Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 34, August 24, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Tossing stuff in the can that ends up in the dump also trashes useful gases like methane that then spit into the atmosphere unless we are really, really careful. And "throwing away" stuff also wastes water. Now is NOT a good time to waste water, especially if you happen to be trashing in the tinder-dry US Pacific West.

But that concern is restricted to places where we know we are short on water. The same water wastage takes place in Europe, where there's so much water that it seems to not make a difference at all. When places continually flood, nobody even thinks about having too little water. And that is the problem: we don't think about water, until that proverbial well, or aquifer, runs bone dry. Then we worry; then we get thirsty.

Juicy tomatoes, long before they reach our grocery store shelves, suck up an enormous amount of water, and then hold their water (so to speak) until we get a chance to slice and dice. By the time we eat one tomato, more than two tomatoes have been thrown away along with all their water, amounting to more than 50% of their weight. The sleeper, according to brains in Europe, was that wasted meat and cereal accounted for the most trashed water.

To convert organic wastes to biomethane and fertilizer, we process dirty soup and in doing that processing, we clean the water. But it is also all too easy to just trash the water generated during the waste conversion process. You actually have to value the water to justify spending the project money it takes to clean it. If you don't happen to be dying of thirst, it probably isn’t particularly interesting how much dirty water you can clean. Off it goes down a sewer or maybe at best, to water nearby landscaping. Get it together folks: that water isn't trash.

For about forever, boiling water has been used to kill off the bad bugs and make good water. Filter out enough chunks and grit, and you can make that water drinkable again. But boy oh boy, don't tell anyone their fresh clean water came from converting waste! That paranoid knee-jerk even was given a name: "toilet-to-tap." Yeah, granted the Yuck Factor is pretty high there, but pick a food, for that matter pick almost any consumer product and somewhere back along the value chain from raw materials to finished product there will be parts of the sausage making most people just don't want to watch.

A line in an old song (anybody remember?) warns, "Be careful not to muddy the water; you may have to drink it soon." Thing is, it is always a lot harder to clean dirty water than it is to dirty clean water (get it?) and when we trash stuff containing lots of water, everything gets dirty.

Hey Rube!

Teru spotted many a loyal Trash Talk reader at last week's Waste Conversion Technology Conference and Trade Show in San Diego. What a treat! Gene and Dana Jones just did a bang-up job and "a good time was had by all." Our world is trying hard to recovery from being In The Dumps since, oh, what? 2008? And things are just starting to pick up in the Resource Recovery Project realm. It really, really helps to get the old soldiers and teeth-clenched survivors into the same box and give 'em a good shake, and this get-together was planned to make it especially comfortable for just that critical networking. Well done - Now, let's Do It Again!

This Week's Top Story

4FRI Thinning Project Begins on Williams Ranger District in Northern Arizona

Tree removal has begun on a 1,646-acre project on the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest associated with the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI). 08/20/2015

The Week's News

BETO Schedules BioenergizeME Webinar: Biomass Basics

The US Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is hosting the Biomass Basics webinar on August 27, 2015, from 4:00-4:40 pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). 08/21/2015

Scottish Biofuel Programme Secures £219,000 in Additional Funding

Following its successful run, the Scottish Biofuel Programme has been awarded a combined £219,000 from funders Zero Waste Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, and Transport Scotland as part of a quarter of a million pound program to continue its support to Scottish business until the end of 2015. 08/21/2015

New Research Considers Acidosis Process Failure in Anaerobic Digesters

Volatile fatty acid intoxication (acidosis) is a common process failure recorded in anaerobic reactors that leads to drastic losses in methane production.  08/21/2015

WELTEC Biomethane Plant in France Is Now Live and Feeding Grid

Germany based WELTEC BIOPOWER has announced that the Longchamps biomethane plant in the Franche-Comté region in eastern France went live on August 5th. 08/20/2015

Greenbelt Resources Selected to Compete in Food Waste Start-Up Challenge

California based Greenbelt Resources Corporation has announced that it has been selected to compete in the Food Waste Start-Up Challenge hosted by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) during the Global Sustainability Summit. 08/20/2015

Harris Gas Begins Distribution of MagneGas Fuel in California and Nevada

MagneGas® Corporation has announced that Harris Industrial Gases (Harris Gas) will begin distributing MagneGas2® for metal cutting. Harris Gas will source their fuel from MagneGas partner Placer Power, LLC of California. 08/18/2015

EPA Proposes Additional Methane Emission Reductions from MSW Landfills

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued two proposals to further reduce emissions of methane-rich gas from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. 08/17/2015

EU Consumer Food Waste Results in Lost Water and Nitrogen Resources

Environmental Research Letters has published an article on Lost water and nitrogen resources due to EU consumer food waste to address a lack of data on national food waste statistics, and finding that Europe as a whole wastes 22m tonnes of food a year. 08/17/2015

The Week's Action Items

Due 08/28/2015: Interest in Small Scale Waste-to-Energy Project in Alaska

Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc. (GBB) has announced the release of a Request for Expression of Interest and Qualifications (RFIQ) from the Metlakatla Indian Community (MIC), located in Southeast Alaska. 08/18/2015

Due 09/03/2015: Renewable Power Proposals to San Francisco CleanPowerSF

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has issued Request for Offers (RFO) CS-1032 seeking eligible renewable energy and resource adequacy supplies for CleanPowerSF, San Francisco's Community Choice Aggregation program. 08/18/2015

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Recommended Reading:

Out of the Wasteland: Stories from the Environmental Frontier by Paul Relis  
Out of the Wasteland: Stories from the Environmental Frontier by Paul Relis


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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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