Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 39, September 28, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

A mentor once told me that a weed is just a plant out of place. By extension then, a Waste is a resource out of place. When those out-of-place resources are “organics” (you know, from plants and animals), we get excess biomass. Throwing organic resources into a dump is certainly bad enough, wasting the water they contain makes the loss worse yet.

When excess biomass meets a spark, too often we get catastrophe. The US Forest Service spent more money this year on fighting fires fueled by excess biomass than on all other forest activities. In the Pacific West, it seems all social and environmental factors are conspiring against those who live within the "WUI", the Wildland-Urban Interface, and we are shaking in our community boots as raging firestorms eat up forests, communities, and lives. Besides the immediate need for an outpouring of care for those suffering from these conflagrations, we can and must do more to reduce future catastrophes.

Biomass is bulky and hard to handle, adding cost to every step in that Zero Waste pathway from waste back to resource. Fortunately, smart folks find ways to manage huge amounts of biomass, and are willing to share. Check out the Hazardous Fuels Reduction demos being staged over the next couple months in California, hands-on sessions to show just how efficiently new tools and methods can reduce the risk and increase availability of biomass-as-resource.

Some state support is also on the near horizon. Changes in California's waste management regulations will soon make it easier to set up commercial and municipal chipping and grinding projects to turn the too-dense understory, roadside vegetation, and the mountains of tree-trimmings into mulch, a useable basic organic material. Mulch is good; compost is better, but then we’re back in the permitting miasma.

Easy mulch regulations balanced against stiff composting regulations are combined with the general lack of standards to distinguish between the two. This can result in the generation of low-grade organics to flood the market, while ensuring that refined, certified product is much less available. Each solution breeds other problems. We will all need to apply careful thought when applying questionably-sourced organics to build water-holding healthy soils. What goes into the dirt comes back in the lettuce.

Hey Rube!

National Labs in the US are participating in a Smarts Give-Away, the Small Business Voucher Program that offers federally-sponsored knowledge to small commercial enterprises. Some of the current target is on converting organics. Step up, and make use of this government research.

This Week's Extra Reading

Biffa Releases Report on UK's Residual Waste Treatment Needs

Recycling and waste management company Biffa assesses United Kingdom's (UK) residual waste treatment needs, and concludes that market forces will lead to a natural balance of capacity. 09/23/2015

This Week's Top Story

B&W Contracts to Design, Build, Operate Waste Wood Biomass Plant in UK

Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises, Inc (B&W) has announced that the joint venture that includes its Denmark-based subsidiary, Babcock & Wilcox Vølund A/S, has been awarded a contract to design and build the Teesside Renewable Energy Plant near Middlesbrough, England. 09/21/2015

The Week's News

Third Annual National Bioenergy Day Will Be Held on October 21, 2015

National Bioenergy Day (NBD) 2015 will be held Wednesday, October 21, 2015 (in the middle of Forest Products Week). 09/25/2015

California Re-adopts Low Carbon Fuel Standard Following Court Challenge

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has re-adopted a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) that requires a 10 percent reduction by 2020 in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. 09/25/2015

Hazardous Fuels Reduction Demonstrations Scheduled in California

The USDA Forest Service, the University of California (UC) Berkeley Center for Forestry and numerous industry representatives are sponsoring a series of free hazardous fuels treatment demonstrations (demos) in central and southern California. 09/24/2015

Amyris Announces $35M Technology Investment Agreement With DARPA

California based Amyris, Inc has announced a multi-year, Technology Investment Agreement (TIA) worth up to $35 million with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Biological Technologies Office. 09/23/2015

Wood Products Industry Introduces Online Reuse Wood Directory

The American Wood Council (AWC) and Canadian Wood Council (CWC) have partnered with Building Materials Reuse Association (BMRA) to develop an online North American directory outlining reuse and recycling options for wood and wood products, the ReuseWood.org web service. 09/23/2015

China Looks to Algenol’s Technology to Reduce Rising Global CO2 Levels

Florida, US-based Algenol LLC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with South China’s Fujian Zhongyuan New Energy Company, Ltd (ZYNE) to develop projects throughout Southern China, utilizing carbon emissions to create renewable fuels. 09/23/6015

Estover Energy Secures Financing for Northumberland Biomass CHP Plant

United Kingdom (UK) based Estover Energy Ltd has received financing for construction of its £138m 27.7MWe biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant in Cramlington, Northumberland. 09/22/2015

WM Phoenix Open Golf Tournament Achieves Zero Waste for 3rd Time

Waste Management (WM) has announced that the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open (WMPO) golf tournament diverted 100 percent of event waste away from landfills for the third consecutive year. 09/22/2015

Nidera Earns RSB Certification For Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil

The Netherlands based Nidera B.V. has earned the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) certification for the production and trading of biofuels from used cooking oil. 09/22/2015

CEC Hosts 'Energizing California’s Communities with Renewables' Workshops

The California Energy Commission (CEC) is hosting a series of seven workshops statewide on 'Energizing California's Communities with Renewables' that focus on opportunities to develop community-scale renewable energy projects designed to address the specific needs of each region. 09/21/2015

Tyromer Opens Devulcanization Plant in Canada to Recycle Waste Tires

Tyromer Inc has announced the opening of Tyromer Waterloo, its groundbreaking facility to recycle scrap tire rubber and manage scrap tire waste. 09/21/2015

The Week's Action Items

Due 10/23/2015: Applications for DOE's Small Business Voucher Pilot Round 1

As part of the Small Business Vouchers (SBV) Pilot to help advance the clean energy economy, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) is funding up to $20 million worth of vouchers to eligible small businesses. 09/24/2015

Due 10/23/2015: Proposals for Services for Nevada County Biomass Facilities

The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (FSCNC) has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Services for Site Planning and Environmental Documentation for Conditional Use Permitting for the Nevada County and Camptonville Biomass Energy Facilities, Bid #2015-Biomass. 09/22/2015

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Featured Events:
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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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