Powered by Garbage
There's one renewable resource that's flown below the radar for quite some time: garbage.
Although solar and wind energy are the best-known renewable energies, generating power from biomass is getting a closer look, as societies try to diversify their fuel sources.
AgriPower's combined heat and power system was originally envisioned for developing countries that could burn agricultural wastes to make electricity and heat.
The multi-piece unit includes a large feed hopper that holds 5 tons of material, and a high-temperature incinerator that vaporizes biomass as it comes in. The resulting heat can be used to turn a turbine to make 300 kilowatts of electricity. The heat can also be used to power other processes like heating.
As the company gets closer to manufacturing--with first commercial products anticipated next April--it is finding a much wider set of potential applications, said CEO Barry Berman.
The company is seeing interest from landfill operators who, short on space for burying trash, would rather incinerate their waste to produce power and sell it to utilities.
The company is also talking to supermarket chains in the U.K. and France that have to pay more than $150 per ton in "tipping fees" to get rid of organic trash such as discarded produce, cardboard and paper.