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World's poor overwhelmed by rubbish (photo gallery)
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World Environment Day was established by the UN in 1972 to give a human face to environmental issues. But as these images show, developing countries suffer the worst effects of waste and pollution. Here, a trash-covered creek in Manila, Philippines, where slums often adjoin rubbish dumps. The country's poorest sift through the garbage to find discarded objects they can sell on or re-use, or even scraps of food to eat
Converting Garbage into Fuel
Kevin Bullis, Technology Review
Waste Management, a large waste company, gives technology for gasifying trash a boost
Waste gasification, a process for converting garbage into fuel and electricity without incinerating it, may be a step closer to large-scale commercialization. Last week, Houston's Waste Management, a major garbage-collection and -disposal company, announced a joint venture with InEnTec, a startup based in Richland, WA, to commercialize InEnTec's plasma-gasification technology.
Waste Management will fund the new venture, which will be called S4 Energy Solutions, as well as provide infrastructure and expertise from its waste-collecting and -processing businesses to make the technology economical. The company, which will operate and market plasma-gasification technologies, will be announcing specific projects to build facilities later this year. The involvement of Waste Management could signal that the technology, which has been more expensive than other waste-disposal options, is finally reaching a stage at which it can be practical. "Up until late last year, it was under the radar," says James Childress, the executive director of the Gasification Technologies Council. "Now the big players are finally getting involved in this."
(27 May 2009)
Recommended by Big Gav of Peak Energy.
Recycling revolution begins in blood and guts
Danny Fortson, The Times
Darren Renshall can’t help himself. As he approaches a spigot amid the din coming from a maze of pipes, he smiles, pulls the lever and out slops a pile of foul-smelling black sludge.
The odour is revolting. But the engineer doesn’t seem to care. He is clearly excited about the muck, which is piling up like a mound of mashed potato on the floor. It is what makes this power station, in Widnes on the Mersey, like no other. Instead of using coal or gas to generate electricity, this plant runs, quite literally, on blood and guts, a cocktail of the food industry’s leftovers. The “fuel” contains slaughterhouse bone and meat, mouldy bread, rotten fruit, old ready meals and fish entrails that “look like thousand island dressing”, said Renshall, who runs the plant...
(25 May 2008)
The Top 6 Ways to Convert Poop Into Electricity
Josh Harkinson, MotherJones
More than half of the 15 trillion gallons of sewage Americans flush annually is processed into sludge that gets spread on farmland, lawns, and home vegetable gardens. In theory, recycling poop is the perfect solution to the one truly unavoidable byproduct of human civilization. But sludge-based as fertilizer can contain anything that goes down the drain—from Prozac flushed down toilets to motor oil hosed from factory floors. That's why an increasing number of cities have begun to explore an alternative way to dispose of sludge: advanced poop-to-power plants. By one estimate, a single American's daily sludge output can generate enough electricity to light a 60-watt bulb for more than nine hours. Here are the six most innovative ways that human waste is being converted to watts:...
(22 May 2009)