Ever since we, as a species, found out that we were polluting the planet, largely due to the extensive use of fossil fuels, we’ve assigned scientists to go out of their way to find or create environmentally friendly alternatives. So we’ve seen scientists get ethanol from corn or biohydrogen from algae and even biodiesel from animal and vegetable fats. And now, there’s a Spanish company named Ingelia that has started creating the most sustainable version of alternative fuel, which stems from sewage.
The company takes all kinds of waste that humans produced, like compost and sewage, and turn it into a new material named ‘biochar’, which can generate an energy that’s similar to the one produced by coal. However, the advantage here is that there are very little greenhouse gasses being produced in the process, and there is absolutely no carbon dioxide.
The primary greenhouse gas that’s been heating up our planet has been carbon dioxide. This gas is also the reason behind climate change, which means that anything that ends up producing it as a byproduct is actually part of the problem. And according to the newest climate change reports from the United Nations, the entire world needs to change immediately, if we don’t want to face serious consequences.
And although the alternative fuel from this Spanish company isn’t going to replace all the vehicles that are currently using fossil fuels, it still adds to the speed of transition towards renewable energy and is protecting the environment from further damage. The way the company makes this new type of fuel is through a thermochemical conversion process. During this process, the waste is first heated to very high temperatures, in order to dehydrate it, and then the humic substances are eliminated, such as nitrogen, chlorine, carbon, and sulfur. This leads to the end result being a block, named ‘biochar’ which burns the same way that coal does. Except in this case, instead of having billions of tons of waste polluting the planet, the company processes it to make it functional and useful. And there are plenty of landfills all over the globe where factories like this one can be built for the same purpose. In fact, there are a few that are already functional, aside from the one in Spain, there are locations in Italy as well as the United Kingdom.