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Biogas

Scientists have succeeded in converting plant waste to gasoline (Photo: Shutterstock)

By now, most people have at least a passing knowledge of biodiesel – it's diesel fuel made from plant or animal oils, as opposed to the more traditional and less eco-friendly petroleum. While it's a good choice for people with diesel-powered vehicles, those of us with gas-burning cars haven't been able to get in on the action ... although that may be about to change.  Read More

Illuminated model of John Lin's Chinese House-for-all-Seasons (Photo: John Lin)

China has set itself the goal of transforming half of its rural population of 700 million people into productive, comfortable members of urban conglomerations in the next three decades. Thus far, the process has moved along with a great deal of work for civil and mechanical engineers and the construction industry, but very little role for architects in the generically styled concrete and brick urban buildings. Award-winning architect at the University of Hong Kong John Lin and his associates believe that this process of urbanization also calls for a flexible approach to house design in rural areas. The result is a project that looks at the role of the stereotypic village house and attempts to propose a prototype which reaches toward contemporary living styles while respecting the functionality and traditions of the past.  Read More

The pilot plant in Stuttgart that makes biogas out of waste from wholesale markets (Photo:...

Some readers might remember the Mr. Fusion unit in Back to the Future that Doc Brown fills with household garbage, including a banana peel and some beer, to power the iconic time-traveling DeLorean. While we're still some way from such direct means of running our cars on table scraps, researchers at Fraunhofer have developed a pilot plant that ferments the waste from wholesale fruit and veg markets, cafeterias and canteens to make methane, which can be used to power vehicles.  Read More

The Loowatt system allows human waste to be extracted from special toilets, and placed in ...

Of all the things that people traditionally discard, one that most of us likely think the least about repurposing is human feces and urine. Sure, we recycle our plastic and paper, and compost our fruits and veggies, but ... that stuff? Actually, there are various worldwide projects aimed at using municipal raw sewage for things such as fertilizer or a power source. While those projects only come into play once the waste has been flushed, however, the UK’s Loowatt system gets users involved from the bottom up (sorry), collecting waste directly from the toilet and using it to create biogas and fertilizer.  Read More

The VTT solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system prototype is being field tested

VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland, is currently field testing a prototype large-scale solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) that the organization hopes will provide efficient, cheap grid power from natural gas and biogas. The VTT system is unique in that it uses a single 10 kW planar SOFC stack to produce a year’s worth of electricity for a typical apartment block.  Read More

Before construction begins, the team have to dig out layers and layers of garbage

It's estimated that around 2.6 billion people around the world make do without any sanitation, including more than 10 million in the slums of Kenya. Still more have to use thinly disguised holes in the ground. A group of MIT students have joined forces to try and create a sustainable toilet solution for those in need. They've developed a low cost, modular sanitation solution which would be operated and maintained by locals and the waste transported to nearby processing plants. Biogas produced from the waste will be used to create electricity and what's left of the human waste turned into fertilizer.  Read More

The new biogas plant, sited next to the Didcot sewage works in Oxfordshire, has been offic...

The biomethane project that turns human waste into green gas that we featured in May has now gone live. The project is now converting the treated sewage of 14 million Thames Water customers into clean, green gas and is pumping that gas into people's homes.  Read More

British Gas in the UK has announced a new biogas pilot scheme (Image: butkaj / Flickr, CC ...

It's good to see a national gas company taking the lead in renewable energy. British Gas in the UK has announced a new pilot scheme with Thames Water and Scotia Gas Networks to build a plant that will clean biomethane gas harvested from human waste and inject it back into the grid for use in kitchens and heating.  Read More

Daniel Yar Hamidi CEO of Inicia, left, and professor Mohammad Taherzadeh with samples of t...

While studying the possibilities of waste recycling, researchers at a Swedish university have come up with an unlikely suspect for an alternative fuel source - the orange. Citrus waste is usually a complete write-off in the compost game because it contains an antibacterial substance which slows its breakdown, but the research team has discovered that these acidic skins have more uses than they receive credit for.  Read More

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