Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 23, June 8, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

In these fire-prone western regions of the United States, those of us in rural areas spend a lot of time clearing brush away from our homes and businesses; at least we’d better, knowing what’s good for us. Wildfires that come right up inside our communities are no fun. Best to get those dead branches and dry grass cleaned away from structures, out from under power lines, and cleared from along the sides of our roads. It is hard to think of all that pretty vegetation as “waste”, until lighting starts spot fires in a summer storm, and we’re suddenly wishing all that “biomass” wasn’t quite so thick and crispy.

You cut it down, and chop it up into mulch. Spread that moisture-holding mulch around, and you can cut back on watering too. Add enough wet gooey food waste to that wood and encourage the microbial magic of composting, and the landscaping likes it even more. We get safer communities, and happier plants.

There is a huge amount of dry crunchy fire fuel out there, far more than we can use in mulching and composting. For over a hundred years society flinched every time a forester suggested we needed to lower the woodland fuel loading, the excess saplings, and the brush and grass that just keeps accumulating. We’ve stopped all the small fires for so long that now we get Big Fires, ripping infernos that take out thousands of acres at a time and can wipe out an "urban interface" community in a matter of moments. People are finally wising up, and despite the whining nay-sayers, common sense is dictating better management of our wildlands. If we are going to “manage” nature, if we insist in moving right up into the fire-prone foothills, we must accept the responsibility and get busy removing that built-up deadwood and over-grown understory.

Now, we don’t get to go blindly into the fields and forests, gathering up every scrap of carbon we find. Soil needs carbon too, as do the plants and animals that are still out there. With the responsibility for land management also comes the crucial need for timely and accurate knowledge upon which to base that management. Bright folks are figuring out how much biomass is enough, and how much is too much; we just need to color inside the lines.

What do we do with all the excess biomass when we’ve properly managed those forests? When we have made enough mulch and compost to flood the market, what's next? Turn it into "liquid wood" and fuel our engines with it, displacing petroleum use and providing a renewable feedstock for refineries. Pshawww, you might say, but after decades of research, converting “waste” wood into to-specification liquid hydrocarbon is now a commercial reality. Apparently, once you figure out how to coax apart those molecular clumps of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, you can recombine them almost any way you like into things you need, such as heating oil, gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. "Liquid Wood": how cool is that?

Hey Rube!

It’s high time to figure out which big conferences you will participate in this year; everyone’s coming out with their Save the Date notices. Our pitch: Make your plans now to attend the Waste Conversion Technology Conference & Trade Show , Aug 17-19, 2015 in San Diego. The full agenda is now available. Teru is speaking in the first panel, first day, and moderating the first panel, second day. See you there!

This Week's Top Story

Alaska Airlines and WSU Partner to Advance Use of Aviation Biofuels

Alaska Airlines is partnering with the Washington State University (WSU) led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) to advance the production and use of alternative jet fuel made from forest residuals, the tree limbs and branches that remain after a forest harvest. 06/04/2015

The Week's News

WELTEC ProMOS Bio Management System Wins Biogas Innovation Award

WELTEC BIOPOWER has announced that it received the "Biogas Innovation Award of the German Agriculture" at the Biogas Innovation Conference in Osnabrück, Germany, in recognition of the company's ProMOS Bio management system. 06/05/2015

BESC and Mascoma Develop Revolutionary Microbe for Biofuel Production

New Hampshire based Mascoma LLC and the US Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) have developed a revolutionary strain of yeast that could help significantly accelerate the development of biofuels from nonfood cellulosic plant matter. 06/04/2015

Genscape Marks Industry Milestone with First Verified D6 Ethanol Q-RINs

Genscape, Inc has announced that its D6 ethanol Q-RINs were generated within the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Moderated Transaction System (EMTS) for the first time during the final week of April 2015. 06/04/2015

Ensyn and Youngstown Thermal Sign RFO™ Biofuel Supply Agreement

Ensyn Fuels Inc has signed a contract with Youngstown Thermal LLC for the supply of up to 2,500,000 gallons per year of RFO™, Ensyn's advanced cellulosic biofuel. 06/04/2015

IBI Releases On-Line Biochar Classification Tool

The International Biochar Initiative (IBI) has released its Biochar Classification Tool, an on-line format for the identification and classification of types of biochar. Biochar is pyrolyzed biomass, a refined form of charcoal, usually made from organic wastes and residuals. 06/04/2015

Ener-Core Obtains US Patent for System to Convert Waste Gases to Steam

California based Ener-Core, Inc has obtained a US patent for a system that converts waste gases into steam or heat for industrial uses. 06/02/2015

OriginClear Executes MOU with CSU Bakersfield for Technology Validation

Los Angeles based OriginClear, Inc (formerly Origin Oil) has announced that the company executed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with California State University, Bakersfield (CSU Bakersfield). 06/02/2015

USDA Restarts Biomass Crop Assistance Program for Renewable Energy

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that incentives will resume this summer for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy. 06/01/2015

The Week's Action Items

Due 06/05/2015: Public Comment on CEC Staff Final RPS Eligibility Guidebook

The California Energy Commission (CEC) will consider adopting the Staff Final Renewables Portfolio Standard Eligibility Guidebook, Eighth Edition, (RPS Guidebook) at its Business Meeting on June 10, 2015. 06/01/2015

Due 06/19/2015: Comments to Final CARB Low Carbon Fuel Standard Regs

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) proposes to readopt the Low Carbon Fuel Standard in July 2015, and has now released final modifications to the regulation in a 15-day public comment period. 06/05/2015

Due 07/24/2015: Applications for CA 2015 Governor's Leadership Awards

The Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award Program recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made notable, voluntary contributions in conserving California's precious resources, protecting and enhancing our environment, building public-private partnerships and strengthening the State's economy. 06/02/2015

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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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