Gizmag pays a visit to the city of Edmonton's new Waste-to-Biofuels and Chemicals Facility
The process begins with garbage trucks dumping their loads of municipal solid waste on the tipping floor at the Integrated Processing and Transfer Facility
That waste is scooped up and placed on a conveyor belt
It's conveyed to another area where it's mechanically and manually sorted into compostable and non-compostable materials
While the compostable material heads off to the city's Composting Facility, the non-compostable material is conveyed to the next area
There, it's made into what's known as Refuse Derived Fuel, or RDF
The RDF is a mixture of the non-compostable garbage ...
... soiled plastics and paper goods that aren't fit for recycling ...
... plus wood chips and residual materials from the recycling facility
Things like rocks and bits of metal are filtered out of the mixture, and it's then shredded into RDF, also known as "garbage fluff"
The RDF is conveyed from the Integrated Processing and Transfer Facility, to the Waste-to-Biofuels and Chemicals Facility
There, it's heated to break its chemical bonds, ultimately resulting in the production of methanol, ethanol, and other chemical products
Thanks to its extensive composting and recycling facilities, the city of Edmonton, Canada is already diverting approximately 60 percent of its municipal waste from the landfill. That figure is expected to rise to 90 percent, however, once the city's new Waste-to-Biofuels and Chemicals Facility starts converting garbage (that can't be composted or recycled) into methanol and ethanol. It's the world's first such plant to operate on an industrial scale, and we recently got a guided tour of the place.
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