A list of the types of waste to energy technologies, their viability, cost analysis and return on investment potential. As scientists and the world attempts to find the best alternatives in waste to energy, only the winners will show up on top.
There are many waste to energy technologies, but how many of these are cost effective? Waste to energy technology includes combustion, gasification, pyrolysis, anaerobic digestion, fermentation, and esterification. Some of these technologies are very cost effective, while others may not be as much so. Some use thermal processing, others use chemical processing, and still others use biochemical processing. Municipal waste to electricity can help meet the energy needs of American homes, while biofuels created from waste can be used to power your vehicles. Waste is abundant in the US, and waste to energy programs take discarded organic materials and use waste to energy technologies to turn this trash into electricity, heat, and fuel. Combustion is the burning of waste, to create energy in the form of heat, which can be used to make steam that is then turned into electricity. This type of waste to energy plant can use any type of burnable waste to create electricity, but care needs to be used to minimize the amount of toxins and pollutants in the smoke that is released.
Waste to energy technology includes fermentation, which can take biomass and create ethanol, using waste cellulosic or organic material. In the fermentation process, the sugar in the waste is changed to carbon dioxide and alcohol, in the same general process that is used to make wine. Normally fermentation occurs with no air present. Esterification can also be done using waste to energy technologies, and the result of this process is biodiesel. The cost effectiveness of esterification will depend on the feedstock being used, and all the other relevant factors such as transportation distance, amount of oil present in the feedstocks, and others.
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