Renewable Energy from garbage and sewage
The technology of using raw sewage and garbage to create energy is not a new concept, but the concept is catching on more and more. Many are practicing sustainable living to make sure that we are becoming more eco-friendly as time goes on. Many companies and technologies are evolving to help us in this cycle of life. Recent discoveries and advances had proven that we can turn our wastes and trash into energy rather than dumping it into a landfill to decompose over hundreds of years.
In the past around the turn of the 20th century, we used the gas captured from rotting sewage to light the night streets of streetlamps. With technology ever evolving there now is the know-how that has updated this process. The process of collecting not only gas from garbage but also from raw sewage. We are the world that has an appetite for energy. As this appetite for power grows so does our technology. In turn, we are able to create new forms of producing eco-friendly energy. The device that can turn these materials into energy is known as a microbial fuel cell. The device works much like a hydrogen fuel cell making energy, but this device takes the process and uses wastewater as known as raw sewage and waste. The bacteria that eats raw sewage creates a gas that can be captured and turned into energy. There is also an added bonus to this process, helps purify the water. This is a win-win situation for mother earth and the creatures that habit it.
Students at a university have created a small version of this microbial fuel cells that is smaller than a can of frozen juice. This device is able to create enough energy to power a small device like a fan. The goal of the project is to create larger versions that would be able to create enough biofuel to operate a car on. Of course, the microbial fuel cell would have to be much larger, but it is a start. it is estimated that if you had 10,000 people treat their raw sewage with this process that it would create enough energy to power 1,500 homes. That is roughly 230 million watts of energy. The added benefit of this process is that the method that is completed at a treatment plant would actually also create enough power to be self-efficient. Meaning the power plant would be able to power its self. This would be an added benefit for countries in third world areas where electricity is often not found readily available. All the power plants need is pumps to push oxygen through the raw sewage water.
This process also has an added bonus. The method on how the fuel is created in the microbial fuel cell allows for the collection of the methane gas that the bacteria puts off during the process. The methane is able then to be collected in a turbine and is burned off. This allows the cell to actually make the energy directly without having to use combustion. This technology and process are in the early stages, but could make a huge impact on creating “cleaner” energy sources and also create power in parts of the world where we have not in the past. The technology that is being development in the area of power creation is making great strides.
The process of using raw sewage and garbage to produced energy and power is not only a great way to produce the resources needed to benefit us, but is also money saving, creates better water treatment processes, and even promote energy sustainability. Many industries are working towards more and more processes like this.
The power industry is ever evolving and this has created the awareness around the world for more and more companies to become “green.” This includes the awareness to make companies think about their determinations to preserve our natural resources and also to protect our planet. In many areas of the world, there are awards created to recognize these efforts. These areas of help promote and protect our outdoor recreation areas, help protect our land, promote sustainability and innovation, and encourage water conservation.
When you think of ‘green’ companies, a flooring company is not the first thing to come to mind. A flooring company out of Sandy Springs, GA was able to win an award for the process that they were able to create that allows them to be one of the first flooring companies to have no waste from the manufacturing process to end up in a landfill. The employees of this company were able to reuse and recycle the carpet scraps. What they were not able to reuse and recycle was sent to a facility in Alabama that is able to take waste and turn it into energy.
The flooring company was able to turn the scraps over to a facility that collects waste products from companies and turns them into energy. This process is known as, waste-to-energy. This facility is where they are able to heat the waste and through the combustion process that is able to produce fuel like, synthetic fuels, ethanol, methane, or methanol. This is a fuel commodity process that uses incinerations of materials to create energy.
Whether it be the process of turning raw sewage into power or the process of turning carpet scraps from a flooring company into energy, many companies and developers are working towards creating a ‘greener’ planet with less waste and better use of natural resources. This is the first step of the focus of the awareness that needs to be created to promote the movement around the world. Making sure that we are reducing the demand for our earth’s resources and making sure to replace what we use is a way to be an active part of the progression. Technology and processes are helping to promote and protect our planet, along with reducing our impact in a positive way. These are all opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint on this beautiful place we call earth.