Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 44, November 9, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Wood's the Word this week, it seems. Well, with the California Governor's last proclamation, Wood was the word last week as well. But this week, there's state and federal Money for doing stuff with Wood, converting excess unwanted Wood into commodities like fuel, chemicals, heat and power. New high efficiency Wood stoves go head to head, competing for accolades (and a crucial marketing edge). The EPA has turned their benevolent eye on Wood, with dispensations for those that might heat industrial boilers with the stuff. Companies are sporting out how to turn Wood into jet fuel, and those that make fuel from anything having the wood-basic cellulose can now rely on the 2015 EPA CWC price metric in their economic board. Meanwhile California's waste management agency, CalRecycle, has just about finalized their new composting regs. Wood! It's everywhere…

Think about this circular organics economy thing we're attempting to establish. We have to wonder: just how much of the organic resource can we recover, reprocess, and put back into use? We put over 30 million tons of trash into California landfills in 2014, and a third of that was 'organic'. Now add in all the hundreds of thousands of tons of dead trees and excess brush we need to remove to reduce fire risk and clean up after the fires we have already had. That's a whole lotta biomass.

Let's just look at the front end of the cycle for a moment. Recovering any resource from waste means you first must figure out how to gather up the stuff. What you collect becomes your Process Input. We have the system in place for collecting standard residential and commercial organics – that's the door-to-door routing of the trash trucks. But those rigs really aren't designed to handle sloppy wet food waste, especially if you want to keep it separate from the dry trash. We know how to get the Wood out of the Woodlands, but that is no simple matter either: forest waste usually costs more to remove and recover than what's it's worth.

After this year's disastrous fire loss, we can compare up-front forest wood collection costs with the alternative of doing too little, too late. We don't often see the results of throwing away other organics, but if we had been putting that woody carbon back into building healthy, organic rich soil, we would not have needed nearly so much precious water for landscaping and agriculture. There is cost savings there that belongs in the comparison.

This week, Teru helped the EPA stage the 10th Annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium, and the general topic was the national Healthy Soils Initiative. The symposium speakers all dealt with some aspect of Too Much Organics, and for two days we hammered on the difficulties, the perplexities, and the conflicting regs, and we made an impressively broad sweep through the potential solutions. We got our communal minds around the tonnages to be collected, the processing methods available, and the commodities to be served up to the market. We poked holes in the local, state, and federal regulations, the conflicts between them, and the often-absurd public misconceptions. One theme rang through the entire agenda: Biomass is awkward and expensive to manage. For all organics, we must collect, convert, and remanufacture everything locally, returning the recovered and remade resources right back to the region from which they came.

Hey Rube!

Sometime next week, EPA Region 9 will have all the slide decks posted to their web site, so be sure to go through the presentations. You may have missed our group head-knocking session, but you can still enjoy the headache.

This Week's Extra Reading

CalRecycle Releases First 2014 Solid Waste Characterization Study

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has released its 2014 Disposal-Facility-Based Characterization of Solid Waste in California. 11/06/2015

This Week's Top Story

Neste and Boeing Partner to Commercialize Renewable Aviation Fuels

Neste Corporation and Boeing will work together to promote and accelerate the commercialization of renewable aviation fuel with the goal of gaining widespread market acceptance for renewable aviation fuels, and progressing sustainability accreditation efforts. 11/04/2015

The Week's News

Oregon CED Receives New Funds to Study Forest Biomass Management

The Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council's (COIC) Community and Economic Development Department (CED) has been working to improve biomass and small diameter wood markets and business opportunities since beginning forest restoration programs in 2001. 11/06/2015

California GO-Biz Publishes Hydrogen Station Permitting Guidebook

The California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has announced release of the first edition of a guidebook to help smooth the process of hydrogen station development. 11/06/2015

US EPA Releases 2016 Cellulosic Waiver Credit Price for Biofuel

Conversion of cellulosic biomass to transport fuel receives price support specified by the Clean Air Act (CAA). 11/05/2015

Ener-Core Launches Public Offering of Common Stock

California based Ener-Core, Inc has announced the launch of an underwritten public offering of 2,250,000 units, subject to market and other conditions, pursuant to a registration statement on Form S-1 filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 11/05/2015

CRS Publishes Guides to Renewable Energy in EPA Clean Power Plan

Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) recently released two reports on renewable energy in the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which directs states to implement greenhouse gas emissions limits for existing electricity generators. 11/03/2015

AGH's Pellet Stove Assessment Finds Advantages and Exaggerations

An independent assessment of popular pellet stoves conducted by the Alliance for Green Heat (AGH) found that pellet stoves, unlike most wood stoves, can achieve low levels of emissions in real world settings that are in line with laboratory results. 11/03/2015

Industry Groups Comment on EPA's Reconsideration of Boiler MACT Rule

The US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) has completed reconsideration of the Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule. 11/03/2015

GE Completes Acquisition of Alstom Power and Grid Businesses

GE has announced that it has completed the €9.7B (approximately $10.6B) acquisition of French company Alstom's power and grid businesses, following regulatory approval of the deal in over 20 countries and regions. 11/02/2015  

Vertimass Completes Technology Validation With US Energy Department

California based Vertimass LLC has announced completion of catalyst technology validation verifying the benchmark performance, initial process design, and preliminary cost information, and qualifying for a new award of $2 million by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technology Office (BETO). 11/02/2015

The Week's Action Items

Due 01/13/2016: Proposals to USFS for Wood Innovations Funding

The US Forest Service (USFS) is requesting proposals to substantially expand and accelerate wood energy and wood products markets throughout the United States to support forest management needs on National Forest System and other forest lands. 11/02/2015

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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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