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Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume IV, Issue 37, September 15, 2014 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

There will always be room for simply turning biomass to heat and power. Yet given the know-how, the right tools and a market ready, willing, and able to pay for sustainable production, why stop short? These are the times for fine-tuning the conversion of worthy residuals back into foundation materials and final goods.

It is particularly encouraging to know that there are bright people out there who can take biomass and turn it into "Bio-Isoprene" or into "Bio-Propane" - which are just two more products we don't need to make out of petroleum. It is heartwarming to find entire research teams focused on "overcoming the technical hurdles in value chains" - making more money out of the leftovers from already-advanced biorefineries.

By now, turning food waste into biogas is so last month that it seems everybody's doing it. But it takes some serious thought to figure out how your friendly local market can buy "certificates" that support that biogas production, even when the biogas plant is located half-way across the region. Biomass fuel pellets are replacing coal in big power plants. Sewage treatment has advanced with methods to reclaim pure nutrients like phosphorus. Even that old air quality nemesis carbon dioxide has become feedstock for renewable fuels and chemicals.

Now it is time for our agencies to catch up and aid rather than hinder. Some are further along than others; the UK Environment Agency just knocked down a few more barriers to on-farm biogas production. Here in the states, we find Louisiana's Governor stepping up, helping a company develop a whole string of advanced pellet fuel plants, using the residual stalks or "bagasse" left after making sugar cane into sugar. Even the City of Honolulu showed some class, resolving to up the ante on using biodiesel for their municipal vehicles.

These advances are how we tell that Clean Waste Conversion is becoming part of our mainstream societal infrastructure. Rather than big, risky novelty acts, the Waste Conversion tools we need are becoming smaller, more cost effective, and sophisticated enough for our cities, our farms, and industrial complexes, and to fit right into our homes.

Hey Rube!

If there is one type of waste that is everyone's target for clean conversion right now, it is Food Waste. Yet look around yourself this week, and you'll notice that not all "food waste" is the same. The UK's definition of what is a non-waste residual and what is actually a "waste" under the law helps draw a line for permitting - it just makes sense that the safe collection and conversion of restaurant plate scrapings is a whole different problem than managing tomato culls from the farm. It is very good to recognize the growing expertise, the broadening tool set, capable of picking apart all our leftovers and turning the components back into something useful in the marketplace. Knowing that someone knows how, makes a lot of difference. Now, we need to be more observant about what goes into the dumpster, so we can start seeing that the Waste we toss today can become someone else's Resource tomorrow.

This Week's Top Story

UK Cuts Red Tape for Use of Agricultural Residue in Anaerobic Digesters

The United Kingdom (UK) Environment Agency has released a Briefing note clarifying that anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities accepting only agricultural residue do not need an environmental permit. 09/12/2014

The Week's News

Atikokan Coal Generating Station in Ontario Now Operating on Biomass

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has announced that its Atikokan Generating Station (GS) is operating on biomass instead of coal, and is now the largest power plant in North America fuelled by 100 per cent biomass. 09/13/2014

NFR BioEnergy Plans $312MM Bagasse to Pellet Project In South Louisiana

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Frank Randazzo, Chief Operating Officer of NFR BioEnergy, LLC have announced the company plans to make a $312 million capital investment to install biorefineries at more than 10 sugar refining hubs in south Louisiana, subject to completing lease and biomass agreements with sugar mills. 09/13/2014

Biodiesel Initiative for City Vehicles Makes Sense for Honolulu

According to Oregon-based Pacific Biodiesel, the Honolulu City Council adopted a Resolution 14-169 on September 10, 2014 requesting the Department of Transportation through its public-private partnership with Oahu Transit Services, Inc Services develop a City Biodiesel Initiative for the city's mass transit diesel vehicles. 09/12/2014

Liquid Light Raises $15MM to Advance CO2 Conversion to Chemicals

New Jersey based Liquid Light, Inc has announced that it has closed a $15 million Series B financing. New investors include Sustainable Conversion Ventures, which focuses on renewable fuels and chemicals investments. 09/11/2014

AVA-CO2 Achieves Breakthrough in Phosphorus Recovery

Switzerland based AVA-CO2 Schweiz AG has announced development of the "AVA cleanphos" process to recover phosphorus directly from the char resulting from hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) of sewage sludge. 09/11/2014

Energos to Install Gasification System for Derby Waste Conversion Plant

United Kingdom company Energos has secured a £65m contract to supply gasification systems for the £145 million integrated waste management centre in Derby. 09/11/2014

Neste Oil Will Build Biopropane Plant at Rotterdam Refinery

Finland based Neste Oil has announced that it will build a EUR 60 million biopropane plant at its Rotterdam refinery, with sales of biopropane scheduled to begin by the end of 2016. 09/11/2014

Eco Waste Solutions Named Defense Energy Technology Challenge Finalist

Ontario, Canada based Eco Waste Solutions (EWS), a manufacturer of thermal waste conversion and energy recovery technologies, has announced that it was selected as a finalist in the 5th bi-annual Defense Energy Technology Challenge (DETC). 09/10/2014

EESI Hosts Briefing to Update Carbon Accounting and Vehicle Fuel Research

The Washington DC based Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) has announced a panel briefing examining recent research regarding the carbon dioxide (CO2) intensity of transportation fuels, such as crude oil and ethanol. 09/10/2014

Council Approves Peel Environmental's North Yorkshire Energy Centre

United Kingdom (UK) based Peel Environmental, a division of The Peel Group, has announced that the North Yorkshire County Council’s Planning and Regulatory Functions Committee has granted approval of Peel's £200 million Energy Centre to be located at Kellingley Colliery. 09/10/2014

Marks & Spencer to Buy Biomethane Certificates to Reduce Carbon Footprint

London based Marks & Spencer (M&S) has agreed to purchase 35,000 Mega-Watt hours of biomethane certificates from Future Biogas, a move which will reduce its carbon footprint by over 6,400 tonnes and source the equivalent amount of energy to heat 15 M&S Simply Food stores all year round. 09/09/2014

Braskem Joins Amyris and Michelin for Renewable Isoprene Development

Amyris, Braskem, and Michelin have jointly announced that Braskem is joining a collaboration already launched in 2011 between Michelin and Amyris. 09/09/2014

New AERTOs Project Focuses on Lignin and Algae Processes for Biorefineries

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) has announced that Associated European Research and Technology Organisations (AERTOs) has begun a 2-year research project to stimulate the development of the bio-based economy in Europe and overcome technical hurdles in the innovation value chains. 09/09/2014

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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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