Converting Waste into Reusable Energy

The need for renewable energy is becoming a more prominent issue every day. Many realize the importance of depleting resources, and some even accept the dangers of global warming. There are many popular methods for creating renewable energy, but waste conversion is commonly overlooked.

Need for Renewable Energy

Most of the developed world presents a constant need for fossil fuels. This energy source, however, is only finite. Eventually fossil fuels will be depleted, or the few resources that remain will become too expensive. With the growing price of oil, and the risks of pollution, the search for alternatives is enticing to many. Renewable energy is a much cleaner alternative, and it can also be replenished quickly. While fossil fuel sources only decrease with time, renewable sources are constant. The switch to renewable options is also economically advantageous. According to Greenpeace, the world could save up to $180 billion annually by switching 70 percent of Earth's electricity production to renewable forms. In addition, fossil fuels contribute greatly to environmental deterioration. In the United States, power plants emit over 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As a greenhouse gas, CO2 contributes to global warming. If you are still unsure about the effects of renewable energy on our environment, then read this article to get informed.

The Many Effects of Global Warming

Global warming effects the Earth's natural functioning in many ways. Increased temperatures melt glaciers which creates a rise in sea levels. Over time, this effect will submerge island nations like Indonesia. Warmer waters also facilitate the development of tropical storms. The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the past three decades. Areas susceptible to dryness and wildfire are at increased risk. These new fires are more likely to be even stronger and therefore more destructive. Warmer temperatures attract more insects. Many of these pests carry diseases, such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease and malaria. The best way to combat the risk posed by the greenhouse effect is to find a cleaner option. A multi-beneficial alternative exists in extracting energy from harvested waste.

How Energy is Created from Waste

The process of converting waste involves transforming organic materials into usable energy. A plant designed for this purpose goes through a technique which turns the organic matter into electricity. The waste is collected at this plant, then burned. The burning occurs in a boiler which, from the newly-produced heat, turns water into steam. This steam then powers turbines, which generate electricity. The electricity is supplied to power plants which distribute it over a power grid. For every 1000 kilograms of waste burned, the energy that can be created from this method is estimated at 500 kilowatt-hours. This process has twice the benefits. Not only does it create energy, but it also reduces the amount of waste going into landfills. The gases produced from this process are collected and cleaned before being released into the atmosphere.

There are a variety of available methods to produce renewable energy. Unfortunately, these sources aren't always available. Solar energy can't be harvested in cloudy weather. Calm days don't produce enough wind for turbines. Likewise, droughts leave hydroelectric sources temporarily useless. Like these methods, waste conversion can be replenished but it adds an additional benefit in reducing waste buildup. This is yet another sustainable way to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and keep the planet functioning as well as possible. For more information on the necessity of converting waste into reusable energy and how it can benefit our planet, then go here.


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