Leaching the value from waste (Day 236)

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog. Christmas is now over three weeks away, but before we leave the festivities behind for another year I just wanted to make an observation about waste during this indulgent celebration.

A few year’s ago I read a story in Engineering and Technology magazine which suggested the UK consumes around 10 million turkeys, 370 million mince pies, 25 million Christmas puddings, drink 250 million pints of beer and open 35 million bottles of wine.

However, according to WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), the food and drink wasted in the UK increases by a massive 80 per cent over the Christmas period, with a staggering 230,000 tonnes of food, worth £275 million (US$400 million), is binned during the festive season.

The only good news about waste on this scale is that much of it can be used for the production of energy.

Biofuel plant
Biofuel plant

Chemical engineers have played a central role in the development of energy from waste processes including anaerobic digestion and biogas production.

Recent research shows that municipal solid waste (MSW) in China has increased and in 2010 exceeded 350 Mt (equivalent to 440 kg per person).

Continue reading Leaching the value from waste (Day 236)

Haute Couture Energy (Day 178)

If you enjoy change, it’s always exciting when there’s the chance to re-write the rules. How we work, shop, meet people, communicate, play and even be entertained has all changed dramatically in recent years as a result of the internet and technology.

Where we can do these things has changed as well – just about anywhere.

However, one of the great limiters is energy and the opportunity to re-charge some of the fantastic devices we use.

There are some exciting developments such as the Upp is a personal energy device based on hydrogen fuel cell technology that gives instant energy anytime, anywhere to portable electronic devices such as smartphones and MP3 players via USB.

How good is it? Well, Apple has become the first retailer in the UK to sell it. Not a bad recommendation!

Continue reading Haute Couture Energy (Day 178)