Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 49, December 14, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Climate Change! Climate Change! Every body’s talkin’ the talk. Some are even walking the walk. Paris COP21 shifted gears a bit, focusing needed attention on short-term instead of long-term atmospheric pollutants. What, you may ask, are these Short Term Pollutants of which they speak? Glad you asked…

First, it’s the amount of time that nasty gaseous and particulate things stay circulating in the air that determines short versus long term pollution. Super-fine carbon dust stays up there like, for ever , while more complex molecules tend to do their dirty bit and break down. Chief target among those obnoxious and choking exhaust-sourced baddies: Methane. Molecularly, that’s CH4 - a carbon atom stuck to four hydrogen atoms. Pop that sucker with enough energy and oxygen and it comes apart into carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and water. Keep stirring and changing up air-borne methane and those bits recombine into the really nasty stuff some of us grew up with, stuff that for decades we choked over and cursed as SMOG.

Big surprise: there is more crud in the air in poorer communities than in wealthier neighborhoods. Did somebody decide to dump the bad stuff on poor folk? Not necessarily - it’s just that emission-laden air in industrially zoned areas goes right along with cheaper in-fill housing, exhaust-spewing trucks course along freeway routes that cut through ghettos, and low-income communities congregate in areas with lower rent - and bad air. That’s euphemistically called Environmental Justice. If you have the money, you wouldn’t choose to live there.

Methane may be short-lived, but it doesn’t just go away. While CH4 molecules are still stuck together and up there in circulation, they do their own damage, and that crud is poisonous. Then it changes its disguise and come back nastier than ever. “Clean” Natural Gas is mostly methane, oh, and a few minor carcinogens but who’s counting. The bubbles that come up out of a bucket of rotting food waste goo are mostly methane. The gases that escape from a landfill are full of methane. The back end of a cow is a good place to find methane, just don’t stand too close.

At COP21, the assembled masses learned encouragingly that this simple, deadly, short-lived pollutant methane is also one of the most useful little molecular resources we could possibly capture and recover. With a bit of finesse, we can turn CH4 into almost anything ever made out of petroleum. We can use it straight as fuel, or remake it as almost any other kind of gas or liquid fuel. We can turn it into chemicals, even food protein or plastics. The trick is We Have to Catch It. So methane capture and conversion is the Big Thing, and a lot of waste conversion for resource recovery is drawing a bead on this specific short-term pollutant target, world-wide. If we manage methane capture and conversion right, we get all the fuels and chemicals without the stink, without the smog and without the oil wells, and about the only thing left over is clean air and water.

Hey Rube!

Just about every news item this week takes a poke at some aspect of methane capture and conversion. One group uses waste gasification, another anaerobic digestion, and yet another focuses on turning that gas into combined heat and power. Yep, you can do almost anything with methane – anything, that it, except ignore it.

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This Week's Extra Reading

European Investment Bank Releases Circular Economy Financing Reports

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has released two reports addressing the institution’s current and projected plans for investment in support of the circular economy. 12/11/2015

Forester Releases New Report: From Waste to Energy to Zero Waste

Forester Media has released a special report entitled " From Waste-to-Energy to Zero Waste: Opportunities and Challenges in Solid Waste Management" from MSW Management that provides a practical roadmap through the controversy. 12/10/2015

This Week's Top Story

Republic Opens Advanced Residential Recycling Center in Nevada

Arizona based Republic Services, Inc has opened the Southern Nevada Recycling Center serving Clark County, which is capable of processing two million pounds of recyclable material per day, or 70 tons per hour, and is expected to double recycling capacity in the area. 12/07/2015

The Week's News

HeidelbergCement and Joule Partner to Mitigate CO2 in Cement Manufacturing

Massachusetts company Joule Unlimited, Inc and Germany based HeidelbergCement Group have announced a partnership designed to explore application of Joule’s technology to mitigate carbon emissions in cement manufacturing. 12/11/2015

Shell India Markets to Build IH2 Technology Demo Plant in Bangalore

Shell India Markets Pvt Ltd (SIMPL) will proceed with the installation of a 5 tonne/day IH2 technology demonstration plant on the site of its new Technology Centre in Bangalore, India. 12/11/2015

Ensyn Receives Conditional Loan Guarantee to Build Georgia Biofuel Plant

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a conditional commitment for a $70 million loan guarantee to help build a cellulosic biorefinery in central Georgia. 12/11/2015

PTG Contracts to Reduce Golden Road Brewing's Energy Costs by >50%

Pasteurization Technology Group (PTG) Water & Energy has been selected by Golden Road Brewing to provide onsite power and hot water at its craft beer production facility in Los Angeles, California. 12/10/2015

Congresswoman Pingree Introduces Bill Designed to Reduce Food Waste

Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has introduced a bill in the United States Congress aimed at reducing the amount of food that is wasted each year in the United States. 12/10/2015

SJVAPCD to Host Meeting on Alternative Fuel Infrastructure RFP

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) in California is hosting an informational meeting to address questions regarding the Request for Proposal (RFP) to accept proposed projects for alternative fuel infrastructure under its Public Benefit Grants Program. 12/09/2015

First Global Green Bank Network Is Planned to Accelerate Shift to Clean Energy

A group of six green banks and two leading non-profit groups have announced they are establishing a Green Bank Network to help meet the urgent need of increasing and accelerating investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency worldwide. 12/08/2015

WELTEC BIOPOWER Erects Its Second Biogas Plant in South Korea

Germany based WELTEC BIOPOWER has announced that its second biogas plant in South Korea is under construction. In October 2015, construction work began for the 450-kW anaerobic digestion plant, and is scheduled to go live in the early summer of 2016. 12/08/2015

Outotec Contracts for Two More Waste Gasification to Energy Plants in UK

Finland based Outotec Oyj has been awarded two more contracts for the design and delivery of waste-to-energy plants to be built in the United Kingdom (UK). 12/08/2015

Solvay Subsidiary Receives RSB Certification for Epicerol®

Solvay subsidiary Advanced Biochemical Thailand Co, Ltd. (ABT) has received certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) for the production of Epicerol®, a bio-based building block for renewable chemicals and resins. 12/07/2015

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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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