trash the solution to tackling climate change?
Biofuels produced from crops have proved controversial because they require an increase in crop production that has its own serious environmental costs. However, second generation biofuels like cellulosic ethanol from municipal waste treated, can provide dramatic reductions in emissions without capture environment.
“Our results suggest that biomass fuel processed from waste such as paper and cardboard, is a promising clean energy solution,” said study author and Associate Professor Hugh Tan, National University of Singapore. “If developed fully while this biofuel would cover part of the energy the world needs, while combating carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.”
The team used United Nations Human Development Index to estimate waste generation in 173 countries. These data were then coupled to the database Earthtrends to estimate the amount of gasoline consumed in those countries.
The team found that 82.93 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol can be produced from landfill waste in the world and by replacing gasoline with biofuel resulting global carbon emissions could be reduced in numbers ranging between 29.2% and 86.1% per unit of energy produced.
“If this technology continues to improve and mature these numbers are certain to increase,” concluded co-author Dr Lian Pin Koh of ETH Zurich. “This could make cellulosic ethanol an important component of our renewable energy future.”