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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume IV, Issue 8, February 24, 2014 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Ah, the joys of Rot! But ah, the difficulties … like so many things in life, the very characteristics that make something appealing also cause problems. Rot is like that. Food needs to break down, and rather quickly, or eating it serves little purpose. Yet the faster it breaks down, the more likely it is that there will be Waste. Not all food rots at the same rate: those lettuce leaves turn to green slime in their baggie within a matter of hours, but the core of that head of lettuce will sit happily in my composter for a couple of weeks before giving up nutrients to my pet microbes, grubs and worms. In management of meat waste, problems multiply: the things that eat waste meat also tend to eat us, as well.

All of this rotting to goopy matter is temperature dependent, so weather plays its part. Those parts of the country not frozen solid are instead experiencing a dry, early Spring. When the outside air is warmer than refrigerator temperature, that natural break-down process accelerates dramatically. On the average, during warm weather we have about three days for Food Waste to become rotten goopy. Three days to rot: that's the general definition of "putrescible" waste, and that timing dictates much of how we manage our trash tsunami.

Once-a-week trash pick-up is just barely frequent enough to get it into the landfill before real Rot sets in. When that same tub-o-trash goes instead to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to pick out the valuables before final disposal, things get a bit sloppy. Yet Food Waste is valuable; it can make great compost when digested by air-breathing microbes, grubs and worms. When we train no-air, or "anaerobic" microbes to do that digestive happy-dance, they can produce methane and similar substances that are the building blocks for so many of our fuels and chemicals. When an anaerobic digester at a sewer treatment plant or at a dairy is properly bolstered with food waste slurry, it can produce up to twice as much biogas, and that cuts the cost of handling the regional poop and manure over-supply.

But let's go back to this three-day rule. Since food starts to break down as soon as it warms up, it also starts to lose the nutrients necessary for humans to use as food. In the same way, it loses the basics needed for the best biogas production. If you are counting on that extra biogas production to make money from recovering and converting food waste, you want to quickly control that breakdown to get the most return on your money. You need to figure out a way to intercept the stuff as soon as it becomes waste, not wait for the MRF to serve it up for you as slop-in-a-baggie. This is the current challenge around the globe: Waste less, Reuse more, and Convert the rest back to goods. For Food Waste to Biogas, there should be no surprise: it just means knowing your Business, and being quick about it.

Hey Rube!

When it comes to State support for turning waste to fuel, California's right out there in front, and the Integrated Energy Policy Report or EIPR is the tool used to make the crucial planning decisions of where that support goes. Comments are due March 4th, so make your preferences known. Give it a close read, and have your say.

This Week's Top Story

Harvest Power Unveils Central Florida Energy Garden Biogas Facility

Massachusetts based Harvest Power, Inc has announced that the Central Florida Energy Garden organics management and renewable energy facility is now open to convert food waste into renewable biogas and natural fertilizers. 02/20/2014

The Week's News

Swindon RDF/SRF Waste Plant Officially Opens with Machinex Technology

The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) Minister George Eustice has cut the ribbon at the official opening of the Swindon Commercial Services (SCS) municipal solid waste (MSW) plant in the United Kingdom (UK). 02/21/2014

CARB Will Host Two Low Carbon Fuel Standard Workshops in March

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will conduct two public workshops on March 11, 2014. 02/21/2014

Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Enterprise Launch £3.8MM Recycling Fund

Zero Waste Scotland has announced that a £3.8 million fund to help businesses develop green infrastructure proposals is now open. 02/20/2014

Alstom Signs Second UK Biomass Steam Turbine Contract

France based Alstom has announced a contract with Danish power plant specialist Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S (BWSC) to design and supply a 45 MW Geared Reaction steam turbine (GRT) for the Brigg renewable energy plant in the United Kingdom (UK). 02/20/2014

BioConversion Solutions Secures AD Contracts in Australia and South Korea

BioConversion Solutions, LLC (BCS) has announced contracts to install its biomass to biogas system at facilities in Australia and South Korea. 02/20/2014

Zilkha Biomass and Valmet Partner on Torrefied Pellet Commercialization

Finnish company Valmet and Texas based Zilkha Biomass Energy LLC have announced signing a five-year collaboration agreement for global commercialization of steam exploded black pellets. 02/19/2014

CSM Becomes Exclusive SRS™ Distributor for Applied CleanTech in Canada

Israeli based Applied CleanTech (ACT) has announced a 13.5 million USD distribution alliance with Canadian Sewage Mining Corporation (CSM), making CSM the exclusive Sewage Recycling System (SRS™) distributor in Canada. 02/19/2014

SITA Atlas Starts Work on 20-Year Recycling and WtE Contract in Morocco

France based Suez Environnement has announced that its subsidiary SITA Atlas has been awarded a  20-year, €90 million recycling, waste-to-energy (WtE), and disposal contract with Meknes, Morocco. 02/17/2014

The Week's Action Items

Due 03/04/2014: Comments to CEC on Draft 2014 IEPR

The California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Integrated Energy Policy Report Lead Commissioner Janea Scott is requesting comments on the proposed scope and general schedule for the 2014 Integrated Energy Policy Report Update (2014 IEPR Update). 02/20/2014

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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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The Teru Talk Newsletter is published weekly or more or less frequently, primarily depending on what is going on in the world of waste conversion or ours.