- Waste to Energy
- Waste to Energy
Waste to Energy
Has recycling reached its peak? In some parts of the U.S. this may very well be the case. Recycling rates have fallen in recent years or have failed to gain any traction in the first place due to factors like cost and accessibility. Some communities are resorting to garbage incineration as a more cost-effective and convenient alternative to recycling.
To the average person, the idea of sewage is best left out of sight, out of mind. Applied CleanTech, an Israeli startup focused on recycling raw wastewater into reusable materials, is making sewer water seem sweet. They’ve developed an efficient way to recycle the waste product in a process that saves millions of dollars on operational costs compared to traditional sewer water treatment processes.
A leading food distributor and retailer recently announced a new clean energy initiative that would convert 55,000 tons of food waste annually into usable biogas to offset the costs of powering its 650,000 square foot distribution center located in the Los Angeles area. FIND: Dumpsters for Rent in Los Angeles
Trash incineration is a growing trend in the United States, and we’re not talking about trash barrel burning in your backyard. We’re talking about the large-scale waste-to-energy facilities located across the country.
Images via Wikimedia Commons Greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide, are emissions released at landfills and wastewater treatment plants (you can read more about greenhouse gases here). A company called Newlight Technologies, LLC is taking potentially harmful greenhouse gases and using them for good – producing bioplastics from methane and CO2.
Dallas, Texas is one of the biggest producers of garbage in the country, carting approximately 2.2 million tons of waste to landfills each year. City officials recently announced a “zero-waste plan” to try and recycle or reuse virtually all of the city’s municipal waste.
The Wilmington, Delaware skyline. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons A new $35 million waste-to-energy facility will process wastewater and landfill gases to produce energy. It will be the first facility in the U.S. that captures two sources of biogas and converts it to both electricity and heat. It could be the model of other similar plants across the country.
Plasma torches used in plasma gasification plants. Image courtesy of PyroGenesis Canada Inc. One of the newest and most innovative methods for handling municipal waste is a process called plasma gasification. If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is. It’s also very expensive to build a plasma gasification facility, so that’s a major drawback. However, it’s probably the cleanest, most eco-friendly waste management option to date.
Augusta, Maine may soon be the first city in the U.S. to build a trash-to-liquid plant for turning garbage into liquid fuel, primarily biodiesel. The ground-breaking facility would be situated near the Hatch Hill landfill. Is this the future of municipal waste handling in the U.S.?
Images courtesy of Greening Forward and The Energy Recovery Council There’s been a shift in recent years from traditional coal and nuclear power plants to more sustainable alternatives like waste-to-energy (WTE) plants. Are these “greener” facilities actually producing cleaner emissions compared to traditional power plants?
What to do with all the 250 million tons of trash that arrives at U.S. landfills each year...bury it, burn it, extract the methane? These things are all being done at modern landfills, but a new partnership between Waste Management and Renmatix may allow garbage to be converted to sugars for producing biofuel.
A waste-to-energy plant in Germany. By Norbert Nagel (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities across the globe are expected to process more than 260 million tons of waste per year by 2022. If you recall, waste-to-energy facilities are modern landfills that are able to convert trash into energy. It’s a way to treat garbage as a renewable energy source, albeit not quite as "renewable" as wind or solar.
Scott Sjolund of Brainerd's Public Utilities inspects a city sewer. Image via WBUR.org The small city of Brainerd, located about 128 miles northwest of Minneapolis, MN, will soon begin drawing geothermal energy straight from the sewer to heat and cool area homes and businesses. No, it won’t make your home smell like sewage, but it does have the potential to cut the cost of heating a home by as much as 50 percent. Seems like a win-win.
Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad. Image courtesy of European Commission What are your kids doing during summer break? Chances are they’re not working on developing an eco-friendly biofuel product derived from plastic waste. An Egyptian student has done just that. The 16-year-old student, Assa Abdel Hamid Faiad, won the European Development Agreement award at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists held in Finland.
A team of scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have invented a toilet that turns human waste into electricity and fertilizer while reducing the amount of water used by 90-percent. The so-called ‘No-Mix Vacuum Toilet’ is currently undergoing trial runs at several of the university’s bathrooms, and if testing goes well, you may be shitting sitting on one within the next few years.