Trash-To-Treasure: Turning Non-Recycled Waste Into Low Carbon Fuel

Although recycling rates have increased over the last few decades, more than 50% of our waste still ends up in landfills. Now, by using a novel energy recovery technique, we can reduce the amount that is sent to landfills and produce a fuel that is relatively clean and more energy dense than coal. Materials that were once considered garbage are now recognized as valuable energy resources. What was trash – is now treasure.

This video provides an overview of research that was conducted by Alex Breckel and John Fyffe, graduate students in the Webber Energy Group, and funded by the American Chemistry Council. Their work evaluated the energetic, environmental, and economic tradeoffs of sourcing non-recycled, non-marketable postconsumer plastics from a single-stream Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and converting this material into a solid recovered fuel for use at a cement kiln. Their preliminary findings and conclusions have led to a follow on study, which is in progress; to further evaluate the use of this solid recovered fuel or “engineered fuel” in coal fired power plants.

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