waste water

Open Source Energy

In the 21st century, energy is a fundamental and universal need. It literally provides life and life-saving functions in healthcare and hygiene. It is a fundamental stepping stone to accessing information and advancing our civilization. Access to energy, like access to information should be a right, not a privilege awarded to a relative few. We can, today, provide this Open Source energy in a variety of ways and according to the principles of supply and demand, as more energy from new sources is harnessed, and supply is increased, the price of energy will decline and become more affordable to even the poorest people on Earth.

Looking ahead a decade or two, most energy produced will be “home-made”, whether it is the energy that moves your car, powers your lights and appliances or heats your house. It will be generated in panels on rooftops, collected from the heat of the sun and from the turning of wind turbines.

Another renewable source still yet to be tapped is energy created from the processing and destruction of regular household waste; kitchen scraps, yard waste, paper, plastic and even septic waste. Energy from these never ending “fuel” streams will be made literally at your home or at your neighborhood power station (see Benefits of Distributed vs. Centralized Power Generation).

Why generate energy from waste? Because it makes sense! It is environmentally friendly, cost-effective and already economically feasible with today’s technology. It makes no sense to bury these valuable resources in expensive landfills that are reaching their maximum capacities. When something does not make sense, it is going to eventually change.

Waste that can be converted into energy falls into 2 basic categories; “Soft and Wet Stuff” (“SWS” includes food scraps, grass clippings, fats and oils, septic waste, etc.) and “Hard and Dry Stuff” (“HDS” includes wood, paper, cardboard, plastic, etc.). Using naturally occurring bacteria in anaerobic digesters that eat the SWS to create biogas and using gasification to convert the HDS to syngas, provides a source of heat and fuel to generate electricity.

Anaerobic digestion (AD) has been used for centuries to make gas for heating and cooking. Gasification has been around for over a century. Obviously, the processes have been improved, but the science is basically the same. Technological advancements have increased the efficiencies and lowered the cost. Scaling these systems down to home size units is doable (in fact, our company is doing it).

Imagine throwing your trash into a modular unit that sits in your basement or backyard. In some cases, you might have to carry it down the street to the neighborhood system. The trash is sorted, ground up, and moved into the appropriate equipment. Not only does the trash go away, but the gas can be routed directly back into the home or to a generator to run your lights, or both. Excess heat from the generator is also captured and used.

The financial and environmental expense of collecting, transporting, sorting and burying the trash practically goes away. Your gas and power bills will plummet. Your home eventually might even disconnect from the grid entirely. You will no longer be at the mercy of the utility company’s billing cycle and potential power outages during storms. Decentralizing power production simultaneously reduces the threat to is production from criminals and terrorists. Open source energy is not a pipe dream. It is coming and it will change the world.

 

Waste-to-Energy Power Plants: Empowering New Global Entrepreneurs

 

“Utilities see a big opportunity in distributed energy resources, but are unsure of the best business models (by which to benefit)”quote from Industry Survey of Electric Utility Executives (FEB.2015)

The solution appears, to us, to be pretty obvious. Even the big utility companies agree that distributed energy production is going to usurp the centralized production model that has prevailed for the last century. It just makes sense to produce power closer to the customer and closer to the fuel sources. It also makes sense to have lots of smaller power plants than several large ones because it’s a safer, more reliable and more secure system overall.

Our proposed strategy to make this a win/win scenario is to have hundreds and eventually thousands of power plants; each individually owned and operated, either grid tied or stand-alone. To do this, means to have a standardized model of a power plant that can be built modularly and quickly at a cost driven down by economies of scale. These modules can be built in factories wherever the labor/capital/quality ratio is optimal. The modules can be built in perfect conditions in a plant and shipped to wherever they are needed and deployed with confidence to feed power to those who need it. It is a mass market approach to energy generation that we are convinced is the best solution to a multitude of problems.

TerraStar Energy has modules (gasifiers, anaerobic digesters, pyrolysis, biomass boilers) that readily convert waste to energy. That is; each module can work independently or in a “gang” or array that can be scaled up easily to meet the capacity requirements of a site or community. Converting waste to energy at a local level will extend the useful lives of landfills, reduce the amount of waste deposited onto fields, from where it can infiltrate rivers and lakes, and minimize (and even reverse) the amount of carbon entering the atmosphere.

Local power plants can be run like so many small businesses. Each employs local builders to construct the site and local staff to operate and maintain it once it is operational. Each uses local waste that is generated nearby and is hauled by local companies to the power plant. Jobs therefore are created when and where they are needed and are directly proportional to the volumes of waste that are being produced.

TerraStar Energy envisions a world full of well-paid owners and operators of power plants, each feeding the existing grid at wholesale rates that are individually market based. Operators will sell the power they produce at a wholesale rate that the utility companies can distribute and sell at a respectable retail rate.

Modular and scalable electricity generation combined with superior interconnection technology is going to enable a whole new class of business people into the energy market that never could have entered it before.

It is certainly the way of the future …. A way in which all stakeholders will win.