Continued use of fossil fuels for baseload electrical power generation is environmentally and economically unsustainable. Earth’s remaining fossil fuel resources are irreplaceable as feedstocks for making basic industrial chemicals, as well as synthetics such as plastics, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, and a myriad of other vital materials.
Regardless of the source of fuel for future power generation, development of circular economies as generally depicted in the graphic, where material resources are used, re-used and re-purposed, and non-recyclable residual waste is minimized, will be the key to long-term survival.
The non-recyclable end-of-life waste component of the circular economy process from Proto Protocol^ shown to the right, has been modified to indicate the contribution that EPR waste to fuel and waste to energy technologies can make to reducing the amount of material that goes to landfill. It indicates the capability of EPR waste conversion technologies to make electricity or liquid fuel from approximately 70% of the non-recyclable residual waste that would otherwise go to landfill.
This recovery is achieved by hydrothermally converting the residual plastics in the waste stream to clean ultra-low sulfur liquid fuels, and the wet biomass components to biogas. Dry biomass waste components are cleanly converted to baseload electrical power using a conventional turbine generator driven by steam produced by LoNOx rotary kiln thermal conversion. EPR technologies for the conversion of combustible and non-recyclable residual waste to clean liquid fuels and baseload power can make a long term and substantial contribution to development of a truly sustainable circular economy.