Zap the trash

Instead of putting our trash into landfill what if we turned it into electricity and commercially usable biproducts? That’s exactly the promise of Plasma Recycling. Pilot Plasma Recycling plants are already in operation in various parts of the world turning trash into treasure. Basically they zap garbage with a high voltage plasma and convert it into syngas plus basic chemical elements with commercial value. The syngas is burnt to produce electricity and on balance the plant consumes less energy than it produces whilst avoiding the need for landfill. Actually 1 tonne of waste into the system does leave about 1 kg that goes into landfill but it is a 99.9% reduction.

Why do I mention it here? Firstly it’s a pretty cool application of technology. Secondly everybody hates capitalism because it makes us rich and fouls up the planet. Now the imperative for hating capitalism can be somewhat diminished.

Here is one company that is cashing in on the technique:-

The bit I really like is that once these things are online we won’t have to sort the garbage any more. We can just zap the lot.

17 thoughts on “Zap the trash

  1. Not to mention their aging coal plants and shonky nuclear facilities. I’m surprised something like Chernobyl didn’t happen every couple of weeks

  2. And also this. They use solar thermal mirrors to heat up the water before going to the coal fires to be sent up the turbines as steam. Increased energy output per tonne of coal 😉

  3. Communist countries were the worst polluters of all time. Just look what they did to the Aral sea with over irrigation. Plenty of toxic environemntal disaters in Siberia too.

    This garbage zapping sounds like John Galt’s motor – a bit too good to be true. Why isn’t everyone doing it, and the company that inveneted it making billions?

  4. Sounds like a terrific innovation, and it could lead to smaller government and less taxes and bureaucrats if local councils no longer had to collect the trash.

    I recently read about Toshiba developing a mini nuclear electricity generator which can be installed on the side of a home.

    It would be great to disconnect from all activities, services and utilities that are provided (and taxed accordingly) by government.

  5. I see! So honest landfill operators are going to go out of business, are they? Typical destructive capitalism at work!
    And what about the garbos? Are they going to be forced to get honest jobs?

  6. Don’t see why garbos would be out of work… a centralised plant for processing the stuff in bulk will likely be more efficient than everyone having their own plasma processing plant – so collections will still be required (no more sorting though – yay!)

    The same applies to nuclear – a big plant is likely more efficient than lots of little ones (though I love the mini-reactor concept, and posted about it here last year… sadly, it seems to be stuck in the vaporware stage)

  7. “There are lots of advantages with large and centralised.”

    Just not with government 😉

    Actually, it’s a similar case with water tanks… by any reasonable measure, they make little economic sense – better off building another big dam than trying to get everybody to have lots of little dams (tanks). BUT the freedom from stupid government restrictions on when you can water your lawn might make them worth considering… and having my own nuclear reactor would be pretty awesome.

  8. Pingback: The Garbage Man Can « The Blog of Fleeced

  9. I wonder if the system could be adapted to the treatment of raw sewerage?

    Years back I saw an Australian company that had developed a high-efficiency power generating incinerator that could handle practically any type of organic waste. Unfortunately, they never found their market.

  10. Hmmm bury stuff in the ground at a cost of like $10 per tonne, or burn it up? 700 million for a 100 tonne per day plant? It would only have to last 1900 years to be economical! yay.

  11. Landfill isn’t always cheap. And presumably the energy output helps pay for the plant. In any case if it is payed for by somebody other than taxpayers why should we complain?

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