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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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  • Numbers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CanadianMacFan ( 1900244 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @10:31PM (#47302903)
    Would like to see the efficiency numbers for the process. They just say how much garbage goes in and how much they expect to get out but not how much energy it's going to take or how much pollution or garbage is going to be resulting from the operation.

    Also when it comes to the 60 and 90 percent diversion rates I think the article is talking about the residential waste stream. From the pictures that is where the garbage for the plant is coming from. I'd like to know if the plant is going to take anything from the commercial or industrial streams. Those diversion rates are usually much worse.
    • Well somebody's got to be the first at bat. Hopefully others will follow and they'll do better, and so on. Nothing is perfect the first time despite what your abstinence-only educator told you.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Extracting energy out of garbage instead of shoveling it into the ground and dumping it into the oceans? Sounds like some kind of liberal conspiracy.

  • This was tried nearby, it was shutdown and dismantled about a year after it opened due to the stench that lingered across town.
    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @11:12PM (#47303089) Journal

      Have you ever smelled an oil refinery? How about a fracturing operation? A soybean processing plant? A meat processing plant?

      How about Lake Erie in the decade before the EPA was established?

      If there's such a thing as "clean coal", then I'm pretty sure they can figure out a way to have "clean garbage".

      • This is quite insightful. I think people forget how much we've managed to clean up north america over the past 40 years.

    • Depends where they built it. If it is on the east side there is a large refinery there and I cannot imagine it will out stink that! Also it is not burning the rubbish but is converting it into useful chemicals so it is not clear that it will produce anything like the same levels of odour and pollution that burning refuse will cause.
  • By guided tour they mean 11 pictures of piles of trash and 2 pictures of the outside of the plant. From a distance.

    Seriously, where are the shots of the reactors? The end product?

    What solvents does it use? Is it done in a vacuum?
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      By that they mean by a guided tour, what ever a private for profit corporation will willingly release with regards to operations, associated trade secrets and anything the public might perceive as being risky. Note this is a for profit exercise so will problems arise, certainly, that short cuts will be taken to maximise profits is inevitable with corporations the only regard to consequences being. Can management disappear with the bonuses prior to getting caught? Will the penalties be less than the fines?

  • 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 :(
    • You really are an idiot, go "idle no more" or get your facts straight. About 0.15 per cent of global GHG emissions comes from oil sands development. Hardly the epicentre of global warming you idiot.
    • Wrong, less than half of our power comes from coal and it falls every year. As of November 2013. 5,690 MW out of 14,003 MW generated in Alberta came from coal.

      People love to rag on power deregulation, but it resulted in a lot of new power plants being built, and they have all been greener than what came before.

  • This was being done in the 1970's, if I am not mistaken. It was called EcoFuel II (tm). It might be the worlds first in terms of this exact process, but there have been plenty of other "garbage to fuel" processes in the past.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What is unique is that the garbage gets sorted just like the recycling gets sorted. Though this is not new for Edmonton they have been doing this for a while. I hate when people call it burning garbage. It is gasification of garbage. The gas is collected and sorted just like oil is separated. Unsellable gas still needs to be burnt off though.

    Toronto will be running into a garbage wall soon. They have a good organics processing plant. But, they can't find enough buyers for the recyclables. Garbage is still s

  • My grandfather was a chemist and worked in the lighting gas industry in the 1920's. The city of Halifax recycled waste into methane for street lighting.
  • Granted they're not turning the stuff into fuel, but they are generating electricity [] from their garbage (and they want yours, they're running out). It would be interesting to compare the carbon/pollution/energy profiles of the two approaches. Wonder if the Scandinavian way is cleaner?
  • I remember reading about some projects that attempted to create fuel from processed sewage/bacteria. IIRC they planned to have some test plants in eastern Canada (Ontario?). Anyone know about those

    Garbage-in-gas-out seems like a good plan. If we could also get "human waste in, gas out" then we're doing even better in terms of managing the nasty side-products of "civilization"

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern