An interesting site I've just found...

bry84April 17, 2005

...This isn't a technology for in the home, but it's quite interesting and gives us an idea of what we may be using in the future. They've apparently found a way to make synthetic fossil fuels from common agricultural and industrial waste that is both consistent and economical...

I unfortunately don't know how to make that a link you can click on (sorry!), but you can cut and paste it.

It looks good, but I just can't help thinking it must come with some environmental impact? Is nothing that good, or am I being cynical that you can turn hazardous wastes in to oil? I'm curious what other people think of this?

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Making use of waste products is always a good idea. Thinking that it is a "new" source of "oil" that is environmentally benign is not true.

The problems come mostly from when we use it ( burn it ) and the resulting by-products. Reducing the volume we use reduces the attendant pollutants that get emitted.

Turning chicken#%$% into gasoline sounds good; and in fact may be a way to reuse various existing by-products from wherever. But also know it is not without a cost . . . it takes energy to convert stuff and essentially refine / change / crack back into "useable" stuff. If you've got a gallon's worth of energy tied up in making a gallon of gas that originated from some biomass source; have you really accomplished anything ?

I'm not being a wet rag on this; but plants / equipment / processes to do this will make them essentially chemical plants . . . which can be properly, wisely, and safely ( people AND environmnent ) run. They can also be poorly run and create a whole boondoggle of environmental damage. "For profit" and "environmentally safe and sound" have not shown themselves to play well together all the time. They are almost by defintion a conflict of interest . . . .

I'm all for reusing whatever stuff we create in living here . . . there are plants that have been collecting methane from former dumps / landfills for decades. That's a relatively simple process to do with little energy invested and relatively little environmental harm to be done. Can't say I feel the same about this stuff. I'm "from Missouri"; show me . . . .

I live not far from a couple garbage to electricity / steam plants. Sound good on the surface. They burn damn near anything; scrubbers in the stacks keep the nasties out of the air. Well, they're not perfect . . . there ARE emissions of all sorts of stuff; the byproducts of plastic burning are terrible; including heavy metals. And even if the plant and scrubbers are working perfectly; you've still got toxic ash to get rid of. Has this really achieved any environmental benefit ? . . . I'm not so sure . . . .

I like the wind "tower" electricity generating plant you posted a link to a while back . . . a WHOLE lot better than this . . . . virtually immune to any environmental consequences . . . I watched the video clips . . . underneath the thing they expected a "desert" . . . and instead they've seen fluorishing of natural native vegetation happening . . . . .


    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 7:06AM
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Personally, I really dislike those garbage to energy incinerators. It sounds smart, but it doesn't seem to work so well. Generally the things consume vast quantities of waste, and much of what they require to burn well is plastic and paper, things which are normally recyclable, but when the local council have to feed their waste to energy plant there's little incentive to promote recycling. If they were to achieve any successful levels of recycling the plant's fuel supply would dry up and the little remaining would be mostly comprised of random inflamable materials such as used electrical goods. You'll notice when looking at recycling statistics that areas with these plants have little or no recycling provision. These plants are just turning valuable raw materials like paper and plastic that can be used again and again in to a pile of toxic ash, thus we must chop down more trees and pump up more oil, all with various environmental and energy costs to replace what has been incinerated. Plus, the toxic ash still has to be disposed of, although I also dislike the term 'disposed' as really nothing is disposed of, rather it's dumped in to the environment. Landfills are the global equivalent of dumping our weekly rubbish in to a pit in the back garden and pretending it's vanished. It's not gone, it's in the way polluting the environment and costing us tax money to maintain the site. The only sustainable option is to keep reusing materials so that they're never landfilled. I really do believe that a closed cycle for almost all, if not 100% of consumer waste is possible. If packaging was limited to just glass, paper, metal and polyethylene (it's 100% recyclable with no loss of quality, unlike other plastics) then we could recycle just about everything. More re-usable containers would help as well, rather than the use once packaging everything seems to be provided in. If companies passed on some of their savings to consumers who bought back their containers for re-filling, then I'm sure it would become a common way to save money at the store.

Equally importantly, I believe that large scale re-using of packaging would save vast amounts of energy, plus recycling where needed tends to use far less energy as the materials are allready refined and processed. I'm convinced that the end energy savings would far surpass the energy extracted from incincerating all waste in one of these plants. Waste to energy isn't a good solution to the mountain of waste we produce, places like germany are now averaging around 80% recycling, and potentially the percentage could be higher if the materials used in packaging were better regulated for recyclable content.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2005 at 5:32PM
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Here is an interesting new site

Here is a link that might be useful: Energy Saving Group

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 11:56AM
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WOW! brewsmith-could you be any more vague?

Solicitation is prohibited on these forums.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 9:47AM
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OUch, good point, and Im working on clearing that up. The site was put up in a bit of a hurry, so please forgive the lack of details. I'll post an updated link here shorty. . . again, sorry for the lack of clear point. . .

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 3:09PM
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What happens to garbage which isn't processed into a useable fuel? Does garbage have some kind of non-methane producing decomposition that I'm not aware of?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 3:43PM
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