Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 46, November 23, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "TerĂº")  

Teru's Trash Talk

California, like many other places around the globe, is rapidly approaching a time when plant and animal left-overs simply are not allowed in landfills. Naturally, we have to have some other place to put all that biomass. To make full use of this Business Opportunity, we need to figure out how to access all that biomass, find economical uses for the products, and get projects permitted. Given the terrible drought in California, using urban and ag-sourced wood to hold water in the soil seems to make perfect sense. Add to that immense tonnage all the forest health and fire reduction centered biomass removal. Fortunately, the state’s waste agency CalRecycle has revised regulations to simplify and speed the permitting of biomass mulch and composting operations. Surely, those regs have taken into account all the environmental and legal ramifications, so we can all just get busy Using Biomass.

We’ll just gather up all these landscape and forest trimmings and turn them into water holding mulch and compost! If we follow the new CalRecycle permitting process and make new stuff out of the excess plant and animal trash, we are good, right? Wrong; nothing is THAT simple.

There’s another California agency called the Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). It tracks lots of fun agricultural stuff and also has lots of toothy regulations. Among the topics with which the CDFA concerns itself are all the diverse pests and diseases that continually try to take over our agriculture. Understandable; California arguably has the richest ag production any where. At any one time, most of the 50+ counties in California are under some type of plant or animal quarantine, a process the CDFA uses to corral the nasties while it fights them. Quarantines mean you cannot move infected stuff outside of CDFA’s specifically identified boundaries. Stuff like excess biomass generated in a quarantine area has to be proven to no longer be a pest or disease threat, and that means some pretty stringent processing and testing.

We’re not just talking about little nasty bugs here. Among the CDFA’s Black List is the organism Phytophthora ramorum that cause Sudden Oak Death disease. Not happy to just take out thousands of native oak trees, this beasty also infects a vast number of horticultural plants like camellias and rhododendrons. It is already serious enough to mandate changes in commercial nursery stock management. While the CDFA is frantically trying to round up and stomp out rampant plant disease factors, CalRecycle has revised its regs for making both untreated mulch and treated compost out of urban, ag, and forest biomass. But there is no requirement that sources of feedstock be tracked, nor attention paid to CDFA quarantines. That seems to put a crimp on this big idea of Biomass Utilization, doesn’t it? Too bad CalRecycle didn’t incorporate CDFA’s plant pathogen control regulations into the new mulch and compost permitting schemes.

Hey Rube!

The California Oak Mortality Task Force is a good place to start learning about this one-of-many plant diseases that will complicate our ability to make sane use of excess organics. While you are at it, read up on CalRecycle’s revised Organic Materials Management guidelines. Then consider AB 1045, organic waste management and composting legislation passed this year that among other things, mandates that the agencies work together on biomass related challenges.

This Week's Extra Reading

2nd CalRecycle Study Characterizes Solid Waste from Commercial Sector

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has released the second of two reports characterizing California's waste stream based on 2014 data. 11/21/2015

This Week's Top Story

Renmatix Plans First Commercial Biomass to Sugars Biorefinery Next Year

Pennsylvania based Renmatix Inc has announced plans to develop its first commercial biorefinery next year that will convert cellulosic biomass into sugars for the manufacture of a variety of biomaterials. 11/20/2015

The Week's News

EcoPAS System Fabricated by Greenbelt Resources Exceeds Expectations

EcoPAS utilized the manufacturing expertise of Greenbelt Resources Corporation to fabricate the first commercial scale PAS-100 (Passive Alcohol System) and its complementary manifold system. 11/21/2015

CalRecycle Schedules Workshops on Meeting California's 75% Recycling Goals

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is hosting two workshops, one in southern California and one in northern California, on how to meet the state's 75 percent recycling goal. 11/20/2015

California IOUs Schedule Webinar on Upcoming BioMAT Program

California Senate Bill (SB) 1122 was signed into law on September 27, 2012 and adds an additional 250 MW of capacity for investor owned utilities (IOUs) to offer feed-in tariff power purchase agreements (PPAs) for eligible bioenergy projects. 11/18/2015

EcoPro Polymers Develops Bio-Based Formaldehyde-Free Wood Adhesive

Oregon startup EcoPro Polymers, Inc, supported by Oregon BEST and Oregon State University (OSU), is developing a bio-based wood adhesive that contains no urea-formaldehyde for use in particleboard manufacturing and other advanced wood products applications. 11/17/2015

New PULP2VALUE Demo Project Seeks Better Uses for Sugarbeet Pulp

The seven PULP2VALUE partners have launched the new Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking demonstration project in Roosendaal, The Netherlands. 11/16/2015

FDA's Final Food Safety Rule Impacts Fertilizers, Biochar, and Compost

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released its Final Rule on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA; Docket Folder FDA-2011-N-092), along with the Final Environmental Impact Statement on the Rule's provisions. 11/16/2015

The Week's Action Items

Due 01/07/2016: Applications to US EPA SBIR Phase I Solicitation

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced release of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Solicitation SOL-NC-16-00001 to develop and commercialize innovative environmental technologies. 11/20/2015

Due 01/07/2016: Pre-Proposals to USDA to Manage Sudden Oak Death Impact

The USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region, State and Private Forestry, Forest Health Protection program has issued its 2016 Phytophthora ramorum Request for Pre-Proposals (RFP). 11/21/2015

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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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