One item that seems to follow humanity no matter where they go is trash. While we often have glorious visions of future settlements operating perfectly efficient space bases, the reality is that as colonies begin to grow, so will the need for a place to throw our garbage.
Instead of our species repeating "the sin" of polluting yet another world, why not instead turn our "useless leftovers" into useful energy?
(Israel 21st Century) Some of the biggest mountains aren't made out of stone; they're built out of garbage. It's a sad fact of life that the human race generates a lot of byproducts. If they can't be recycled - and about 70 percent of our trash can't - then it gets dumped, in what is euphemistically called a "landfill."
But hold on a second: There may be gold, or at least electricity, in those dumps. So says Jean Claude Ohayon, CEO of Israeli startup TGE Tech, which has developed and patented a system whereby unrecycled refuse can be converted into fuel with a special patented device that turns garbage into gas - syngas, a well-known element that has some of the properties of gas, oil and coal. [...]
Syngas is not as effective as oil or coal, Ohayon realizes; it only has about 15% of the calorie (energy) power of its authentic siblings. However, Ohayon explains, that level of energy is more than enough to power the gasifier, the waste treatment plant, and probably all the streetlights and traffic lights in a city on any particular day.
Even though syngas will not be the end all solution for every type of waste, it could help humanity reduce the cost of powering off world colonies significantly, making them more attractive towards politicians--not to mention tax payers as well.
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