Waste To Energy Systems


Waste to Energy System Achieves Patent Status

Waste to Energy Systems CEO

Waste to Energy Systems CEO Richard Woods

As green and renewable energy forges forward as the next major energy trend, one company has recently established itself as a major contender. Waste to Energy Systems, LLC in Louisiana has recently filed a patent for it’s biomass gasification system, the bioHearth®. After six years of research and development, CEO Richard Woods decided it was time to lock in his waste to energy invention with a patent application. Woods’ system is definitely the path of the future.

biomass gasification process

Turning waste to energy!

What is biomass gasification you may ask? Gasification is the process of breaking down carbon-based materials (e.g. agriculture waste, tree trimmings, cardboard, etc) into a high-energy gas. This is accomplished by applying extreme temperatures in an oxygen-starved environment. The gasification process significantly reduces harmful emissions compared to either incineration or landfills. The resulting product is Syngas – a flexible, local fuel source that is significantly cleaner than fossil fuels. Essentially, it is the optimal way to turn waste to energy.

Waste to Energy Owner with Downdraft Gasification System

Richard working on one of the earlier versions of the bioHearth® downdraft gasificiation system.

Already popular in European countries where necessity was king, gasification systems are prevalent along with solar and wind energy. Woods’ goal was to take the concept of gasification and make it simpler and better. Woods’ motto is “solve the problem where it begins rather than an afterthought down the line.” The result is a small footprint, carbon neutral, and easily maintained waste to energy system that is peaking interest from Europe to Alaska and everything in between! To find out more, click here.

Biomass Gasification gets a Thumbs Up in Recent Study

Biomass Energy

Biomass gasification is quickly gaining popularity as companies like Waste to Energy Systems continue to make advancements. A recent article on Bioenergy News website discusses the benefits of this technology in their article “Global researchers give thumbs up to advanced biomass gasification.” The article discusses a recent report published by Energy & Environmental Science creating a case arguing that biomass gasification is “as a promising, viable and economically beneficial technology for fuel and energy.” It is thanks to advancements in biomass gasification such as fuel cleaning systems like the bioHearth’s gas cleaning system that now push this technology type into the viable category. The article points out that one of the major benefits of biomass gasification is the fact it does not rely on climate to function like hydro, wind and solar technologies. Gasification Carbon Neutral

Biomass can be sustainable and abundant as an energy source. If the biomass is gathered from sustainable sources, the entire cycle can be carbon neutral. According to the article, this means “these advantages make biomass energy one of the most widely explored research fields in energy and environmental science: the major driver is to exploit low-cost feedstocks, to increase process efficiency and to decrease installation and operational costs.” A renewed emphasis on the versatility of syngas is placed in this article and how it can be beneficial for creating a variety of products.

Overall, researchers find that biomass gasification will be a big player in the renewable energy market. According to one researcher, “With the right tools, approaches and advancements we can make sure that it is utilised in a cost-effective manner, with minimal social and environment impacts.”

The Future of Wind Power has Arrived


Renewable energy produced from the wind has garnered much attention and support in recent years but is often criticized for its low output and lack of reliability. But now a super power wind turbine has come along that may be just what the renewable energy industry needs. The MagLev wind turbine, which was first unveiled at the Wind Power Asia exhibition in Beijing, is expected take wind power technology to the next level with magnetic levitation.

Magnetic levitation is an extremely efficient system for wind energy. Here’s how it works: the vertically oriented blades of the wind turbine are suspended in the air above the base of the machine, replacing the need for ball bearings. The turbine uses “full-permanent” magnets, not electromagnets — therefore, it does not require electricty to run. The full-permanent magnet system employs neodymium (“rare earth”) magnets and there is no energy loss through friction. This also helps reduce maintenance costs and increases the lifespan of the generator.

Maglev wind turbines have several advantages over conventional wind turbines. For instance, they’re able to use winds with starting speeds as low as 1.5 meters per second (m/s). Also, they could operate in winds exceeding 40 m/s. Currently, the largest conventional wind turbines in the world produce only five megawatts of power. However, one large maglev wind turbine could generate one gigawatt of clean power, enough to supply energy to 750,000 homes. It would also increase generation capacity by 20% over conventional wind turbines and decrease operational costs by 50%. If that isn’t enough, the maglev wind turbines will be operational for about 500 years!

