This morning for some reason I started to think about making a manufacturing company in the US. I was thinking about how we import so much from other countries that wouldn’t it be neat if from raw materials we build something that people would buy. So, the thought process was then like oh boy, what resources do we have that we can actually produce things that are sustainable.
Trash! Obviously this is something we have in abundance. However, the stuff that gets sent to landfills is not being used well. It just sits there… Some companies are “up-cycling” (taking things like plastic bottles and producing a more expensive product) plastic bottles and producing shoes and hand bags (https://www.veja-store.com/en_uk/c/men).
But, what about all the trash in land fills. What can we do with that? So, I googled and found:
Very neat website that has a lot of useful info. It seems like we burn a lot of the stuff that ends up in landfills and this creates electricity by using the heat to turn a generator. This also reduces the mass and volume of the waste. However, you are still producing CO2. Which is not as bad as methane in terms of green house gas, but is still not ideal.
I also found that landfills also produce biogas: https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/biomass/landfill-gas-and-biogas.php
Gasses such as methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) are considered “biogases”. These gases can be burned to produce electricity. Not only landfills are doing this, but also farms. The farms collect manure in “manure lagoons” and the methane captured from these ponds is used to produce electricty.
Biomass such as organic solid waste, crop residue, etc. can be converted to hydrogen and CO2: https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/hydrogen-production-biomass-gasification. The hydrogen could then be used for powering vehicles etc. This type of waste seems to be in abundance as well. This article (https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/01/f19/billion_ton_update_0.pdf) suggests that we will produce 1 billion tons of biomass year. This article was written in 2011!!!
The great part they claim is that there is low net green house gas produced since biomass uses CO2 during its growth process. This is very interesting.
So, we still don’t have a clear idea on the whole original question of building a manufacturing plant that uses renewables. But, maybe next time.