May 6, 2008

Will Today’s Landfills Be Tomorrow’s Energy?

Posted by in category: sustainability

(Hat Tip: IsraGood)

Garbage. No matter where you go or how far you travel, it seems that every society has a means of acquiring it and dumping it in vast landfills–a fitting tribute towards humanities pursuit of a better future.

While recycling and “reducing” can help diminish the amount that goes into these trash havens, it may not be enough to counter the vast amount people throw away everyday.

Since convincing people to throw away less is a never ending battle (especially in this day and age), why not instead turn these “mountains” of garbage into energy?

(Israel 21st Century) There may be gold, or at least electricity, in those dumps. So says Jean Claude Ohayon, CEO of Israeli startup TGE Tech, which has developed and patented a system whereby unrecycled refuse can be converted into fuel with a special patented device that turns garbage into gas — syngas, a well-known element that has some of the properties of gas, oil and coal. […]

But with the TGE system, “the trash is turned into syngas, which can be burned for fuel like any other material. The trash is gone, and in its place is electricity, which can then be used to supply power to a whole neighborhood or small city,” says Ohayon.

Syngas is not as effective as oil or coal, Ohayon realizes; it only has about 15% of the calorie (energy) power of its authentic siblings. However, Ohayon explains, that level of energy is more than enough to power the gasifier, the waste treatment plant, and probably all the streetlights and traffic lights in a city on any particular day.

“One ton of garbage can generate 0.4 kilowatts of electricity an hour, which isn’t a huge amount, but can definitely contribute somewhat to the energy pool in a locality,” he says. And at the same time — the garbage is gone.

If humanity chooses to remain on planet Earth (as opposed to conquering the final frontier) then they will need to find a way to deal with the massive amounts of garbage we “enjoy” creating.

By turning these heaps into fuel, our species could find a semi-lucrative way of not only getting rid of these trash havens, but perhaps easing the burden of energy as well.

Hopefully more cities will consider what TGE Tech (and similar companies) have to offer, as the less we have on planet Earth, the greener the future will be for the upcoming generation.


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  2. robomoon says:

    If the syngas can be burned without dangerous emissions of toxic substances, nobody would be afraid about dioxin — as mentioned at — and the like. Less toxic waste around, and economic due to power production too, that’s a wonderfully green progress in waste management.