From garbage to gas to cash

“In California, they don’t throw their garbage away – they make it into TV shows.” – Woody Allen.

And that’s how garbage is being revolutionized by following Woody Allen’s sage (or should we say green) advice. There are so many developments now of turning trash into cash, garbage into gas, and… (what else rhyme’s with ass??) that I’m pretty sure there’s a stink bomb in there somewhere that is going to blow up soon. But enough of my cynicism…

In terms of news, we previously posted GE’s project of using chicken biogas in Beijing; the happy California dairy cows biogas project by Pacific Gas & Electric Co.; and yesterday’s post of producing hydrogen from sewage by reserchers from the Oregon State University.

In May, Reuters also featured several trashy articles on the growing profitability of garbage.

Some more recent research in the market of rubbish includes production of biofuels from the biorefining of combined municipal solid waste and after-harvest ag waste, being developed by the research agency of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA); turning swine waste into electricity to be developed by Progress Energy Carolinas and GreenCo Solutions, Inc.; and more biogas from liquid waste such as sewage, sludge, manure and certain industrial and oil-based liquid wastes, with the technology already being commercialized by Magnegas Corporation.

Truthfully, it is really good to hear about these projects progressing. Garbage is one thing that the world is happy to get rid of… although now that I think of it, if we don’t have garbage, I wonder where will rats and worms get their food from? This could be the start of several species extinction…
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One Response to From garbage to gas to cash

  1. Pradeep 16 October, 2008 at 6:20 pm #

    While the concept of turning animal waste to fuel is laudable, I don’t know if the same applies to municipal waste, a lot of which is paper.
    From the ARS website:
    …According to unit leader Bill Orts, about 30 to 40 percent of household garbage is paper—newspaper, used paper towels, or cardboard boxes.

    If decent recycling programs are put in place, we could recycle this paper instead of turning it into fuel. My gut feeling is that saving trees is probably more important than filling our gas tanks. I wonder if there are any life cycle analyses on this.

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