Feb 10, 2007

that name again is Mr. Fusion

A year ago, the future of trash-to-power was bright. Today, it's brighter still, thanks to an invention called "Mr. Fusion."
Both of the resulting fuels—ethanol and gas—are then burned in a standard diesel engine to generate electricity. Of the 150 amps this generator can crank out, the refinery's internal workings only require 13 amps or so, and the only waste produced is a fine ash remaining from the gasification process that needs to be removed every 48 hours. "It just gets evacuated in the same process as the waste would have," says Warner, a former infantryman. "Except now you have one thirtieth of the problem."

The prototype at Purdue University cost $950,000 to build, most of which came from the Army. More tests and demonstrations are in the waste refinery's future and the engineers are optimistic that it may be capable of achieving even greater efficiency—reducing diesel requirements to as low as one or two percent of the fuel mix. "There's a lot more energy in there," Warner says. "[Plastic] is just solidified petroleum."
Recycling plastics is expensive and hogs energy. Burning them to make electrojuice sounds like a great idea.

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