Turning waste into energy has usually meant incineration – that is, burning our trash. But this method has major environmental drawbacks. Gasification could be a better alternative. It’s an old technology that proponents hope to repurpose as a cleaner and more economical waste-to-energy solution, and now a number of companies in this space say they’re on the verge of commercialization and expansion.
We produce over 2 billion tons of waste per year, a number that’s expected to grow by 70% by 2050. We’ve long sought ways to turn all this waste into energy, but this has usually meant incineration – that is, burning our trash – a method that many environmentalists say is far too polluting.
A better solution may lie in gasification, an old technology that advocates are trying to repurpose as a way to deal with our waste. Gasification companies don’t burn trash, instead they turn into a synthetic gas, in a process they say is both economical and eco-friendly.