Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 16, April 20, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

We all need to pick our battles. Some would shift the very paths of the sky; others, plug holes in dikes (or volcanoes). Teru elects to fight against Resource Stupidity, here defined as working very hard to get something, only to throw it away. Over and over, ad nauseum.

Who can say whether global use of new biomass to make energy and other commodities can or even should supplant global use of fossil biomass (you know: coal, crude oil) to accomplish the same goals. But we can and always should ask the key questions. Which makes the most mess? Which supports Life on this watery planet, which doesn't? Humans are energy-voracious resource hogs, endlessly seeking more stuff, and the power to run it. That probably isn't going to change any time soon. It looks like we will continue to need, or at least want, everything we can get our hands on to satisfy that gnawing energy / resource hunger. We just need to be a lot less stupid in how we feed the Beast.

We have spent decades, generations even, figuring out more sanitary ways of disposing of the Tsunami of Trash we generate. Packing crud in a double-lined landfill is much cleaner than setting fire to that same rubbish in a burn-barrel, but even burning garbage causes less damage than leaving it to rot and breed rats in piles behind our hovels. We have made and continue to make progress. Now we need to brace for change, again, to focus on Recovery. It isn't going to be cheap nor simple.

Clue #1: As long as the agencies and the industries who collect and direct the trash traffic to the dump survive on the bucks per ton disposed instead of tons of resource recovered, the outcome will remain the same. Follow the money; right now it is about the only thing being recovered en masse from what society throws away.

Clue #2: What! Me, touch that nasty stuff? Why, I'd rather toss it, flush it, just make it Go Away. Where? Well, that's somebody else's problem. After all, that's what we pay our taxes for, right? As long as folks feel entitled to dispose rather than recover resources, that is exactly what they will continue to do.

Clue #3: One apple in 10 makes it from the orchard to the kitchen. Only about half of produce ever makes the cut to be "marketable". A community-scale supermarket pushes a ton or two of food into the dumpsters every single day. Decisions are made on cosmetics, not real value.

Globally, we are retraining ourselves to enable the flow of resource from goods to discards and back to raw materials, ready to be remanufactured into new goods. If that circular economy hat-trick can be done smartly, cleanly, does it really matter how it is accomplished?

Hey Rube!

Between the Energy Commission and the US Department of Agriculture, California institutions and communities have been taking some big steps forward in turning local woody biomass excess into local heat, power and jobs. Most impressive: folks are really working together.

This Week's Extra Reading

The proposed criteria for CalRecycle's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grant and Loan Programs, Fiscal Year 2015-16. CalRecycle staff will make a presentation and receive comments at the previously announced Public Meeting on April 21, 2015. A video of the March 19th workshop, stakeholder comments, and background materials are also available.

This Week's Top Story

Cascades Invests in New Technology for Biorefinery Project at Cabano Plant

Quebec based Cascades Inc. has announced its investment in a new technology at its Norampac - Cabano facility that is used to extract hemicellulose, a cellulosic sugar with high value-added potential from wood chips. 04/14/2015

The Week's News

SCOPE Releases Report on International Bioenergy and Sustainability

The Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) has released "Bioenergy and Sustainability: Bridging the Gaps". 04/17/2015

USDA Awards Funds for Wood Energy and Wood Product Markets in 23 States

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced award of over $9 million to expand and accelerate wood energy and other wood product markets. 04/17/2015

Shanks Secures 6 Year Contract Extension for ICOPOWER® Energy Pellets

United Kingdom based Shanks Group plc has secured an important six year contract extension with Heidelberg Cement Group for the supply of ICOPOWER® energy pellets. 04/15/2015

LanzaTech Teams with ORNL and NCSU on Biofuels Bug DNA Dataset

Illinois based biofuels firm LanzaTech commercialized microbial fermentation of industrial emissions and other waste and synthesis gases laden with carbon dioxide, into liquid biofuels. 04/15/2015

Minnesota Schedules First Stakeholder Meeting for CHP Deployment in State

The Minnesota Department of Commerce was awarded a US Department of Energy grant to carry out a strategic stakeholder engagement process and develop an action plan for combined heat and power (CHP) deployment in Minnesota. 05/15/2015

Cambi Awarded Contract for South Korean Sewage Treatment Plant Project

Posco E&C, one of South Korea's largest EPC Turnkey contractors, has awarded Norway based Cambi a contract for a Cambi B12 Thermal Hydrolysis Process plant (CambiTHP TM) for the Anyang Sewage Treatment and co-digestion Project. 05/15/2015

Ontario Canada Adopts Cap and Trade System to Reduce GHG Pollution

The Canadian province of Ontario joins California and many other jurisdictions in the Western Climate Initiative by adopting a Cap and Trade system to impose a hard ceiling on the pollution allowed in each sector of the economy. 04/14/2015

Cool Planet Wins Bloomberg Award for CoolFuel™ and CoolTerra™

Colorado based Cool Planet has been named winner of the New Energy Pioneer Award 2015 for its hydrocarbon and biocarbon products that address three of the world’s largest markets: energy, food, and water. 04/14/2015

SeAB Launches New Generation Flexbuster Micro-AD Power Plant

United Kingdom based SEaB Energy has launched its new generation Flexibuster™ micro power plant that convert food scraps into energy, with guest of honor, Caroline Nokes MP, Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North, opening the site on the 10th April 2015. 04/14/2015

Council Plans North Fork Community Forest Bioenergy Plant Meeting

The North Fork Community Development Council (NFCDC) will hold a community meeting on April 29, 2015 in the North Fork Fire Station at the town's old sawmill site to provide an update on their recently-funded North Fork Community Power Forest Bioenergy Facility Demonstration project. 04/13/2015

The Week's Action Items

Due 05/08/2015: Clean Energy Generation Proposals to NYSERDA

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has issued Request for Proposals (RFP) 3084 to procure the environmental attributes created by eligible generation resources under the Renewable Portfolio Standard Program (RPS Attributes). 04/13/2015

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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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