Construction began on the world’s largest production site for maglev wind turbines in central China on November 5, 2007. Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Technology has invested 400 million yuan in building this facility, which will produce maglev wind turbines with capacities ranging from 400 to 5,000 Watts. In the US, Arizona-based MagLev Wind Turbine Technologies will be manufacturing these turbines. Headed by long-time renewable energy researcher Ed Mazur, the company claims that it will be able to deliver clean power for less than one cent per kilowatt hour with this new technology. It also points out that building a single giant maglev wind turbine would reduce construction and maintenance costs and require much less land than hundreds of conventional turbines. The estimated cost of building this colossal structure is $53 million.

From www.inhabitat.com.

City Water Line Turbines Could Be the Next Source of Renewable Energy

Renewable energy could be coming from underground turbines in city water lines.

Renewable Energy is coming from unexpected sources like city water lines. A recent article from The Daily Good featured this new technology. An energy company in Portland recently developed a turbine in a pipe that can be placed in the existing lines to capture the energy of water moving thorough the pipes. The turbine spins which motives a generator on top of the pipe. As the video states, water and energy are closely tied. This type of renewable energy is a low impact technology that does not rely on the weather. The technology is known as the “Conduit 3 Hydroelectric Project”.

Projects like these are some of the up and coming technologies that will help change over the power source from fossil fuel to renewable. It is joining the ranks of other systems that are not weather dependent like biomass gasification systems. For the full article, click here.

Renewable Energy Boom in the Caribbean and Central America

Renewable Energy and the Caribbean Islands are a match made in heaven!

Renewable energy in the Caribbean

photo credit: energydigital.com

Renewable Energy is about to experience a boom in the Caribbean islands and Central America. After several forums held in the Bahamas, a positive outcome was finally reached. $10 million dollars in funding will be provided by the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the Clean Energy Finance Facility for the Caribbean and Central America (CEFF-CCA) in a joint venture to strengthen energy independence and economies in these regions. The announcement of the funding was officially released by US Secretary of State John Kerry This is one of many initiatives headed by the USTDA whose goal is to assist in energy development in developing and middle-income countries. Efforts like these further prove that renewable energy systems like the bioHearth downdraft gasification system will only become more important as the push for alternative and sustainable energy grows.

Source: https://www.ustda.gov/program/sectors/renewable-energy

Secret to Affordable Renewable Energy

Affordable renewable energy may be easier than previously thought.

Affordable Renewable Energy- Infrastructure Updates

Affordable renewable energy? Sounds like a contradictory statement, right? However, renewable energy is slowly overcoming its reputation of being complicated and expensive. As alternative energy systems like solar panels, wind turbines and biomass gasification systems gain momentum in replacing fossil fuels, the world is slowly realizing that the biggest cost associated with using renewable energy systems is connecting it into the aged, out of date energy infrastructure of the U.S. and other countries around the world.

Solar panels are shown on top of a Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing-funded (MASH) housing complex in National City, California November 19, 2015. Picture taken November 19. To match Insight USA-SOLAR/MINORITIES REUTERS/Mike Blake

Huffington Post recently published an article addressing this issue. It focuses on how investing into the infrastructure could make switching to renewable energy much easier and reduce its cost by as much as 30%. In many countries, renewable energy is as affordable as fossil fuels. The issue that stops a lot of companies from investing is renewable energy requires more investment up front. The funding for renewable energy projects already exists through funding from entities like the World Bank, and organizations like these can help eliminate the risk of updating the infrastructure to be green energy friendly. Last year alone, $329 billion dollars were invested in renewable energy projects. However, that is small in comparison to the $500 billion dollars given to subsidizing fossil fuels. Society needs to switch their mindset and commit to putting the work into updating the infrastructure that severely need updating anyway and saying goodbye to conventional fossil fuels.

With the next generation coming into adulthood, it is no longer a question of if sustainable alternative energy systems are needed but instead the question is why are we not switching over as quickly as possible. Climate change to this next generation is a fact and no longer needs to be proven to them.

For the full Huffington Post article please click here.

Could the U.S. Power Grid be Stopping the Success of Alternative Energy?

