Recycling and disposal of solid wastes; industrial, agricultural, domestic. Yen TF, ed. Ann Arbor, MI: Ann Arbor Science Publishers, 1974 Jan; :43-99
The United States has begun to consume far greater amounts of gas and oil than can be produced domestically; it has also begun to produce far greater quantities of organic solid wastes than can be consumed by landfills and other conventional methods of disposal. This chapter deals with some efforts now being made to help alleviate these two critical problems simultaneously: the so-called energy crisis and pollution due to solid wastes. Simply put, organic solid wastes would be transformed to convenient forms of clean energy. A rather large book could be written on all the present and planned efforts to solve the growing problems of solid wastes, and a veritable flood of articles have appeared on the energy crisis. This chapter, however, will confine itself to three methods for obtaining energy from organic solid wastes; although we shall emphasize the first process discussed, all three are important and may have different application. The processes are (1) the conversion of wastes to low-sulfur fuel oil by treatment with carbon monoxide (or synthesis gas) and water, (2) the conversion of these wastes to pipeline gas by hydrogasification, and (3) the pyrolysis of organic wastes to yield gas, char, and oil--conversion of wastes by these three processes was pioneered at the Pittsburgh Energy Research Center (PERC) of the Bureau of Mines, U.S. Department of the Interior. requirements of relevancy; in fact, the Bureau has been besieged by students (high school to graduate school), by industry, and by state, federal, and foreign government agencies, all desiring to learn about these novel approaches to today's headline problems. There is a strong feeling that these examples of synergetic recycling are but among the first of many similar solutions to apparent confrontations between use of our resources, an increasing rate of growth and the needs of the environment.