Uncategorized CleanTech Biofuels to Turn Dirty Diapers Into Ethanol

Published on June 6th, 2008 | by Nick Chambers

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CleanTech Biofuels to Turn Dirty Diapers Into Ethanol

June 6th, 2008 by  
 

CleanTech Garbage MashupCleanTech Biofuels is serious about turning garbage into fuel and sincerely hopes you’ll ignore the fact that your car’s fuel tank could be carrying what’s left of little Timmy’s soiled nappies.

The company has announced that it’s investigating suitable sites for commercial garbage-to-ethanol facilities — leading baby-owners everywhere to rejoice that they may never again have to feel guilty about throwing out enough diapers each day to put the elephant in this commercial to shame (and can I just be the first to say “WTF?” to that commercial).

Over the last month CleanTech Biofuels has formed major partnerships with Green Tech America and HFTA UCal Berkeley to purchase and develop novel equipment and methods they hope will make the production of ethanol from garbage a reality. CleanTech boasts that their technology can be used to produce ethanol locally using waste that would otherwise end up in landfills — potentially reducing waste disposed of in those landfills by as much as 90%. From a recent CleanTech press release:

It is estimated that Americans [each] produce 4.4 pounds of waste per day, or 229 million tons of trash annually nationwide. This waste represents a virtually endless source of cellulosic feedstock for the production of biofuels that potentially will be available to CleanTech at almost no cost, and in some locations at a profit.

The comment about receiving feedstock at a profit is what really intrigues me. As far as I know, there are no other types of ethanol production facilities that have the potential to receive feedstock at a profit. In fact, in most cases this is a major sticking point between making cellulosic ethanol at an acceptable price and seeing dreams go down the tubes.

CleanTech isn’t alone in the push to make ethanol from waste. BlueFire Ethanol (why do all these ethanol company names have to be two words shoved together but both still capitalized?) recently announced that it will be starting construction of a facility within weeks to convert landfill waste into ethanol, and Coskata Inc. is also constructing a demonstration facility that will use municipal waste as a feedstock.

It appears that these companies are on the path to becoming major competitors. They should just merge now and avoid the future pain. CleanFireCoskataBlueTech sound like a good name to you?

The great part about making fuel from garbage is that many communities already pay fees to garbage companies to accept trash – referred to as “tipping fees.” CleanTech is looking to site their facilities in communities with favorable tipping fees, allowing them to get paid before they even start selling the ethanol.

If CleanTech or BlueFire are successful, their ethanol could be the cheapest around — and you could relax knowing that those old Pokemon cards you finally threw out might actually be doing some good.

Green Options Network Posts Related to Ethanol and Energy from Garbage:

Image Credits: CleanTech Biofuels logo from CleanTech, garbage pile photo from Editor B’s Flickr photo library under Creative Commons


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  • Samurai Fox

    Sounds like an awesome idea for sure, but I wonder how clean the emissions would be? Depending on the type of waste used for fuel, wouldn’t it result in some pretty nasty pollution? I can’t imagine the smell being all too nice, either.

    If we can make the emissions clean and stink-proof, I’m totally down with the idea.

  • Samurai Fox

    Sounds like an awesome idea for sure, but I wonder how clean the emissions would be? Depending on the type of waste used for fuel, wouldn’t it result in some pretty nasty pollution? I can’t imagine the smell being all too nice, either.

    If we can make the emissions clean and stink-proof, I’m totally down with the idea.

  • James

    I would rather see more support for Changing World Technologies. They have a similar process that converts garbage to oil which can then be utilized to make both gas, jet and diesel fuel.

    http://www.changingworldtech.com/

  • James

    I would rather see more support for Changing World Technologies. They have a similar process that converts garbage to oil which can then be utilized to make both gas, jet and diesel fuel.

    http://www.changingworldtech.com/

  • Aurora Venture Communications Group is now featuring an online webcast audio interview with Mr. Michael Kime, COO of CleanTech Biofuels, Inc., who also Co-Wrote and Co-Produced the award winning feature documentary, “Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore”. The interview covers a range of topics including Mr. Kime’s personal insights into the conflux of environmental and political forces that are driving the market and the media’s interest in waste-to-energy technology. The interview can be found online at: http://www.avcg.net/CLTH.

    CEO of CleanTech Biofuels, Inc., Edward Hennessey, commented: “As ethanol production from food crops has exploded in recent years, there are increasing concerns over the amount of arable land once used for food production being displaced for energy crops. Additionally, concerns have been raised regarding the energy and pollution balance of other methods of ethanol production. Consequently our business model which leverages the existing infrastructure for municipal solid waste collection and disposal to collect biomass at a low or negative feedstock cost is beginning to receive the recognition we feel it deserves.”

    Hennessey further stated: “We believe that we will achieve profitability quickly relative to other cellulosic ethanol producers who must develop their infrastructure to collect and transport more expensive feedstocks such as switchgrass, wood waste, or corn stover. Moreover, biomass derived from garbage should not be subject to increases in commodity prices that plague producers currently manufacturing ethanol from corn.”

  • Aurora Venture Communications Group is now featuring an online webcast audio interview with Mr. Michael Kime, COO of CleanTech Biofuels, Inc., who also Co-Wrote and Co-Produced the award winning feature documentary, “Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore”. The interview covers a range of topics including Mr. Kime’s personal insights into the conflux of environmental and political forces that are driving the market and the media’s interest in waste-to-energy technology. The interview can be found online at: http://www.avcg.net/CLTH.

    CEO of CleanTech Biofuels, Inc., Edward Hennessey, commented: “As ethanol production from food crops has exploded in recent years, there are increasing concerns over the amount of arable land once used for food production being displaced for energy crops. Additionally, concerns have been raised regarding the energy and pollution balance of other methods of ethanol production. Consequently our business model which leverages the existing infrastructure for municipal solid waste collection and disposal to collect biomass at a low or negative feedstock cost is beginning to receive the recognition we feel it deserves.”

    Hennessey further stated: “We believe that we will achieve profitability quickly relative to other cellulosic ethanol producers who must develop their infrastructure to collect and transport more expensive feedstocks such as switchgrass, wood waste, or corn stover. Moreover, biomass derived from garbage should not be subject to increases in commodity prices that plague producers currently manufacturing ethanol from corn.”

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