Blogger’s Note: The question is starting to arise that with all the technological advances in renewable and alternative energy systems why is the US not on the same level as some of these European countries that are running a high percentage of their daily energy use off of these types of systems? One big reason is the fact that the U.S. power grid is not ready to handle these types of technologies, creating a huge bottleneck in the ability for companies to switch to a greener power source. A recent article from sciencemag.org discusses this need for an updated grid and the immediate benefits the nation would see if the investment was made. 

From “Better Power Lines would help U.S. supercharge renewable energy, study suggest”:

power lines
Analysts have long argued that nations aiming to use wind and solar power to curb emissions from fossil fuel burning would first have to invest heavily in new technologies to store electricity produced by these intermittent sources—after all, the sun isn’t always shining and the wind isn’t always blowing. But a study out today suggests that the United States could, at least in theory, use new high-voltage power lines to move renewable power across the nation, and essentially eliminate the need to add new storage capacity.

This improved national grid, based on existing technologies, could enable utilities to cut power-sector carbon dioxide emissions 80% from 1990 levels by 2030 without boosting power prices, researchers report today in Nature Climate Change.

The findings come on the heels of the Paris climate agreement, in which the United States pledged to cut its national emissions by up to 28% from 2005 levels by 2025. About 40% of U.S. emissions come from the power sector, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released rules that task states with reducing power-sector emissions. States can choose from a menu of strategies, EPA says, such as boosting renewable energy use.

But some observers wonder whether the U.S. power grid can rise to the renewables challenge.The grid is divided into several regional grids or “interconnections,” which contain smaller subdivisions. Because regions experience both sunless and windless periods, energy planners and experts have long believed that a wind- and solar-dominated grid would need to store some power for later use. The problem is that large-scale storage technologies haven’t been commercially realistic.

Alex MacDonald, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington, D.C., researcher, was familiar with that problem. But he realized that researchers hadn’t explored all the potential solutions. For instance, meteorological data suggest that wind is always blowing somewhere in the United States, MacDonald says. So, although renewable energy output might be intermittent on a regional scale, it would have a more constant flow at a national scale. MacDonald wondered whether the U.S. grid might be able to overcome intermittency problems if it added high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC) transmission lines—which suffer less energy loss than do traditional alternating-current transmission lines—to connect regional grids, so that power could be moved to where it was needed.

MacDonald, Christopher Clack of NOAA and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and other colleagues wanted to test this idea. They built a computer model to analyze different configurations of a weblike network of interregional HVDC lines plus renewable energy installations. The model divides the United States into a grid of 152,000 squares that are assigned to regional grids. In order for the program to evaluate the potential for solar and wind power in each square, the researchers inputted data on sunlight and wind speeds between 2006 and 2008 (but the program excluded areas, such as national parks and mountain slopes, that typically can’t host windmills or solar panels). Then, using forecasts for power prices and demand, the program could calculate where it would be economical to build wind and solar projects, and move renewable power from region to region. Finally, the researchers told their program to find the lowest-cost way to achieve certain emissions cuts while still meeting future power demand.

By 2030, with HVDC lines meeting at 32 nodes between regional grids, the United States could add enough wind and solar power to cut power sector emissions by up to 80% from 1990 levels, the researchers concluded. And they calculated that power prices would be lower, on average, than a business-as-usual scenario. And “these results are the minimum of what we could get to,” MacDonald tells ScienceInsider, explaining that the researchers used very cautious assumptions.

Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, energy researcher Jonathan Koomey, who wasn’t involved in the work, agrees that the NOAA team’s assumptions are generally cautious. U.S. power demand may rise less than the team’s projections, for instance, as a result of new energy-efficiency measures. And the team gets its rosy results even though it didn’t add in the health and environmental costs of the pollution created by burning fossil fuels. But Koomey also offers major caveat: The study doesn’t consider the potential for electricity demand to rise more than expected should electric vehicles catch on, he notes. If that happened, the United States would need more renewable projects to achieve the same emissions cuts.

The bigger hurdle to realizing the study’s vision of a national grid, however, may be persuading policymakers, utilities investors, and landowners that it’s a good idea, says Susan Tierney, a former U.S. assistant secretary of energy under President Clinton who’s currently an energy consultant at the Analysis Group in Boston. “The problem is not rooted in technology, but rather in the way that the U.S. power system is organized legally, politically, economically, and culturally,” she says. Utilities and politicians are sometimes loath to depend on distant power producers, for example, and communities often fight the construction of large power lines.

