It's not as fun as you think
Hey everybody. For those of you following at home, Google/GoDaddy are having some issues. Anonymous attack? IT failure? Either way, I hear all the links are broken. At the same time, I am moving over to a new web address: www.policyprospectus.com. I hear everything should work again in less than 72 hours. I have a couple great posts coming up about the making of the financial crisis and a possible new housing bubble happening right now in Canada. Stay tuned.
In the mean, time let's talk about another energy idea: Garbage Incineration.
Building A National Energy Strategy Series:
Go here. Now. Or if you ever find yourself in Seoul.
When I was in Seoul, I was fortunate enough to visit this facility on the outskirts of World Cup Park. Believe it or not, that is a garbage incinerator and natural gas power plant (on the left) right outside a beautiful almost natural landscape (on the right). Believe it or not, that facility along with park that it resides on is one of Korea's pride and joys. Why?
Because it used to be - and still is - one of the largest landfills in the world. Using a system of concrete supports, mesh netting, and lots of dirt, they were able to restore nature to where it was once lost. A As the sun sets on the city horizon, People go for walks and enjoy the outdoors without being aware of what lies beneath. An ever shifting ground of garbage. Breaking down. Producing Natural gas. That powers their cities and their lives.
I'm sure it smells lovely
On the other side of the world, Sweden is facing an interesting dilemma. Less than 4 percent of all waste ends up in landfills. The rest is either recycled or incinerated. Over 20 percent of their electricity comes from burning what was once considered worthy of being forgotten. Only problem is that their recycling program is very successful. Too successful. They do not produce enough garbage to power their incinerators and therefore power their country.
If it was America, then I am sure the solution would be to throw more out. Or grow more corn, since that seems to be the solution to the rest of our problems anyways. Sweden did something interesting though. They allowed imports of garbage from their neighbors. Norway literally pays Sweden to produce electricity (in order to get rid of their own garbage). Though burning garbage can vaporize some unhealthy chemicals and heavy elements into the air, its nothing a good filter can't fix. When we burn coal, we have to do the same thing anyways.
If there is one (un)natural resource that the United States has no shortage of, it's garbage. We throw more out than any other country in the world. We generate 4.6 pounds of garbage per person per day. Korea is capturing the natural gas from decomposing trash. I am sure the US could do the same. As most old coal plants are transitioning to natural gas plants anyways because of the boom caused by hydrofracking. This will just ensure that natural gas is the power source of the near future. Beyond that, I wonder what the technical challenges would be to convert our old coal plants into newer, nicer garbage incinerators?