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Small machine turns rubbish heaps into energy

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A small American company called IST energy has developed a compact machine which turns office-trash into energy. The Green Energy Machine, GEM, doesn't burn the office trash - it creates energy by the gasification method. It processes a daily three tons.
See their animation on exactly how this compact energy-producing system works here
The GEM is the first compact and mobile waste-to-energy system, making it ideally suited for on-site installation at any location producing at least two tons of trash daily. Customer demonstrations are currently being scheduled and initial deliveries are planned for this summer.
In addition to eliminating 95 percent of daily consumer waste, such as paper, plastic, food, wood and agricultural materials, the GEM - manufactured in the United States -- doubles as a clean energy producer. Through a patent-pending process, the system converts everyday trash into small pellets that are, in turn, converted into electricity and gas heat.
“The GEM is the right product at the right time,” said Stu Haber, president and CEO of IST Energy. “The GEM has created a value for every bag of trash we generate - first by eliminating the need for disposal and then by converting it into energy. This model can save businesses, institutions and municipalities hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Never have sustainability and environmental stewardship been more of a focal point for Americans, especially considering President Obama’s goals for energy independence.”
Processes three tons of waste daily to heat 200,000 sq.foot building...
The GEM reduces the financial and environmental burdens of trash removal. One unit processes up to three tons of waste daily, providing the energy to power and heat a 200,000 square foot building housing more than 500 people – all in all reducing annual waste disposal and energy costs by about $250,000. Venues that are ideal for use include universities, hospitals, malls, resorts, amusement parks, arenas, stadiums, large apartment complexes, office buildings and industrial plants, as well as city and town transfer stations.
In addition to providing financial savings, the GEM is eco-friendly and carbon negative, significantly diminishing greenhouse gases by 540 tons annually. The GEM also powers itself with the clean energy it produces, supplying users with a self-sustaining alternative energy source.
The compact system is eight feet high and covers about the size of three standard parking spaces. The GEM is presently being demonstrated to potential customers at the Boston-area headquarters of Infoscitex Corporation, IST Energy’s parent company.
“This country produces an abundance of trash and requires an endless stream of energy, making the GEM ideal for many uses. For example, this past New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square produced 40 tons of trash. Next year, the GEM could be placed on site and convert the celebration’s trash into energy, enabling a cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly alternative,” said Haber.

6 comments

#1Jan 19, 2009 John Lloyd Scharf
EWEP in Eugene, Oregon has been doing this for decades and becoming more efficient as they go along. The machinery they are selling in this case allows the waste to be processed on site, but there is no mention of how the cost of creating the system itself, including the metal of it. I do not know how that compares with a city wide plant.
There is also a plant in Eastern Oregon, that processes wastes from the Portland metro area into energy and the waste gases seem to be only water and CO2. I am not sure of the CO2, but the article on this machine does not claim not to emit CO2. It only claims to be "carbon negative."
In the process that involves plasma convertion to elemental particles, it does not mention how much energy is used in the production of plasma to reach the level of heat to do that.
#2Jan 19, 2009 skeptikool
A very informative and interesting video. The gasification idea is not wholly original since it was used quite a bit during WW11 with on-board, micro units powering vehicles. I believe sawdust, wood pellets and coal dust were used. I don't doubt that other dry combustible household garbage could have been used successfully.
#3Jan 19, 2009 John Lloyd Scharf
I have been told an apple has a core. When I eat one, all it seems to have is a stem.
I am not sure how a "Third World" country would benefit. They do not live in a throw-away society on the level that we do.
What is the capital investment required on this and the expected cost/earnings ratio?
#4Jan 20, 2009 skeptikool
Continued inattention to some of the problems you portray here, Adriana, may be seen as genocide by stealth.
#5Jan 20, 2009 John Lloyd Scharf
I am certain my stomach did well by my consuming the whole apple. It may not do as well when I eat salted in the shell peanuts whole. I was, of course, making a case as to the fact that they handle waste far different than we do. It does not take much waste to contaminate such things as water resources. Just one part of a small animal can contaminate an entire water system with cholera and typhoid. They create kilos of garbage where we create tonnes.
The question I asked about capital investment and price-to-earnings ratio is even more important in a Third World country than it is in a high tech society.This is not "free energy." It requires money for initial investment, maintenance, and replacement.
How do you feel about the sale of infant formula in Third World countries? In the US, it works. It is not the best, but it does not normally kill infants. It makes it far more easy to go back to school or work. It allows the sharing of feeding among the parents. It is functional in our world. What has it done in the Third World countries?
I guess I never thought of Africans having a great deal of need for heating fuel. Give me a large enough lense, some form of insulator, and enough sunshine, I will never need fuel for cooking again. A Fresnel lense is not very expensive and transports well. Even dirt can be an insulator. You do not need pay a company for patent rights or production for that.
#6Jan 20, 2009 skeptikool
John Lloyd Scharf:
I guess I never thought of Africans having a great deal of need for heating fuel. Give me a large enough lense, some form of insulator, and enough sunshine, I will never need fuel for cooking again. A Fresnel lense is not very expensive and transports well. Even dirt can be an insulator. You do not need pay a company for patent rights or production for that.
Some years ago I attended a solar/environmental conference at Ukia Ca. Among the many exhibits, I recall a gallon jar of simmering chile. The jar, painted matte black, was sitting in a cardboard box with its four lids open to about 45 degrees and covered with aluminum foil. This simple cooking apparatus was totally sun-powered

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