New trash technology aims to turn was...

New trash technology aims to turn waste into energy

There are 12 comments on the Santa Cruz Sentinel story from Apr 20, 2008, titled New trash technology aims to turn waste into energy. In it, Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that:

In what appears to be an early Earth Day gift for the county, a Southern California company has offered to turn the trash at the Buena Vista Landfill into a money-making fuel.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Santa Cruz Sentinel.


San Francisco, CA

#1 Apr 20, 2008
Gezzz! lets this is great. Stepping out of the box is a good thing compared to what we are facing.
Don Heichel -Soquel

United States

#3 Apr 20, 2008
This is for real and is currently happening at Soperton, Georgia, U.S.A.

Green energy alternatives from around the world. Driven and resourceful thinkers from around the country. Capital from Silicon Valley.

We brought together these three things and made it our mission to become inventors on behalf of the most important client ever: our planet.

What we discovered was this: energy alternatives to fossil fuels are right under our feet. By looking deeper into nature's abundance, we discovered that plants, grasses, corn stalks, wood chips, and more can be turned into clean fuel. Even more encouraging, waste products material left to decay and be buried in our land today can be recycled into fuel tomorrow.

United States

#4 Apr 20, 2008
I saw this on TV and what they showed was amazing. I could see these being used everywhere. It is about time we use out of the box solutions that do and have existed for sometime.

We also need to individually change. We need to buy as many things used as possible. I have my entire house furnished very nicely from thrown away or nearly free items from garage sales, thrift stores and trash cans. We need to change from our Capitalistic be told what you need throw away society to one where we can decided all by ourselves decided what we need. Property can own you as much as you own it. Property is a concept sold to us and in our fast paced suicidal working system -- and we buy it. Throw out your TV's. Tare up your credit cards. Buy only what you need and reuse as much as you can. Give to others in need because it's simply the right thing to do. Don't let the media own you or decided what medicine you should use, or what new fancy IPOD you need. Live simply so others may as well.
Support only laws where others are hurt, like rape assault and murder.
Release all drug use offenders.
Rise up!

Foster City, CA

#5 Apr 20, 2008
Santa Cruz County should be deeply skeptical of this technology and asking some very hard questions of the promoters.

How much net energy or fuel will this plant actually produce? The article states that it creates fuel by heating trash to high temperature and breaking it down to a molecular level.
Where will the energy for the initial heat come from?

Will the plant be able to function efficiently if the county has already recycled or composted most of the paper, plastics, and yardwaste, items which would have high energy potential? Or will the county find itself having to choose between recycling and feeding recyclable materials into the plant to make it function?

Where will the "slag" from the plant go? The promoters claim it can be incorporated into cement. Is there any test data that shows this will produce a material that is safe and meets building code standards? Has the county committed to using this material?

Finally, if this plant does not work, is there any financial obligation on the part of the county?

Frankly, without more information, this sounds more like a scam than good news for Earth Day.

Rohnert Park, CA

#6 Apr 20, 2008
Before any of us judge gasification based soley on a newspaper article, we should go and learn about the entire process first. Too often readers thing everything has been reported in an article, its rarely that case. And articles from this source in particular are often very biased in their reporting. Learn more about it, past this single article writen by a single opinion, before you hate or love it. Just my opinion.

Since: Mar 08

Tempe, AZ

#7 Apr 20, 2008
""No one in California is doing as well as Santa Cruz when it comes to waste management," said AdaptiveARC managing partner Kris Skrinak."

if that is the case, why not put it someplace that obviously is not doing as well. might that perhaps show better results?

and yes Planner, you spoke true, people don't realize that it's going to take energy to produce that 3000 degree heat "without the presence of oxygen". you can't produce energy from nothing people.

And I love how it was commented on by the proponents of the technology (if i remember correctly) that there was no net loss of energy. so... 10kw of energy needed to burn the trash produced 10kw of energy back to the grid? I don't think so... ya'll need to study physics and thermodynamics party people...

Oakland, CA

#8 Apr 20, 2008
Article about this in Popular Science:

This is not a perpetual energy machine, which does not need a external energy source, due to the fact that the energy (garbage) is being added. There is enough energy released by the fuel to power both the plant and put extra energy on the grid. So their claim that there is no net loss of power is basically true, being that you are constantly adding energy into the system. The more efficient that generator, the more efficiently electricity is produced. Its not really any different then your standard power plant.

Since: Apr 08

United States

#11 Apr 20, 2008
Justa Guy wrote:
Does this work on human bodies? We're organic and it would save a lot of valuble realestate being used for graveyards. Just hook one of these bad boys up to a hospital and you're on your way.
Bonny Dooner

Alviso, CA

#16 Apr 20, 2008
This process turns "organic waste into fuel". Niether the article nor the sidebar says anything about how the landfill's waste is to be sorted, and how "organic" is defined. This is extremely flimsy reporting, making this all sound far too good to be true.
I suspect that the reporter simply did not understand it and copied the information directly from the news release.
As for ash or slag residue, in Japan such residue (from burning, there) is used in concrete and other building materials. That part of the proposal is realistic.
Tyler M

Overland Park, KS

#17 Apr 21, 2008
Yes okay but how many homes will it power???

West Tehama County, CA

#18 Apr 21, 2008
The number of homes it will power is proportional to how much garbage you throw in.

In other words, NO IDEA.
jeffrey vance

Hayward, CA

#19 Apr 22, 2008
This technology is just incineration in disguise. I have been involved in a legal battle in Red Bluff CA where a company InEnTec has also made similar promises of being a green solution only to have the company president Jeffrey Surma admit in court that his company had indeed lied in their marketing materials. Our group, Citizens for a Healthy Community has spent hundreds of hours in research and have been working with GreenAction in SF as well as being represented by the NRDC in court.

Bottom line is these facilities are unsafe because when plasma arc comes in contact with certain very common chemicals (such as clorine) it releases dioxins which are among the most carcinogenic compounds known to exist.

Don't be fooled, this is just another way for companies to continue their wasteful packaging habits and to rely on the by-products of the petro-chemical industries at the expense of our health and environment.

Nothing is a more direct solution than the 3R's for our waste problems; reduce, recycle and return.

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