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Canada Power

World's First Large-Scale Waste-to-Biofuels Facility Opens In Canada 96

Zothecula (1870348) writes Thanks to its extensive composting and recycling facilities, the city of Edmonton, Canada is already diverting approximately 60 percent of its municipal waste from the landfill. That figure is expected to rise to 90 percent, however, once the city's new Waste-to-Biofuels and Chemicals Facility starts converting garbage (that can't be composted or recycled) into methanol and ethanol. It's the world's first such plant to operate on an industrial scale, and Gizmag recently got a guided tour of the place.
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World's First Large-Scale Waste-to-Biofuels Facility Opens In Canada

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2014 @10:43PM (#47302955)

    Alberta is the most conservative part of Canada, Quite the opposite of left wing anything.

  • by MacTO ( 1161105 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @10:48PM (#47302979)

    Oddly enough, you are talking about a part of Canada that known for its petrochemical industries and right wing ideologues ...

  • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @11:10PM (#47303077) Homepage
    Landfills fill up quickly and use up otherwise useful land...

    Not always. Here in Southern California, landfills often start out as canyons or other places that can't be effectively used. When they're full, they're covered with topsoil and allowed to sit until everything is stable, then they're re-purposed as parks, golf courses or some other recreational facility. Of course, not everyplace has that option.
  • by HRbnjR ( 12398 ) <> on Monday June 23, 2014 @11:18PM (#47303109) Homepage
    As an Edmontonian, I'm glad to see our municipal government take an initiative like this, but it's sure not enough to alleviate the fact that the tar sands in our province are the worldwide epicentre of global warming and all our power comes from burning coal :(
  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @11:22PM (#47303145)

    We we had a similar plant in Ontario, it was shut down because of the air pollution. It is still the biggest, by far, smokestack in the city. Burning garbage does not make it disappear, and people would rather the garbage be put somewhere they do not see it, instead of blown into their faces.

    I'm not sure if it will smoke since according to the article the stuff won't actually "burn"'

    There, it will be heated in a low-oxygen atmosphere. This will cause its chemical bonds to break (without the material actually burning), releasing their carbon and hydrogen content to form what's known as syngas. This will in turn be cleaned up and converted into chemical products and biofuels – such as methanol and ethanol.

    Either way if the emitted chemicals are what you're looking for you're not just going to dump them out a smokestack.

  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @11:41PM (#47303225)

    There's no smoke here, nor is there burning.

    You're not burning the stuff, you're gassifying it, which is an entirely different thing. The latter uses a low-oxygen environment and no combustion.

    From that gasification, you get hydrogen and carbon monoxide ("synthesis gas"), which you feed into a Fisher-Tropsch process, with the end result being diesel fuel you can pour into the city buses or sell or whatever.

  • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @12:34AM (#47303447) Homepage

    We we had a similar plant in Ontario, it was shut down because of the air pollution.

    Depends which one you're talking about, if it was the one in London Ontario, it was shut down because NIMBY's threw a fit over it. But it used to heat the LHC complex, and now they use natural gas and had to install a boiler complex for all the buildings. They wanted to build one in Ottawa and the same thing happened, and they wanted to build one in Woodstock. The one in Woodstock never happened because NIMBY's who don't freaking live here threw a hissy fit over it. The city, and the general population was in favor of it.

    Funny enough, Oxford County much like the city of Woodstock is heavily conservative. And every time some city like London, or K/W(both heavily liberal, pro-green, etc) throws a hissy fit over opening a new plant it ends up coming here. Fastest growing city in Ontario for a reason.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @02:21AM (#47303885)

    > The diesel fuel / alcohol / gasahol is then burnt, so you are still burning garbage, but indirectly.

    No, not at all. You're burning gas. Garbage combustion has a lot of nasty byproducts that this doesn't have.

    > This will add to greenhouse gasses . . .

    No, it's carbon neutral because the gasses would escape into the atmosphere anyway in the landfill, this is just a controlled process to actually retrieve the gas. Besides, *not* burning it would increase the greenhouse effect more because all of these gases are very potent greenhouse gases. You want to burn them to release less potent carbon dioxide.

    > Perhaps more stringent controls on packaging, plastics, etc might be better for reducing trash in the first place, but that takes political will, and real social change. Everything that we make should be recyclable. This is the only way that it will work in the long run.

    We need all of the above solutions, including this. There's no silver bullet.

  • This. (Score:5, Informative)

    by DarthVain ( 724186 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @09:43AM (#47305547)

    I live in Ontario and work in an associated field.

    I do not know the actual specifics of this case, but it usually is NIMBY that causes the problems. Ontario has several large groups of "green" activists and pour money into lobbying and lawyers, when in reality they are mostly home/cottage owners associations fronting as environmental groups. Shutting down wind power due to OMG bird strikes, and the like when really they are just looking after what the value of their properties are worth in the area. A garbage processing plant? Yeah you can bet it got shut down by land owners protecting their self interest and investments.

    We had a big gas plant scandal a few years ago where some were supposed to be built, NIMBY and the resulting political pressure had the government shut the project down, costing taxpayers like 2 billion dollars. These things have to go someplace. Isn't the ONE job of the state to look after the interests of the many at possibly the expense of the few? Looking after the few at the expense of the many seem a bit corrupt.

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