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Carbon neutral power: harnessing the benefits of household waste

As a planet, we are producing more waste than ever before, and landfill sites are struggling to cope with the volume of waste. Sending waste to landfill has disastrous effects on the environment by polluting the air, land, and even water supplies. As waste in landfill begins to decay, Methane – a greenhouse gas whose effects on climate change far surpass those of carbon dioxide – is released. But there is a way that waste can actually benefit the environment: as a sustainable power source.

How does it work?

This innovative solution converts waste to power through a process called pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is a technique which simulate the Earth’s natural decomposition process using high temperatures. The system can process a variety of materials, from oil sludge, to domestic waste, even to waste from the automotive industry. Despite the fact that oil and tyres are considered especially difficult to dispose of in an environmentally friendly way, these products originate from organic materials and therefore they can be processed into electricity using pyrolysis. The entire system is self-contained, so no harmful emissions are released into the atmosphere and the only by-product is carbon char, a type of biomass. Pyrolysis produces enough electricity to supply 10,000 homes 24 hours a day, all while reducing the amount of waste which is damaging the surrounding land and water supply.

A Carbon Neutral Fuel Alternative

Carbon char is the high quality, energy rich residual solid created by the pyrolysis process. Each waste to power facility has the potential to create 10,000 tonnes of carbon char per year, which can then be used as either a fuel or a fertiliser. Carbon char has a higher calorific value than coal, which means that more energy can be extracted from it. The environmental benefits of burning carbon char for energy also far outstrip traditional fossil fuels; it is a carbon neutral, smokeless fuel. Use of carbon char as a fertiliser and soil conditioner can encourage plant growth and repair damaged soil to make it fit for growing crops.

Social and Economic Impact

Transforming waste into power can also have a positive social effect. Installing these systems creates around 1000 employment opportunities during the construction and delivery phase, and around 200-300 once running. It also has the added benefit of making the area more attractive to other businesses.

Waste to power systems can be installed in areas of the world which have been affected by oil leaks and spills, both as a way of producing power and regenerating the land with carbon char and reduction of landfill waste. In developing countries, water boreholes are often drilled near landfill sites, which results in badly polluted water, so installing a waste to power system will improve access to clean water to those who need it most.

With an increasing global population, the amount of waste being produced is higher than ever and Evolve’s technologies can turn that waste from an environmental hazard to electricity, improved soil quality and increased economic development for affected regions. If you want to learn more about our innovative waste to power strategy, please contact us.

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