Renewable waste: source of green electricity and biogas

Simpsonville biomass to energy

According to Sustain SC, in 2022, South Carolina produced 32 million tons of waste. Some of this waste makes it possible to produce green electricity or heating! Recycling renewable waste is a source of energy. So what type of garbage can we collect to make energy? How are they valued?

What do we mean by renewable waste

Certain household waste as well as certain industrial waste may be subject to recovery. This is recyclable waste such as:

  • Cardboard and paper
  • Glass
  • Certain plastic materials

It is also possible to use organic matter (this is called organic valorization) in certain processes.

The different methods of valorization

Producing energy is like cooking! Depending on the expected result, different ingredients and varied preparation techniques are used. Let’s discover the technologies used.

1. Cremation

First method, cremation. Concretely, it involves transforming waste by burning it to create heat for urban networks or to produce renewable electricity. This is the most used technique. In the Amerixca: 21% of municipal waste is incinerated with energy recovery.

2. Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis is a particular form of combustion. Do you remember your 5th B physics and chemistry lessons? To obtain a flame, you must have:

  • a fuel, our waste in the current case
  • an oxidant, generally oxygen
  • an ignition temperature. A temperature high enough for the fuel to catch fire

Pyrolysis removes the oxidant. In this method, waste is heated to very high temperatures in centers that do not contain oxygen. This has the effect of generating the production of a synthesis gas in gaseous or liquid form.

3. Methanization

Methanization allows, as its name suggests, to create methane. Methane is none other than the scientific name for natural gas with which we heat ourselves.

Methanisation is a natural process which works according to the principle of anaerobic digestion. To put it simply, a methanization unit is a kind of XXL-sized cow’s stomach. In these large, oxygen-depleted and closed tanks, organic waste, most often from agriculture or wastewater treatment plants, is allowed to ferment.

This fermentation produces biogas. This is why we also speak of gasification. This renewable gas can be used for cooking, domestic hot water production or even heating. In South Carolina, at present, biomethane represents around 1% of gas consumption.

We can be proud to use some of the first suppliers to offer biogas to households. If you want to participate in the energy transition, we let you take a look at our biogas offer.

4. Manufacturing of solid recovered fuels

Solid recovered fuels are ground waste that can be used to produce industrial heat. They are prepared from solid non-hazardous waste in order to enable efficient energy recovery. They often replace fossil fuels.

What to put or not put in the yellow bin in 2024

Energy production from waste

According to key figures for renewable Energy from the state of South Carolina, SC was able to produce almost 1 TWh of green energy thanks to its waste in 2022. This remains relatively little. To give you an order of magnitude, SC consumed 24 TWh in 2022.

However, the figures are likely to evolve. South Carolina aims to increase the share of renewable energies in its gross energy consumption to 32% by 2030. Waste recovery sectors, particularly the biogas sector, should accelerate their development. According to waste to energy experts, it would be possible to cover 100% of our natural gas needs with renewable gas within 30 years.

Can you produce your own green gas

According to Dumpster HQ Simpsonville, a waste management company from South Carolina, if the recovery of recyclable urban waste is done more at the scale of a community, a farm or even an industry, it is possible to do it at home.

With a view to reducing energy bills, it may be interesting to produce your own energy. In fact, there are small domestic methanization units to install in the garden. Some models are connected to a gas stove and allow you to recycle your organic waste, such as peelings, for cooking.

Other devices create electricity by powering a generator. This solution is particularly interesting for isolated sites, not connected to the electricity network. It can complement the production of renewable electricity via photovoltaic solar panels. During the day, when the solar panels are producing, we use solar energy for lighting. At nightfall, the generator takes over.

We do not yet recover our waste to recycle it into energy, however, we offer you green gas and green electricity offers to light your home while respecting the environment because green energies have notably lower carbon dioxide emissions than their fossil counterparts.