Koomey notes that the researchers aren’t necessarily advocating a totally storage-free, national system or trying to bash storage technology. “They’re just saying, ‘Let’s just explore a system without storage and see if it’s possible.’” The answer, he says, is that it’s more possible than many people might think.

Solar Powered Classrooms Offer Rural African Children a Chance

Blogger’s Note: What better way to use alternative energy technology than to brighten the future of a child. That is exactly what a collaboration of organizations is doing. They developed the Digi-Truck. Not only is it recycling old shipping containers but it is offering children in rural Africa an opportunity to peer into a world of technology that they might have never been exposed to. A recent article from offgridquest.com discusses how this technology is bringing a much brighter future to these rural communities. 

Shipping container-turned-digital-classroom, this vehicle helps to educate African children in impoverished areas. The exclusively solar-powered, mobile and completely independent classroom is geared towards increasing accessibility to education and connectivity across Africa,” said Shin. “It is designed specifically for use in remote areas with limited or no access to electricity.

In this digital day and age, one can only sigh in disbelief that digital literacy is inaccessible to children in Africa, particularly the remote areas where infrastructure is lacking. Close the Gap, in partnership with Arrow Electronics and Hoops for Hope, made the Digi-Truck, a solar-powered truck that serves as a digital classroom to teach students about digital literacy.

The Digi-Truck aims to combat two issues. The first is the absence of electricity and communication lines in the remote areas. The solution? Putting solar panels on top of the truck that will provide several days of power for the classroom. The other issue is being able to teach the kids how to use digital technology. Hence, the truck is equipped with 20 laptops, a LED screen, two routers and a printer that will give the kids hands-on experience. Eighteen students can be accommodated at a time.

Moreover, the beauty of the Digi-Truck is its mobility. In fact, the Digi-Truck is actually made of a 40 ft. shipping container put on top of a trailer. This way, the truck can go from one remote area to another without transferring the parts of the digital classroom piece-by-piece. It is designed with insulation, bolted window shutters, LED lighting and steel doors. Additionally, if there’s no school that day, the truck can also double as a health center or a cyber café.

The Digi-Truck project was launched in January 2014 and has served different rural communities in Africa. It is currently in the Village of Rau in the Kilimanjaro Region where it provides a digital learning environment for 80 orphans from the Neema International-supported Tuleeni orphanage. By 2016, the Digi-Truck will move to a new location. However, all current equipment will be donated to the Tuleeni orphanage and the truck will be supplied anew.

Oliver Vanden Eynde, Founder of Close the Gap said:

“More than 75 percent of the population in Africa live in rural communities where infrastructure presents a huge barrier. Modern information and communication technologies, coupled with solar-powered solutions like the DigiTruck, are able to help bridge this digital divide and to bring quality training and education to remote communities.”

It’s hard not to admire the efforts of these organizations to bridge the gap and still deliver education to children who need it.


Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy

Blogger’s Note: Scientists are quickly discovering that with all the technological advances in the world are leaving people in a deficit of nature exposure. Recent studies have shown that dirt contains microbes that act as an antidepressant. A recent article from Gardening Know How discussed this topic and how dirt scientifically acts as an antidepressant. So next time you are feeling down, the best remedy could be going out, channeling your inner child and playing in the dirt. 


Prozac may not be the only way to get rid of your serious blues. Soil microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain and are without side effects and chemical dependency potential. Learn how to harness the natural antidepressant in soil and make yourself happier and healthier. Read on to see how dirt makes you happy.

Natural remedies have been around for untold centuries. These natural remedies included cures for almost any physical ailment as well as mental and emotional afflictions. Ancient healers may not have known why something worked but simply that it did. Modern scientists have unraveled the why of many medicinal plants and practices but only recently are they finding remedies that were previously unknown and yet, still a part of the natural life cycle. Soil microbes and human health now have a positive link which has been studied and found to be verifiable.

Soil Microbes and Human Health

Did you know that there’s a natural antidepressant in soil? It’s true. Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. Studies were conducted on cancer patients and they reported a better quality of life and less stress.

