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Production of Electricity Through Trash

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        Currently, the world is facing a huge demand for electricity and companies are not able to produce enough to meet that demand. That is why we face power cuts. The reason why companies are not able to keep up with the demand is that we are running out of non-renewable sources. Our main source, oil, will run out in the next 50 years. Soon we will have to change to renewable sources. There are many renewable sources that we could depend on but they all have drawbacks. The advantage of using renewable sources is that they do not pollute the environment.

        Converting trash into electricity is a brilliant idea as it solves many problems at once. It helps us reduce pollution, the amount of land taken up by landfills and also the energy shortage. It is one of the simplest ways to recycle trash and lots people can help by giving their trash.

Types of Trash

        Trash is anything that we discard or no longer have any use for. There are many types of trash and they are mainly categorized into these 5 types.

  1. Biodegradable waste: This includes things like kitchen waste, food, vegetable peelings and paper.
  2. Recyclable materials: Paper is also included into this group but other non-biodegradable items such as plastic, glass and metals fall into this.
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GEM (Green Energy Machine)image00.jpg

Even though those methods work well, scientists and energy companies are trying to come up with better methods and machines to create energy through trash. They might be researching on how to maximize the amount of trash used in the production and also to maximize the efficiency. They would also try to leave zero carbon foot print.

        A company called IST Energy, has been doing this. They have developed a shipping container size machine that turns your building’s trash into energy. The machine is called the Green Energy Machine (GEM). It is currently the best method used to produce electricity through trash.  It can use anything to produce energy except for metal and glass as they have no energy content. It can convert upto 95% of the waste into energy and can process 3 tons of trash every day. The remaining 5% come out as ash. The machine can produce about 120 kW of electricity and double of that through 3 tons of trash.image01.jpg

        The machine then removes any moisture and creates pellets. The pellets are then put into a gasifier and a synthetic gas or producer gas is generated and mainly consists of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. That gas is stored and used for making electricity and gas.

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Experts say that to have an economically practical operation, incinerators have to burn at least 1000 tons of garbage a day. The cost to build such a facility is approximately $100 million. The operation costs to maintain the equipment especially the pollution control are too high.


        The concept of energy through trash is very innovative and ground breaking. It has many advantages mainly to the environment but there are also disadvantages. The conventional methods produce harmful gases and substances and that is why it is not wise to use them anymore. I personally think that the best method is the GEM because it has the least negative impact on the environment and society despite its limitations.


LaMonica, Martin. "Turn Trash into Energy in Your Office Parking Lot | Green Tech - CNET News." Technology News - CNET News. CNET News. Web. 17 Sept. 2011. <http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10140500-54.html>.

"Negative Impacts of Incineration-based Waste-to-Energy Technology." Alternative Energy News. Web. 17 Sept. 2011. <http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/negative-impacts-waste-to-energy/>.

"Waste as a Renewable Energy Source." Alternative Energy News. Web. 17 Sept. 2011. <http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/waste-renewable-energy-source/>.

"Municipal Waste and Landfills - An Overview of Municipal Waste and Landfills."Geography Home Page - Geography at About.com. Web. 21 Sept. 2011. <http://geography.about.com/od/globalproblemsandissues/a/municipalwastelandfills.htm>.

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