Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gas never smelled so good.

Picture courtesy of:

Daydreaming is pretty much an occupation of mine. One thing that always seems to permeate into my wonders is trash. We have landfills full of waste taking up finite space because there are too many people that consume way too much. It seems that the further we advance technologically, the simple and sometimes, most harmful aspects of our lives aren't subject to these advances. However, there is one aspect that is about to get a makeover- trash!
The smarties at NASA developed Plasma Gasification, a process that uses very hot plasma to break down trash as it simultaneously generates energy. Geoplasma is about to put this process into use in a town in Florida. As Inhabitat expressed, "the plant will use super-hot 10,000 degree Fahrenheit plasma to effectively vaporize 1,500 tons of trash each day, which in turn spins turbines to generate 60MW of electricity- enough to power 50,000 homes!" Gasification can also heat inorganic materials into materials that can be reused for other applications. France and Japan have already implemented this process.

Beautiful Plasma
Courtesy of

Best of all, Plasma Gasification is much less harmful to the environment than incineration is (how a lot of our trash is handled now). For example, Nitrous Oxide, a greenhouse gas, is 6x's higher when incinerators are used than when Plasma Gasification is. Furthermore, when compared to incinerators, gasification only emits a small fraction of sulfur dioxide, which is a compound that produces acid rain* and negatively impacts forests and streams. This trash-vaporizing process also decreases the size of our landfills, which in turn decreases methane gas, a greenhouse gas.

Attack today,


* Sulfur Dioxide is also a cooling agent, so in essence it decreases the negative impact of CO2 in the atmosphere.

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