Orlando officials think they’ve perfected a technology that has flummoxed scientists for decades — one they hope will be used worldwide to turn sewage into electricity and earn the city tens of millions of dollars in royalties.
If city officials and their private-industry partners are right, it could be the biggest thing in sewage treatment since the flush toilet.
“We call it poop to power in five minutes,” said project consultant Roy Pelletier.
While the five-year, $8.5 million project has drawn little attention locally, a small, experimental test plant off busy Alafaya Trail near the University of Central Florida has drawn visitors from Mexico, Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi, Canada, Europe and elsewhere in recent weeks.
They have traveled here because they’ve heard there may be an answer to an intriguing question that has dogged scientists for years: What if you could take sewage and get rid of it cleanly and quickly, without dumping it in rivers or landfills — and generate pollution-free electricity at the same time?
“The technology has the potential to revolutionize how wastewater is processed — the destruction of all organics, the generation of electricity, a completely green footprint,” said Don Morgan, CEO of SuperWater Solutions, a Wellington company working with Orlando.
Treated sewage used to be dumped into waterways, but technological advances and tougher regulations ended that practice decades ago.
Orlando treats more than 35 million gallons of sewage a day, essentially by feeding the outflow from the city’s toilets and sinks to bacteria. The process produces reclaimed water that’s clean enough to be piped to some neighborhoods, golf courses and road medians to irrigate flowers and grass.
But there’s another byproduct of the treatment process that’s harder to deal with. The bacteria that gobble up the sewage reproduce as they eat, so as the sewage goes away, it’s replaced with smelly, mud-like piles of microorganisms. That’s sludge, and there’s a lot of it. Continue Reading »
These is one of the crazier stories involving fundies and their strange ways, but this one’s even worse, because it’s also about government officials targeting a woman because she’s an atheist activist fighting prayers at public meetings.
• Political strategistCliff Schecter and FDL News guy David Dayen together on Virtually Speaking Sundays. What did the Sunday morning talking heads cover, distort or ignore? Think gun control, think bin Laden. Consider us a counterpoint.Listen herebeginning 6pm pacific|9pm eastern, Sunday, May 8.
• Virtually Speaking Susie with Susie Madrak. Guest Dave Johnson will discuss the myths about swing voters. Listen herebeginning 6pm pacific|9pm eastern, Tuesday, May 10.
• Stuart Zechman, Jay Ackroyd on VS A-Z: This week in liberalism. | Listen here Thursday May 12 @ 5pm pacific | 8pm eastern. Beginning 8pm eastern, Listen here Beginning midnight May 13, archived here.
• Stirling Newberry on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. Conflicts in the Republican caucus; international concern – or its lack – regarding US debt service. Listen here beginning Thursday, May 12 @ 9pm eastern/6pm pacific.
Coming to VS in future weeks: Dahlia Lithwick, Dan Ellsberg and Glenn Greenwald.
The one thing that I’ve noticed about being middle-aged is that now my kids are always trying to tell me what to do. I don’t think they know me as well as they think they do; they know pieces of me, which is different.
“You know, Mom, you really should [fill in the blank].”
And I think to myself, “You know, you really should [fill in the blank].” I don’t say it out loud, because they mean well and I don’t want to fight. But still.