Waste Will Save The World! ♻️ Podcast Ep. 28 Don’t Be A Waster



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Transcript: Waste Will Save The World!


Hello and welcome to another edition of Recycle: Don’t Be A Waster! In today’s episode, we want to talk about something that – it probably isn’t really recycling or fall under the traditional view of what recycling is – but it certainly is creation of something bit useful from something else that… maybe isn’t so useful.


So, if you’re following the press or the news at the moment, you will be aware that there is a lot of focus on net zero and carbon reduction targets and all those things. And this is probably exacerbated also by the war in Ukraine and gas supplies into western Europe and, you know, fuel shortages and increased prices for fuel and gas. So, one of the things a lot of countries have done for good and bad is invest significant funds into renewable energy. And I suppose Germany is probably leading the field in some of these activities.


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But with that, there are significant negatives so Germany has significantly invested in wind solar and other renewable energy sources which is great, but the problem with renewable is that sometimes the wind doesn’t blow or the sun does not shine. And actually, even interestingly during, the recent European heatwave, apparently, solar panels do not operate as effectively once it passes circuit 24, 25 degrees Celsius, so that’s something interesting to bear in mind.


Act 2: Waste will save the world!


Also… so, the problem with renewable is that when it doesn’t, you know, when it’s not sunny or when the wind doesn’t blow, you need something else to turn on to create, give you that base load that fills the gaps. Um… fundamentally, this can either be gas. it can be you know crude oil it can be coal-based it can be, um… battery-based so you can store the energy created by the renewables for when it’s needed.


One study I read recently suggested that Germany has not even planned battery facilities to capture one per cent – not even in the planning stage. One per cent of the energy needed – so fundamentally, what this means is that you… when you rely on renewables wind gas etc. or wind, sorry, solar, you basically need to build two entire systems: one that is for when the wind blows etc. and one is when it doesn’t. Um, and clearly, this leads to significant geopolitical issues that we’re seeing in Germany at the moment.


In Western Europe, in general, whereby you know, the north stream gas pipeline is creating significant issues for all concern. And whether Russia will turn off gas or not for political leverage. So for me, so this is where we step in and talk about potential, maybe, a potential saviour which is called biomethane.


Act 3: Waste Will Save The World!


Biomethane is what is basically is very similar to biogas which we’ve discussed in a previous episode, and it really is the, you know, I suppose, the breakdown of human waste human faeces from the sewage works. When that breaks down, it creates methane, um… hence, it smells. You capture that methane, and you can fundamentally burn it as a natural gas format to create energy.


So I suppose we ask you know I suppose the fundamentals as to how that work are quite simple but you know how much of this stuff is there and the studies I’ve read suggest that every Australian state has more than enough human waste before we even get into animal waste to completely meet 100 percent of the energy needs you know of those states at this point in time which is pretty amazing um fundamentally you need facilities where this waste will be broke would be left to care you’ll capture that gas and that gas then can be stored in the existing gas storage and infrastructure systems that we have in place in modern countries already.


Even in Sydney, companies like Jemena and also Sydney water are turning on, or about to turn on, some facilities that will, I suppose, operators test runs for this stuff. And you know they’ll capture the way that capture the energy and use it to power homes and businesses throughout Sydney. So the great thing about this also is that you can store the gas in the existing infrastructure where we have gas at the moment – is mostly brought even though Australia has a lot of gas domestically, particularly in Victoria.


Act 4: Waste Will Save The World!


But it’s not being used at the moment most gas is brought from overseas. This obviously would be a completely indigenous or domestic gas supply, and with it, you can store it and use it when you need it, so it provides that baseline power that, you know, that we need without investing significantly in massive new infrastructure such as solar batteries or relying on nuclear facilities or coal or gas.


So to me it sounds very interesting it’s a real win-win and at the end of the day as long as our human population doesn’t collapse we will have a never-ending supply of this waste and realistically that waste will probably be in line with our energy requirements as the population grows, you know, I assume the waste we produce will grow also so… um, you know, every cloud has a silver lining and as we do produce waste. Maybe it will help us produce clean energy also, um… at the end of the day, this waste has to decay somewhere the energy will go somewhere, so we may as well use it to power to power our lifestyles and our economy and create jobs. So I think it’s very interesting I would – we’ll also publish a blog on this topic on waster.com.au.


And yeah, we look forward to see what you think so we’ll leave it there today. And remember, recycle! 


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