Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 37, September 14, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

When we think about how to never again put discarded resources into a dump, folks naturally start by focusing on the front end of that long Zero Waste path. There are two good and closely related reasons this is so: the first few stages are the part of the process that most people see, and our communities have managed those front-end steps for the longest time.

We’ve got the Front Part of the Zero Waste path figured out. We all understand that somebody needs to collect up the trash and get it somewhere sanitary. Trucks come, the cans get emptied, and trucks leave. Many cities direct those trucks to a central processing station, a place where that trash gets sorted into easily recognizable good stuff and bad stuff. Some of the discards, not many, get set aside to be reused after some cleaning. Other crud is just too hazardous to easily manage, and gets set off in some secure spot for more careful processing.

The rest has for a long time now, been picked over for “recyclables”. These are the things like aluminum cans and cardboard that, depending on the availability and pricing of markets, get separated and bundled up, then sold off to wherever the market allows. Most of us really have no idea about who gets those resources next. Chances are good they travel far away.

Now the Big Target to divert from global landfilling is Organics – all those rapidly rotting left-over food scraps, supermarket rejects, goo from food processors, along with plant and animal parts, and landscape and tree trimmings. Whether composted or converted to biogas, we are learning how to put a different stage of Recycling infrastructure in place. We are integrating waste conversion systems right into our communities. Those new waste conversion plants depend upon taking in a different fraction of that trash tsunami. We create new local recycling markets when we put these new conversion facilities into place. Locals need that goo to make new commodities.

When we add waste conversion installations, we increase the amount we can divert from disposal. When we put those plants in locally, we keep the resources local, and the jobs as well. But even when lots of digesters get built, we still leave about half of that trash to get taken to the dump. If we look at what is left over after our best efforts, we see dirty, tangled, and contaminated crud that often defies description, other than to just call it “trash”. We need to put a whole selection of new conversion tools into that Zero Waste path.

There are three basic ways to take that trashy remainder apart, right down to the basic molecular resources: beat on it (kinetics), rot it (microbial) or heat it up (thermal). Globally, we already have access to the tools we need to complete this last waste conversion stage of the pathway to Zero Waste. We need to integrate a broadly diverse combination of waste conversion systems into our existing local waste management infrastructure, because each community’s trash really is that diverse.

Hey Rube!

In reviewing this week’s news, think of all these waste conversion methods and tools in one integrated complex. It takes a multi-feedstock, multi-tech, multi-product resource recovery park to close the gap in the Circular Economy. In goes all our trash, and the only thing coming out of that Zero Waste recycling process would be recovered resources, ready for remanufacturing or use.

This Week's Top Story

Neste Breaks Ground on World's First Bio LPG Facility in Rotterdam

Neste Corporation held a ground-breaking ceremony today at its renewable product refinery in Rotterdam to mark the beginning of construction for the world's first Bio LPG production facility. 09/08/2015

The Week's News

PHG Energy Expands by Acquiring Assets of ARiES Energy

Tennessee based PHG Energy (PHGE) has acquired the assets of ARiES Energy of Knoxville, adding significantly to its established business lines and formalizing the ongoing partnering relationship between the companies. 09/11/2015

Ceres BioSystems Intends to Develop 10 Waste Conversion Facilities in India

Toronto based Ceres BioSystems Limited (Ceres) has announced that it has signed an "Intent For Cooperation" agreement with the state of Uttar Pradesh, India for the development of up to 10 facilities that will convert organic waste into natural fertilizer. 09/11/2015

CEC Workshop on Biofuel and Biomethane Project Success, Lessons Learned

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has initiated a Technology Merit Review under the Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP). 09/11/2015

Free White Paper - Toward Zero Waste: Opportunities and Challenges

Trade publications service Forester Network has released a timely white paper entitled "Toward Zero Waste: Opportunities and Challenges", and it is available for free download. 09/11/2015

ElectraTherm’s Waste Heat to Power Technology Reduces Flaring at Oil Well

Nevada based ElectraTherm has partnered with a major oil and gas company to commission a Power+ Generatorâ„¢ at a North Dakota oil well. 09/10/2015

Enerkem Raises C$152.6M, Starts Bio-methanol Production at Alberta Facility

Enerkem Inc has announced that it has raised C$152.6 million and has initiated the production of biomethanol from non-recyclable household garbage at the Enerkem Alberta Biofuels full-scale facility in Edmonton, Canada. 09/10/2015

Cool Planet Closes New Financing, Hires EVP of Biocarbon Business

Colorado based Cool Planet Energy Systems has closed an additional financing round with its current investors and hired James Loar to lead Cool Planet’s biocarbon business. 09/10/2015

Xergi's X-Chopper Pre-Treats Sweet Corn Residue at Hometown BioEnergy

Denmark based Xergi A/S has just commissioned the first X-chopper® in the United States at Hometown BioEnergy in Minnesota to pretreat by-products from the manufacture of canned sweet corn. 09/09/2015

NREL Announces Clean Energy Competitors in 2015 Industry Growth Forum

Thirty clean energy companies will present their business cases to a panel of investors and industry experts November 3 and 4 in Denver, Colorado, for the US Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) annual Industry Growth Forum. 09/09/2015

LBNL Opens Next Round of Cyclotron Road Accelerator Program Placements

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) hosts the Cyclotron Road technology accelerator program. 09/09/2015

Edeniq Completes Process Upgrade to Cellulosic Sugars Pilot Plant

Edeniq has completed a major system upgrade of its cellulosic sugar and ethanol pilot facility in Visalia, California. 09/08/2015

DEINOVE Produces Muconic Acid from Cellulosic Biomass, 2G Materials

Paris based DEINOVE has announced the successful production of muconic acid in its laboratory using second-generation (2G) cellulose-based materials. 09/08/2015

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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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