Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 19, May 11, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "TerĂº")  

Teru's Trash Talk

When one important element of our lives falls short, we see more clearly just how everything is dependent upon everything else. Water, in the western US, is in scary-short supply. That deep and dependable Sierra Nevada snow-pack is simply absent this year. The weather map of the Jet Stream, that climate flow that is supposed to bring rain to our western shores, looks positively broken.

The California Governor's Office is laying down the Drought Law, and backing the mandates with new water usage restrictions and with serious capital to find and quickly implement water conservation measures. Word is that the Office is being inundated with "drought solutions".

Our personal favorite? Transponding water from the Wet Northwest. Uh, thanks, Cap'n Kirk. OK, not really - let's get back to that inter-connectedness concept: there is a clear relationship between what we can call the Water - Energy - Waste Nexus.

Western Agriculture creates an enormous amount of food, sucks up rivers of water and in so doing, generates an equally huge amount of organic residual. There's only so much grape skin, seed, and stem crud that can reasonably be tilled back into the dirt, only a certain percentage of straw that should be left in the field after harvest. Packing sheds select only what they think they can sell to the markets or the processors. A market produce manager knows which apples will never leave the rack. We have the technology; we now know very well how to turn all those rapidly rotting rutabagas into compost, to convert those squished tomatoes into biogas, and bake those grape stems and vines into biochar. The more organics we add back into the soil, the less water flushes right past those spinach roots and fewer shallow ag wells go dry.

By the way: most veggies are mostly water - so it can't be a very good idea to bury those tomatoes and all their contained water in a lined landfill, only to collect and clean up the resulting leachate later. While we are busily ripping out water-guzzling tropically-adapted (but so pretty!) landscape vegetation and acres of lush green lawns, have a thought to where that greenery will end up. True, those plants won't suck up irrigation water once they are in the dump, but better to put that green waste back into beneficial use, holding water, and making energy. Here's a question nobody wants to ask: what water will you use to get that newly-installed "desert-adapted landscape" baby plants started?

We need energy to get water and it takes a lot of water to make energy. Now we need more water than ever, yet we are still wasting so much of what we manage to beg, borrow or pump. We keep sending organics to landfills, organics that need to be converted into energy and water-holding soils amendments. We constantly use and abuse our water supply, but like we've said before: don't muddy the water; we may need to drink it soon.

Hey Rube!

Aside from this water-energy-waste issue, there is evidence of change in the way the world perceives the conversion of waste into energy, fuels, and other commodities. As you pick apart our News this week, think about how each effort involves water, yes, but also think about the socio-political attitude shift that has facilitated the bulk of these projects. As California's Governor directed: feedstock-driven, technology neutral clean waste conversion.

This Week's Top Story

Fulcrum Awards EPC Contract to Abengoa for MSW to Jet Fuel Facility

Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc, has announced that it has awarded a $200 million fixed-price engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to Abengoa for the construction of Fulcrum’s first municipal solid waste (MSW) to transportation fuels facility, the Sierra BioFuels Plant in Nevada. 05/06/2015

The Week's News

Covanta Continues Operation of Resource Recovery Facility in Long Beach

Covanta Long Beach Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of Covanta Holding Corporation, has announced an extended agreement with the City of Long Beach, California, for the operations and maintenance of the Southeast Resource Recovery Facility (SERRF). 05/08/2015

Vega Biofuels Will Hold Open House at Virginia Bio-Coal Plant

Vega Biofuels, Inc has announced that it will hold an Open House to showcase how Bio-Coal is manufactured at noon on Saturday, May 30, 2015. 05/08/2015

AnaeCo Is Granted One European and Three Australian Patents

Australia based AnaeCo Limited has announced that the company has been granted one European and three Australian patents for its waste treatment and processing technologies. 05/8/2015

Start-up Clean Sea Fuels Launches Campaign for Micro Waste-to-Fuels Service

In central Ghana, the start-up Clean Sea Fuels is well into their IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign, seeking support for its pyrolysis based, micro-scale waste to fuels recycling service. 05/07/2015

Pacific Ethanol Selects Whitefox Membrane System to Cut Water Consumption

United Kingdom based Whitefox Technologies Limited has announced entering into an agreement with California based Pacific Ethanol, Inc for the delivery of an industrial scale membrane system. 05/07/2015

MagneGas Fuel Will Replace Acetylene for Railway Repairs and Construction

MagneGas Corporation has announced that one of the largest transportation companies in the United States will be using MagneGas® in its railway division for repairs and construction. 05/06/2015

Renmatix Acquires Former Mascoma Production Unit for Biomass to Sugar

Renmatix has announced that its acquisition of existing assets of the former Mascoma corporation’s 56,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Rome, New York. 05/06/2015

Novozymes to Supply Enzymes to ST1 Biofuels' Biorefinery in Finland

Novozymes has announced that it will supply enzyme technology to a new biorefinery to be built by St1 Biofuels in Kajaani, Finland. 05/06/2015

Ener-Core Powerstation To Generate Electricity at Santiago Canyon Landfill

California based Ener-Core, Inc will install its 250kW Powerstation EC250 at the closed Santiago Canyon Landfill in Orange County, California, which will allow Orange County Waste & Recycling to generate clean electricity from a gas that is currently being flared. 05/05/2015

The Week's Action Items

Due 05/30/2015: Start-up Pitches to Sofinnova Renewable Chemistry Award

European-based venture capital (VC) fund Sofinnova Partners has released a call for submissions toward the VC's Renewable Chemistry Start-up Award. 05/05/2015

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Featured Events:
 Japan Biomass Power Market, May 19-20, 2015, Tokyo
 Waste Conversion Technology Conference & Trade Show, August 17-19, 2015, San Diego
6th Biomass Pellets Trade & Power, Sep 14-16, 2015, Seoul  

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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