Waste-to-energy: Garbage to gold: putting waste conversion at the center of the clean fuel market

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Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

As the U.S. explores new technologies to transform our energy supply and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, one of the most exciting clean energy solutions has the potential to transform the waste handling industry as well.

Cellulosic ethanol, a clean burning advanced biofuel, can be derived from a wide variety of renewable, nonfood sources, including municipal solid waste (MSW) and agriculture waste. While technologies that turn waste into electrical power have been around for decades, this new technology can turn trash into a product with a much higher value: fuel-grade ethanol. Best of all, the technology is ready today.

Advanced biofuels have the ability to reduce our dependence on foreign oil while creating economic growth in an environmentally sustainable way. Companies are already producing fuel at semicommercial volumes in plants across the country. The technology is “shovel” ready. However, in order for these benefits to be realized, the industry needs enduring government policy to help motivate private investment in commercial facilities.

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