Hearing about greenhouse gases, ocean dumping, and full landfills has become the norm over the last few decades. With the current growth in human population, which of course leads to more industry and more waste, it’s no wonder that we are now facing one of the biggest challenges of our day – what to do with all that garbage? Luckily, there are many people and companies taking on this challenge and coming up with new ways to use waste, by turning it into usable biofuels, instead of filling up the oceans or landfills with it.
The process of converting solid waste, things like plastics and food waste, into usable fuel is complex and attempts in the past have proven to be costly and inefficient. The transformation process requires gasifying the solid waste and in the midst of that process, other unusable, even toxic, compounds are created.
The benefits of being able to efficiently convert our solid waste into usable biofuels are tremendous, from powering vehicles and creating heat sources to the obvious – cleaning up our world oceans and landfills. Not to mention that our current fossil fuel system contributes to greenhouse gas emissions at every step of its production and use, from extracting it, to processing and shipping and burning it as fuel. Already we can see that this gasification process for solid wastes is contributing more positively than the harm caused by utilizing fossil fuels, and the hope is that plants built and run in certain locations across the globe (those most affected by trash build-up) will lead to more plants being built, thus a clean energy cycle can begin to perpetuate itself, instead of the wasteful fossil fuel/combustion system we are currently stuck in.
And that’s not even the end of it. Not only do these waste conversion plants create renewable, clean energy sources, but they turn a profit as well. Companies like Synova, Fiberight, Harvest Power, Sierra Energy, UrbanX Renewables Group and Plastic2Oil are all providing a service that is truly necessary while at the same time, helping local communities to boost their economies.
The biofuel created through the gasification process is called syngas and can be used for a variety of things. The most common use is as a fuel additive. By combining it with regular gasoline it acts as an ethanol mix. Many cars are now able to use gasoline with added ethanol and some vehicles even run on up to 85% ethanol mixes.
With these new advances in waste conversion, and so many people and companies around the world taking a hard look at the concerns of growing landfills and ocean dumping it will be no time at all until we are seeing the vast improvements in air quality and cleaner oceans, not to mention smaller landfills. It likely won’t be that far off that your vehicle is making a positive difference in the fight against CO2 buildup and greenhouse emissions as well. Recycling and reusing was a great first stab at cleaning up our planet, but it’s become evident that this push towards using waste as fuel will only further the efforts and help us all to leave a cleaner world behind for future generations to come.