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Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 22, June 1, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

So what’s all this hub-bub about a Circular Economy? The phrase has been bandied about for a number of years now, especially in Europe. It sounds like maybe that school-yard whisper game; you tell me a secret, I tell the next guy and see what it says after going full-circle.

Not too far off, actually, but done with resources. You give me what you don’t want; I tear it apart, make something else out if it, and pass on what’s left to the next guy. Sooner or later, bits of that first discard will make the full circle. Our global resources are the basis of every country’s economy. The idea is to pass those discarded resources around the production circle instead of digging up new resources, instead of throwing away the very resources that we then have to mine.

Sometimes going around that circle is a quick lap. An aluminum can gets melted down and made into another aluminum can, saving money, time, and energy by not having to tear up the ground to dig up more aluminum-bearing ore. More often, there’s a whole string of work to be done along that circular path. But this pass-along of resources maintains some of the value of the materials and the energy used in each step, instead of constantly devaluing everything everywhere. Now, we have resources, where before we had waste.

This Circular Economy concept touches everything we do everywhere, and requires a careful re-think of how we manage the repeated transformation of materials to goods. It helps to see the long, strange trip of resources to products as having a life of its own. Each change from use to discard and every return of the base materials to the flow of goods can be tracked as the life cycle of those resources. Watch those changes closely enough, and we’re bound to think of clever new reuse, recycling, and remanufacturing schemes. Count the beans, keep track, and learn how to improve the efficiency of that conversion of waste to goods, and we will slowly improve the broader economy. Once a costly waste, every recovered and reconfigured material now accrues added value as a resource at every step.

It’s just natural: we focus on one thing, and then turn our attention to another. In this business of waste conversion, right now we think anaerobic digestion of food waste is the hot topic. Tomorrow, it’ll be something else. But myopically staring at one part and forgetting the whole won’t get us to where we want to be. The European Commission wants to shoot for a “comprehensive and coherent approach that fully takes into account interactions and interdependence across the whole value chain, rather than focusing exclusively on one part of the economic cycle”. The rest of the world should watch and take notes, and join Europe in a “thorough reflection on how the objective of circular economy can be reached in an efficient way that is fully compatible with the jobs and growth agenda.”

Hey Rube!

Fly maggots! We’ve talked about my wee beasties before, those voracious Black Soldier Fly grubs we feed with Teru's own household organics. They convert more veggie and meat scraps into fertilizer than any other way we try to compost, and kill off anything that tries to compete. Texas A&M also seems fascinated with them, and put out a good read. But weird weather did in our grubs this year. They got all excited with that early warm spell, then it turned cold and they up and died. The ants and spiders moved into our upright composter. Not a pretty picture.

This Week's Top Story

ElectraTherm and Air Burners Commission First Whole Log Bioenergy Plant

Nevada based ElectraTherm, Inc partnered with Florida company Air Burners, Inc to develop the first whole-log wood waste burner utilizing ElectraTherm’s Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power generating technology. 05/27/2015

The Week's News

Converde Energy Acquires XFuels LLC and Combines the Companies

Converde Energy USA, Inc has acquired Oregon-based XFuels LLC, combining the companies and assuming the brand name and existing joint ventures. 05/29/2015

Therma-Flite's Thermal Oil Recovery System Ships to European Refinery

California based Therma-Flite Inc has announced shipment of its thermal desorption system to a European oil and gas refinery. 05/28/2015

US EPA and Army Finalize Clean Water Rule Expanding Federal Jurisdiction

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army today announced finalization of the new Clean Water Rule. 05/27/2015

Ag Residue Harvesting for Biofuels Impacts Soil Carbon Balance

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratories has announced findings of research into the impact of harvesting agricultural residuals like straw and corn stover for making cellulosic biofuels. 05/27/2015

Wheelabrator Receives Planning Approval for Wales Energy Recovery Facility

Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. has announced that Flintshire County Council's Planning and Development Control Committee has approved the Parc Adfer Energy Recovery Facility in the Deeside Industrial Park in North Wales. 05/26/2015

North American Energy Ministers Establish Climate Change Working Group

The Honorable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources; Pedro Joaquín-Coldwell, Mexico’s Secretary of Energy; and Ernest J. Moniz, U.S. Secretary of Energy, have announced the establishment of a North American Energy Ministers’ Working Group on Climate Change and Energy. 05/26/2015

Black Soldier Fly Larvae Process Food Waste and Could Be Livestock Feed

Black soldier fly larvae excel at eating food waste, especially when it comes to nasty stuff that we don’t want around or wouldn’t think of eating ourselves. 05/26/2015

The Week's Action Items

Due 08/20/2015: Comments to EU on Circular Economy Package

The European Commission (EU) has announced a Public Consultation on its recently released Circular Economy Package and is seeking stakeholder comment. 05/29/2015

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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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