- Gasification is the ultimate recycling technology
- Syngas for plastics and fuel
- Slag for bricks or rock-wool
- Jet fuel for airlines
- Can clean up disaster areas!
1. Gasification is the ultimate recycling technology
There are a few high energy recycling technologies that can recycle everything from normal household waste and turn it into gas and useful building products. Watch this video as a great primer.
Gasification takes everything from rotting food, pizza boxes and even old paint tins and chunks of plastic and turns it into fuel and building feedstocks.
2. Syngas for plastics and fuel
Gasification rips all this waste into into light gases and heavy solids. The light gases are called ‘syngas’ short for ‘Synthesis gas‘. It goes to the petrochemical industry to make everything from motor lubricants and varnishes to paint and a million plastics.
3. Slag for bricks or rock wool
The heavier slag slurps out the bottom like lava, and can make everything from bricks and roof tiles to fluffy rock-wool insulation and faux wood panels.
Rock-wool seems too good to be true. It is like asbestos, but without the cancer risks. It can be turned into:
- a fluffy material to grow hydroponic plants in
- rodent-resistant house insulation
- heat shielding (up to 850 degrees C for rock wool, 1200 C for ‘Ceramic fibre wool’)
- can make fibreglass, which itself is a whole extra category of building material
- can be mixed with plastics (from the Syngas!) to form ‘glass reinforced plastic‘, which is yet another whole category of building material.
In other words, Gasifiers can recycle household rubbish into about half the materials to build the next house! (Or car or boat.) Read more about one type of Gasifier – the Plasma Arc burner – in the free book by an associate of Dr James Hansen. See chapter 7: Exxon Sanitation Inc page 189
4. Jet fuel for airlines
But it gets very interesting when thinking about fuel. Electric Vehicles are here to stay, even replacing diesel in enormous Australian Road trains. So I don’t think we should waste Gasification fuels on road transport. Instead, we should look to the skies. Tweak it to maximise clean jet fuel for the airline industry! It will be interesting to see which clean airline fuel wins the day.
5. Can clean up disaster areas!
Imagine New Orleans after Cyclone Katrina. Image all the old tennis shoes, sewerage, dead animals and toxic waste all locked up in the mud and fallen trees and debris of a drowned town! In Chapter 7, the author Tom Blees imagines sending in the bulldozers to just scoop it all up and rip it all back into useful products.
Is an old landfill leaking? Apply in-situ down a drill hole. Siphon the gas off the top, as they already do for coal-seam deposits, and the slag just dries where it is, effectively locking away all contaminants. Blees describes how the US government solved a nuclear-waste issue with the plasma burner. It did not reduce the radioactivity of the materials, but at least locked up the radioactive particles in this safe vitreous form, effectively entombing it in ceramic like synroc forever.
It will be interesting to watch how society adapts to these new technologies, and the other uses and applications we come up with from the waste products.
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