Spotlight

From: Erich Lawson
Published August 5, 2014 04:18 PM

A Bridge to a Renewable Energy Future

"Doing all we can to combat climate change comes with numerous benefits, from reducing pollution and associated health care costs to strengthening and diversifying the economy by shifting to renewable energy, among other measures." (David Suzuki)

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The whole concept of renewable energy has gained high importance in the recent years, owing to the growing need of conservation. Every person needs to do their bit to save energy so that it can be sustained for the generations to come.

Generally people think of solar, wind, and hydroelectric sources when they think of renewable energy. However, there is one more source of renewable energy that is created around the globe on a regular basis, which is waste. As this concept is still very new, there are only a few companies who have ventured into this field. However, companies like Northern California Compactor are pioneers in this field with the introduction of different trash compactors, which help industries manage their waste and trash in a better manner. This also helps industries generate renewable energy from these waste products.

How is Renewable Energy Generated from Waste?

There are many technologies of obtaining renewable energy from waste. It is very important to separate different recyclable material from the waste accumulated. The rest of the waste is then used for generating renewable energy. Popularly known as EfW (Energy from waste), its technologies are as follows:

- Anaerobic digestion: In this process, different types of microorganisms are used for converting various parts of organic waste to potent methane biogas. This gas can further be combusted to make electricity or heat. This can also be converted to biomethane, which can be used for fuelling different vehicles. This method works wonders for organic waste like food. The by-product of this method is biofertiliser, which can easily be used as plant manure.

- Combustion: The best practice in this method is to separate the recyclable and biodegradable waste from the main portion. After that is done, the residual waste is burned in chambers with 850°C heat. The energy produced from burning is recovered as electricity or heat.

- Gasification and pyrolysis: These two methods are generally followed in different recycling industries. However, many other companies and waste management projects in different communities have also started using these techniques. In this process, the waste is heated with no or little oxygen to create "syngas", which is then used for the generation of energy. This can also be used as feedstock for producing chemicals, hydrogen, and methane.

Benefits of Renewable Energy Obtained from Waste

There are many benefits when it comes to renewable energy generated from waste. Some of them are:

- Any country using this as a power source can reduce its energy import costs.
- This renewable energy resource has helped in the reduction of carbon emission considerably.
- This has helped many countries meet the huge demand for energy.
- The output of these resources can be controlled when generated as electricity, which is sometime referred to as baseload power.
- Using discarded material, it helps in regulating greenhouse gases and has good sustainability, compared to any other source of renewable energy.

How is Power Generated from Waste?

While people are aware of different technologies used for the generation of renewable energy, most of them are not aware about how power can be generated from this source.

The thermal energy in the waste is recovered by many waste-to-energy plants in huge, effective, and efficient boilers that help in generating energy, which can be supplied directly to different industries. Apart from this, this source can also be used on the site of the plant in different turbines that help in the production of electrical energy.

Waste management, as a source of renewable energy, has gained popularity, owing to the easy availability of main source, i.e. trash. Hence, municipal corporations all around the world have started formulating different waste to energy programs.

Image shows sludge digestion installation on a waste water plant. Here is methane produced and used for the energy supply for the plant, via Shutterstock.

The author, Erich Lawson is very passionate about the environment and effective recycling. He has written a wide array of articles on educating the public on how modern recycling equipment can be used by industries to reduce monthly garbage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment savings techniques by visiting http://www.norcalcompactors.net or follow him on Google+

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