AutoblogGreen has an article today stating that University of California Riverside, in parnership with a private company, have created a new process that can turn many of society's waste products into diesel fuel, including sewage sludge, waste wood products, agricultural waste, trash and plastics.
Diesel engines have long been able to burn a surprising variety of compounds as fuel, but this new process has more promise than most. First, the items are turned into a gas, then that gas is converted into a liquid fuel.
This process is supposed to be less costly, more efficient and faster than previous gassification efforts.
The end result is that a gallon of diesel can be created for about $1 U.S. per gallon. Retail prices would obviously be higher, but a $2/gallon price doesn't seem out of the question, making it very competitive with gasoline today.
I have two big questions. One is -- what waste gases come out of the gasification process and just filter out into the atmosphere? It seems like there would be a lot. And two - is the diesel fuel that results high quality, or would it have a lot of impurities in it that would damage or clog engines?
Still, this is another positive step towards energy efficiency and actually turning our trash problem into an advantage. I love ideas that take a systems view of our entire society and our planet.