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Golden Age Technology

Waste to Energy – Turning Trash to Treasure

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Traditionally, waste disposal has simply involved throwing solid waste material into landfills. However, these sites emit harmful by-products such as methane, dioxins, and leachate, which are harmful to the health of humans, animals, and the natural environment. In an effort to reduce the environmental and health damage caused by waste disposal, scientists and engineers along with the waste management industry have been developing technologies to recycle or convert our garbage into clean reusable energy, a process known as “waste to energy.”

A number of techniques exist to produce energy from waste, the most common being waste incineration, also known as solid recovered fuel combustion. The incineration process, often described in the industry as thermal treatment, uses special furnaces that burn waste material. Another thermal treatment process is gasification, which is effective in minimizing air pollution. A third process is pyrolysis, a rapidly developing waste-to-energy technology that has been garnering much attention worldwide due to its high efficiency and eco-friendly performance characteristics.

Let’s next explore another common waste-to-energy technology called anaerobic digestion, also known as biomethanation. CERES, an Australian environmental education center, urban farm, and social enterprise hub, describes a virtual model of a series biogas digester as follows. “The biogas digester is the future of waste processing. 40% of waste in the average rubbish bin is food waste, and it’s all going to tips (landfills), which pollutes soils, water resources and creates methane which contributes to climate change. The biogas digester not only diverts this waste away from tips but also creates useful output from this otherwise wasted food. Those outputs could form the cornerstone of our future energy needs and return valuable nutrients to the soil.”

Bravo to the governments, waste-management companies, scientists, and engineers for encouraging and advancing waste –to-energy technologies. We sincerely wish that more and more countries will soon adopt these renewable ways to turn trash into a treasured clean energy resource that will further help protect our precious planet.

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