Garbage In, Garbage Out

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Bill Manes of the Orlando Weekly did a cruel thing in his report on plans to turn garbage into energy for the city. He actually checked if the scheme would work.

Bradley Angel of Greenaction just returned from a three-country tour of Asia, visiting existing gasification plants. There, he says, the tone is not quite so optimistic.

At a plant in Nagareyana, Japan, a gasification company made the same claims being made here in Orlando: They could generate electricity with zero emissions.

"By the end of our tour, the plant managers indicated that all of their key claims were false," Angel says. "Greenaction has dealt with many of these around the world. If a company claims that we can gasify the waste, then they're saying that we are magicians."

The Japanese plant was importing 30 percent of its power from Tokyo Electric, he says, producing one-third less than it promised and using kerosene to power its generator. Accidents were a regular occurrence.

Maybe Orlando will want China to try it first?

NEXT: Crackbrained Crack Crackdown

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  1. Good headline.

  2. “If a company claims that we can gasify the waste, then they’re saying that we are magicians.”

    This will work fine for Orlando. They can just get Tinkerbell to moonlight at the power plant when she’s not working the ol’ Magic Kingdom.

  3. Why don’t they just use one of those fusion things the guy in Back to the Future III had? That was simple – run a car on garbage. Don’t know why they’d mess with making a whole plant. I hear dreams and rainbows are a significant power source as well if properly converted.

  4. Todd,

    You’ve got to plug into the rainbow connection.

  5. I wonder if there is any connection between municipality-owned electric utilities and hare-brained schemes. I can’t imagine a privately held utility would waste people’s money in such a way.

  6. Gygax?

  7. Wasn’t there an episode of Captain Planet similar to this? I think the bad guy was actually dumping the trash into an active volcano, which caused it to erupt, threatening the villagers, or something.

  8. Seems like thermal depolymerization is only doing a little bit better.

  9. It is theoretically possible using Fischer Tropsch synthesis. Sasol has been doing it with coal for decades, but any organic matter should work.

  10. Also, I’m pretty sure that if the Japanese think your technology is too crazy to use, you have a problem.

    -sam

  11. Isn’t that garbage burning plant near Chicago still operating? It was all the rage in the 1970s just before I moved from there to the real US of A.

  12. You can have my garbage when you pry it out of my cold, dead fingers … and its gift wrapped and left in a highly visible location in a car during a New York sanitation workers strike (in a high crime neighborhood – O, but I repeat myself – I did say New York).

  13. They need more dylithium crystals!

  14. Isn’t that garbage burning plant near Chicago still operating?

    Nope. As soon as the state stopped subisdizing it, it closed. Here’s the last I heard of it (note the last sentence where burning coal is bad but burning wood is “green”(!):

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=23675

  15. I wonder if there is any connection between municipality-owned electric utilities and hare-brained schemes.

    Politicians?

    OK, so I was being snarky, but there is some truth to it.

    The devil is in the details, and politicians are necessarily “big picture” people when it comes to infrastructure projects…

  16. Gygax?

    Sounds like Randolph Carter’s choking!

    Someone with Heimlich Skill roll 2D6 for a saving throw.

  17. See, you don’t see Republicans or Democrats cracking D&D jokes. Part of me is waiting until Paul makes some sort of “Failing our Intelligence Throw” joke at one of the debates.

    -sam

    p.s.–Yeah, Ron keeps it 2nd edition.
    p.p.s.–Gratiae omnium, hoc monstro.

  18. Russ 2000,

    ROFLMAO!

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