Lack of serotonin has been linked to depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar problems. The bacterium appears to be a natural antidepressant in soil and has no adverse health effects. These antidepressant microbes in soil may be as easy to use as just playing in the dirt.

Most avid gardeners will tell you that their landscape is their “happy place” and the actual physical act of gardening is a stress reducer and mood lifter. The fact that there is some science behind it adds additional credibility to these garden addicts’ claims. The presence of a soil bacteria antidepressant is not a surprise to many of us who have experienced the phenomenon ourselves. Backing it up with science is fascinating, but not shocking, to the happy gardener. Mycobacterium antidepressant microbes in soil are also being investigated for improving cognitive function, Crohn’s disease and even rheumatoid arthritis.

How Dirt Makes You Happy

Antidepressant microbes in soil cause cytokine levels to rise, which results in the production of higher levels of serotonin. The bacterium was tested both by injection and ingestion on rats and the results were increased cognitive ability, lower stress and better concentration to tasks than a control group.

Gardeners inhale the bacteria, have topical contact with it and get it into their bloodstreams when there is a cut or other pathway for infection. The natural effects of the soil bacteria antidepressant can be felt for up to 3 weeks if the experiments with rats are any indication. So get out and play in the dirt and improve your mood and your life.

EPA Addresses Potential of Biomass

Blogger’s Note: The Clean Power Plan was implemented on August 3, 2015 by the EPA. The Clean Power Plan finalized new rules, or standards, that will reduce carbon emissions from power plants for the first time. As a result, new focus is being placed on biomass as a fuel source for renewable energy systems like biomass gasification . Recently, the EPA addressed the potential of biomass and is planning a workshop on land and forest management for responsible biomass production. Biomass Magazine recently published an article on this attention and workshop in their article “EPA addresses biomass in Clean Power Plan, plans workshop”.

Janet McCabe, U.S. EPA acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, has published a blog that addresses the potential role of biomass in the Clean Power Plan, and announced that the EPA will hold a workshop on the topic early next year.

Since the Clean Power Plan was issued, states and stakeholders have shown a strong interest in the role of biomass to help hit targets, McCabe said, and many states are seeking to understand how to craft plans that will be federally approvable under the final CPP guidelines. “To respond to this interest and to support state and stakeholder efforts to incorporate bioenergy in their CPP plans, we will be holding a public workshop in early 2016 for stakeholders to share their successes, experiences and approaches to deploying biomass in ways that have been, and can be, carbon beneficial,” McCabe wrote. “Biomass derived from land that is managed under programs that ensure the long-term maintenance of healthy forests can serve as an integral part of a broader forestry-based climate strategy, so the CPP expressly includes bioenergy as an option for states and utilities in CPP compliance.  It reflects the fact that, in many cases, biomass and bioenergy products in the power system can be an integral part of state programs and foster responsible land management and renewable energy.”

In the blog, McCabe emphasizes state flexibility as being a key component of the CPP, and points out that many already have expertise in sound carbon- and GHG-beneficial forestry and land management practices. “The CPP’s flexibility will give states the ability to build in approaches to biomass and bioenergy unique to their forests and land management programs and policies.  It recognizes the importance of forests and other lands for climate resilience—in addition to the carbon benefits of biomass—fostered by a variety of land use policies, renewable energy incentives and standards, and GHG strategies.”

The final CPP creates a pathway for states to use biomass as part of their plans to meet their emission reduction guidelines, according to McCabe. She said EPA expects many states to include biomass as a component in their state plans. “We look forward to reviewing plans that incorporate well-developed forestry and other land management programs producing biomass that can qualify under the guidelines laid out in the CPP, and we are confident that the CPP offers sufficient lead time and flexibility for states to develop approvable programs.”

Key goals of the workshop, the date of which was not announced, will be to provide an opportunity for states with well-developed forestry and land management practices to share their experiences, and to “foster a constructive dialogue about how states can best include biomass in their compliance plans if that is a path they choose to follow.”

McCabe added that the workshop will showcase the constructive compliance approaches many states are already implementing or developing, and as the first step to prepare for the event, EPA will be reaching out to key stakeholders to get ideas on the agenda.