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Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 50, December 21, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Words can confuse as much as clarify: all our sales-pitch saturated lives we've heard that 'organic' things are better than, well, things that aren't organic – that organic refers to plants and animals that are grown, harvested, and processed without addition of synthetic chemicals, pesticides, hormones, methyl-ethyl-bad-stuff. We have entire certification systems designed to figure out which of the products we buy and sell can carry their Organic stamp. Organically raised beef; organic lettuce, milk, flour, even organic cotton for organic clothing. Now it seems all around the globe, agencies are no longer willing to put 'organics' in landfills. Maybe this ban on landfilling Organics only applies to dumping the Really Good Stuff, right? Wrong.

It's this business of Organic Molecules that's the key. It’s all Biomass: it includes all living or recently living biological stuff, plants, animals, food waste, the list goes on. Organic things share certain characteristics, chief among these being that organic molecules are food for other organic molecules. Biomass just naturally breaks down from big clumps of connected organic molecules into smaller and smaller bits until the once-connected solids, liquids, and gases are completely separate. This is both a blessing and a curse. If we are trying to keep the planet's water, soil, and air clean, all those rotting Organics can make a serious mess. In a pile the size of a landfill, the separating liquids can seep right down into the groundwater, the gases like CH4 (methane) go up to become greenhouse gas (GHG), and even the solids can be difficult. If nothing else, it really isn't very easy to get at that discarded biomass to do anything else with it, once it is dumped in the dump.

In a landfill, that degrading organic biomass is a liability and can remain an expensive problem for a long, long time. But when they are not left to fester in a dump, those same organic molecules can be recovered as critical resources and valuable assets. Any time we can move something from the Liability column to the Asset column in our spreadsheet, it's Economic Magic: something that once cost us dearly, now pays us well.

Alright, so when we talk about a ban on Organics being disposed in a landfill, we don't really care so much about how it has been grown, harvested, or processed. That ban applies just as much for hundred-year shelf-life hot dogs as it does for Organic Tofu. If the stuff is Biomass, it is a resource to be recovered, not a nuisance to be dumped.

Hey Rube!

Nothing is ever that simple, is it? Consider for a moment that when we move Biomass from one place to another, we can also carry along all the pests and diseases that feast upon it. This presents a different problem, one involving regulated restrictions on that movement called Quarantines. Right now in California, two-thirds of the counties have mandatory quarantines in place that constrain our movement of one kind of biomass or another from one place to another. Boy, does THAT wrinkle put a kink in large-scale beneficial use of Biomass!

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This Week's Extra Reading

US Federal Agencies Release Update on National Biogas Activities

The US Department of Energy (DOE), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have jointly released the Biogas Opportunities Roadmap Progress Report. 12/16/2015

This Week's Top Story

Community-Owned Biodiesel Plant in Massachusetts to Open Early 2016

Massachusetts based Co-op Power's partner Northeast Biodiesel, LLC is constructing a biofuel manufacturing plant at the Greenfield Industrial Park. 12/15/2015

The Week's News

Construction of Global Bioenergies' Demo Plant in Germany Ahead of Schedule

France based Global Bioenergies has announced the installation of the central unit at its demo plant in Leuna, Germany 40 days ahead of schedule. 12/17/2015

MagneGas® Fuel to be Part of $100M Kennedy Space Center Project

Florida based MagneGas Corporation has announced that S&R Enterprises LLC, a lead sub-contractor for a major $100 + million Kennedy Space Center build-out project, has placed their first order for MagneGas2® fuel. 12/17/2015

Reverdia and Omnia Collaborate to Distribute Biosuccinium in Africa, Australia

Reverdia and Protea Chemicals, a division of Omnia, have announced an exclusive strategic collaboration agreement to distribute Biosuccinium™ in Africa and Australia, as well as for potential investment in and off-take from future Biosuccinium™ plants. 12/17/2015

Chempolis Partners with Avantha to Extract Ethanol from Cellulosic Bio-Waste

Finland based Chempolis Limited has entered into a partnership with Avantha Group’s research wing Avantha Centre for Industrial Research & Development (ACIRD) in India to offer technology to extract ethanol from various agricultural residues for blending with petrol. 12/16/2015

ZooShare Offers New $2.2M Bond Round for Toronto Zoo Poo Digester

The Toronto Zoo's ZooShare program has announced that new bonds are being offered to help finance its proposed Zoo Poo and Food Waste Digester. 12/16/2015

RESYNTEX Project Is Launched to Convert Textile Waste to New Raw Materials

RESYNTEX is a €11 million research project created with the core objective to create a new circular economy concept for the textile and chemical industries. 12/15/2015

UK GIB and Foresight Back Northern Ireland On-Farm Energy Project

UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB) and Foresight Group LLP (Foresight) have committed £1.7m to the construction of a £3.4m anaerobic digestion plant (AD) in Armagh, Northern Ireland. 12/15/2015

City of Austin Awards $10K for Spent Grain Brewnola Bars in [RE]Verse Pitch

The first-ever [RE]Verse Pitch Competition awarded a $10,000 innovation prize to Austin resident Brandon Ward for his idea of turning spent grain, a byproduct from the brewing process, into "Brewnola" granola bars. 12/15/2015

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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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