Plasma Technology Turns Trash into Gas

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An Atlanta, GA-based company called Geoplasma is using trash to provide power to 50,000 homes in Florida. The company’s plasma refuse plant, which should be online by 2011, is a first for the United States. It will process 1,500 tons of garbage each day and send 60 MW of power to the grid.

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Geoplasma’s technology works by blasting garbage with a stream of plasma (superheated gas). The trash is vaporized into pressurized gas that spins a turbine to create electricity.

Plasma garbage disposal has a number of advantages—emissions are lower than with normal incineration, and it reduces both methane release and landfill volume. Additionally, power prices are projected to be the same as with electricity generated from natural gas.

Many small plasma plants already exist in other parts of the world, so expect Geoplasma’s inaugural US plant to be the first of many.

Photo Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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