Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 24, June 15, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

In the span of one generation, bright people have figured out how to take lowly chunks of wood and turn them into just about anything. Biomass: biological things, plants in particular, but animals and you and me also – grow and return, cycling carbon and all the rich soup of organic molecules, and relying on sunlight to power the process. Biomass can be torn apart and made into new stuff, so we call biomass one of the renewable resources.

We’re not just talking about good old Combined Heat and Power (CHP). These days, there seems to be no end to the goods that can be coaxed out of those biomass-sourced molecules, so diverse that now the all-in term biomaterials has gotten into the popular lexicon. We start to see the synergies, and now the Magic really begins. If I can separate all the construction wood scraps, we can use your gasifier system to make lots more power than just burning the stuff, and we can also reclaim all the metals. If I can make truck fuel out of biomass, you and I can combine our smarts and also make the lubricants and solvents we need. You figure out how to put all that sewage and food waste in a big digester; I can come along with my toolset and double your biogas generation from the same stuff.

Global communications and rapid paths for shipping mean we can spot a useful technical platform being successfully employed half way around the world, connect up the commerce value chain and be installed and running with new bolt-on ancillary tools in relatively short order. It’s that global best available technology connect the dots process that Teru Talk has always promoted, and we certainly see evidence that companies are learning cross-continent tech transfer. If it works in Spain, it will work in LA.

Stringing companies and municipalities together in functional partnerships lets us incorporate better collection techniques with cool new pre-treatment methods. Better front-end control leads to more efficient conversion and reforming, resulting in better products. This creates a value chain from the raw wood to highly valued commercial goods. Since it costs us good money to get rid of wasted resources, we can move our combined efforts from the Liability column to the Asset column in our public and private balance sheets, and get a double positive bump to our economics. We can make money by using biomass that otherwise would end up wasted.

That's all well and good economically, but what’s all this biomass conversion doing to our planet? Good management requires that we take out the trash; advances in good planet management now mean we can intercept and redirect resources before disposal. More recycled goods means less scrounging for virgin resources, resulting in less planet damage. Deep research is proving that this sort of closed-loop resource management results in stronger, healthier forests and agricultural lands, less pollution seeping into our water and far less nasty gas spewing into our air. Somebody called this "economical environmentalism": we do a good turn for this global home of ours, and we all make more money.

Hey Rube!

Responding to agency requests for comment on their ever-changing policies and regulations is a form of voting, and the same axiom from the political arena applies: if you don’t vote, then don’t gripe when you don’t like the results. We have this immense and convoluted regulatory system, extending from the smallest city to the global interactions of entire continents. None of us can watch it all, but each of us can focus on those parts most interesting, most pertinent to our own lives. Once you pick your personal battles, your own ax to grind, watch for chances to make your wishes known. Take a few minutes, read the darn stuff, and comment when agencies give you the opportunity.

This Week's Top Story

USDA Assesses Study on Global Wood Pellet Demand Benefits to US Forests

The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) chief economist has posted a positive review of an independent analysis of the increasing demand for wood pellets and its impact on the global economic market and the environment. 06/10/2015

The Week's News

Global Bioenergies Secures EU 1.4M Financing for Bio-Isobutene Program

Global Bioenergies has announced that it has been granted a “Zero Percent Interest Innovation Loan” (Prêt à Taux Zéro Innovation) from Bpifrance to adapt its isobutene process to certain specific industrial environments. 06/12/2015

Idaho City Meets Sludge Disposal Regs with GE’s Monsal Technology

GE has announced the City of Rexburg, Idaho, has selected the company’s Monsal* advanced anaerobic digestion and Monsal 70 technologies to treat biosolids (sewage waste) at the City’s wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). 06/12/2015

States May Apply for $100M USDA Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership Grants

Following an announcement by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on May 29, 2015, the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) has now announced that all 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. may now apply for up to $100 million in grants under the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP). 06/12/2015

EU Funds UPM Valchem Project to Demo Wood to Chemicals Value Chain

Finland based UPM has announced that its ValChem (Value added chemical building blocks and lignin from wood) project has received EUR 13.1 million funding from the European Union (EU). 06/11/2015

Cambi Thermal Hydrolysis Will be Installed at Atlantic WWTP in Virginia

The Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) Commission at its May 2015 meeting approved a contract for the supply of a Cambi Thermal Hydrolysis Process (CambiTHP®) to be installed at the Atlantic Treatment Plant (WWTP). 06/11/2015

AnaeCo™ AD Plant at WMRC Project Approved for Electricity Grid Connection

AnaeCo Limited has announced that its first commercial scale 60,000tpa anaerobic digestion (AD) plant, part of the Western Metropolitan Regional Council (WMRC) Project, has achieved the key milestone of grid connection for export of electricity. 06/10/2015

Goodyear to Use Rice Husk Ash Silica to Manufacture Tires in China

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has reached a supply agreement with Yihai Food and Oil Industry in China for silica derived from rice husk ash. 06/10/2015

Peel Environmental's Renewable Energy Centre in Barnsley Gets Green Light

United Kingdom (UK) based Peel Environmental has announced that the Barnsley Council's Planning Board has approved Peel's proposed £65 million Renewable Energy Centre at the site of the former Houghton Main Colliery in Barnsley. 06/09/2015

Babcock & Wilcox Board Votes to Spin Off Clean Power Generation Business

North Carolina based The Babcock & Wilcox Company has announced that its Board of Directors has formally approved the spin-off of the Power Generation business and creating a new public company. 06/09/2015

Neste and Total Fluides Collaborate on Bio-Based Solvents and Fluids

Finland based Neste Corporation and Total Fluides have signed a collaborative agreement for the supply of Neste proprietary NEXBTL renewable isoalkane used by Total Fluides as feedstock to produce and develop innovative bio-based solvents and technical fluids. 06/09/2015

New Tools Help Assess Potential to Generate Fuels From Used Plastics

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and Ocean Recovery Alliance have introduced two new tools aimed at helping communities around the globe evaluate their potential to adopt plastics-to-fuel technologies. 06/09/2015

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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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