fuels Inc (Oberon) has announced that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved its biogas-based dimethyl ether (DME) fuel for inclusion under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). 09/06/2014

MagneGas to Demo Manure Sterilization System for Major Indiana Hog Farm

MagneGas® Corporation (MagneGas) has announced signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a large hog farm in Indiana for a 30 day demonstration of the MagneGas sterilization system. 09/05/2014

Lahti Energia and Valmet Will Continue to Develop Finnish Gasification Plant

Finland based Lahti Energia Oy and Valmet Corporation have agreed to continue development of Lahti Energia's Kymijärvi II demonstration gasification power plant that has been in operation for slightly over two years. 09/04/2014

Cambi to Install THP Solution to Process Sludge at Beijing's Largest WWTP

The Norway based Cambi Group has announced that it has been awarded a contract by Beijing Drainage Construction Co. for installation of the Cambi Thermal Hydrolysis Process (THP) at Beijing’s largest wastewater treatment plant, Gaobeidian WWTP, owned and operated by the Beijing Drainage Group (BDG). 09/03/2014

Hormel Drives Motorcycle from Minnesota to California on Bacon Grease

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has provided news of a bacon-powered motorbike's journey from Hormel Foods headquarters in Austin, Minnesota to the International Bacon Festival in San Diego, California. 09/03/2014

Group of Companies Develops Methodology to Assess Product Social Impact

A group of companies collaborating as members of the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics (RPSM) has announced publication of the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment, now available for download. 09/02/2014

Methes Energies Selects Dorf Ketal to Manufacture Pretreatment Catalyst

Nevada based Methes Energies International Ltd recently extended their modular biodiesel production system line to encompass pretreatment methods that now enable use of high free fatty acid (FFA) feedstock such as non-food grade corn oil. 09/02/2014

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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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