The Race for Trash to Energy
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|Tafline Laylin||August 10th 2012|
There are nearly 8 million people crammed into Israel and most of them like a little A/C in the summer. But only 74, 520 families separate their organic and inorganic waste. What does that have to do with anything, you ask?
Well, it turns out that the Ministry of Environment has recently committed just over USD17 million to help biogas innovators turn organic waste into energy within the next three years. Which means that if more families make the effort to donate their organic waste, then the country can produce more energy to power their homes and appliances.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Israel has already invested about $250,000 to catalyze a nation-wide recycling initiative, which includes creating awareness of the importance of recycling, building recycling facilities, and providing incentives for all stakeholders to turn trash into treasures.
But this new commitment from the Ministry of Environment sends the strongest signal yet that Israel is serious about not only cutting down waste, but re-using it in constructive ways. Given its constant energy-insecurity, which its new natural gas fields can’t alleviate alone, this is a very smart move.
So how does it work?
New factories will house anaerobic digestive facilities that will accelerate the breakdown of organic waste. That process releases methane gas as a byproduct, which can then be harvested and converted to electricity.
We’ve seen biogas used on a small scale and at the Ariel Sharon Park in Israel (formerly the Hiria municipal dump) but this is the first large-scale, government-funded biogas initiative we’ve seen. The Ministry of Environment has also teamed up with the Ministry of Interior in order to hasten the planning process associated with the country’s Master Plan for Waste Treatment. Israel has finally declared war on waste. It’s about time!
Tafline Laylin writes for Gren Prophet, from where this article is adapted.