MADRID, Spain — According to the U.N. “more than half of the people living in low-developed countries lack access to electricity.” As the world globalizes with technology and innovation, low-developed countries stay behind, inequalities grow and people suffer the aftermath. As global consumption increases, plastic and organic waste increase as well, most of it ending up in landfills and contaminating the environment and lowering living standards in low-developed countries. Fortunately, Enexor, an American company, has developed a technological innovation that tackles waste, poverty and climate change. It developed a container that turns plastic and food waste into clean energy, available for heating water, producing steam, refrigerating and purifying water among other daily uses.
Access to Energy and the Impact of Waste
According to Enexor “…3 billion people still use dangerous fuel sources for indoor cooking and heating. Energy poverty, or a lack of access to modern energy services, causes severe health and environmental consequences that impact families globally.” Some areas in low-developed countries still depend on traditional biomass fuel which is detrimental to people’s health. The combustion may lead to asthma, heart and respiratory disease, birth defects and other degenerative diseases. The U.N. states that especially in rural areas, “electrification is particularly low, with two-thirds of the rural low developed countries population (458 million people) completely without access.” People living in energy-deprived areas have to work harder to complete simple tasks and set living standards lower, with lower life expectancy. Not having access to electrical energy means lacking basic needs such as clean water, effective health care systems and education, among others.
When it comes to waste, most of it ends up in landfills around the world, usually away from the city, closer to rural areas. A landfill compromises of layers of garbage and soil on top of each other. In a study conducted around landfills, “…78% of participants living closer to the landfill site indicated serious contamination of air quality evident from bad odors linked to the landfill site. Illnesses such as flu, eye irritation and weakness of the body were frequently reported by participants living closer to the landfill than those living far from the landfill.” Landfills not only contaminate nearby ecosystems but they affect living conditions for poor communities nearby. According to National Geographic, “…the methane that is released due to the decomposing waste is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change.”
How Enexor Works
This is where Enexor comes in to turn the plastic and food waste into clean energy for communities in need. Enexor believes that providing better living conditions for people in low-developed countries could save the earth. It expects to “Develop distributed, renewable energy and carbon solutions to help solve the world’s organic and plastic waste problem.”
Bio-CHP is a container that turns plastic and food waste into clean energy through an innovative process. First, the mix of waste is input into the fuel system feed, entering the container at an automated speed. Then, thermal oxidation is used to oxidize the organics, guaranteeing a breakdown of these without generating toxic or combustion chemicals that usually leak into landfills. The hot gasses from this process are separated and filtered to remove any inorganic particles. Then these hot organic gasses pass through a highly efficient micro-turbine leading to the outside of the container and generating clean energy.
Impact on Poverty
The Bio-CHP container is an opportunity for remote communities to get access to clean energy, reduce waste and landfill contamination and develop business opportunities for income generation. The project implementation will require a workforce, therefore creating jobs in the short run. Then, people nearby or government organizations that pay for the service can later buy that extra power. Farmers could have a wage for their organic waste in case they do not use it and people can receive money for collecting plastic and other waste to recycle and feed the container. This could all create jobs and eventually, the community’s growth could lead to new positions, responsibilities and opportunities.
When it comes to energy distribution, each Enexor container can provide energy to 100 standard homes. Turning plastic and food waste into clean energy could also power telecommunications towers, small businesses, local hospitals, water pumping systems among other systems. Accessibility to clean energy will boost the community’s economy by creating jobs, freeing up time from unconventional methods of energy and offering clean energy effectively. Enexor’s goals are to create 13 billion kWh of clean energy, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 120 million tons and provide energy to 1 million people from developing countries, all by 2040.
With its fast installation, scalability and fully automated characteristics, Enexor offers a solution to tackle waste, poverty and climate change. Turning plastic and food waste into clean energy is a step in the right direction and an example to the world to take action.
– Sebastián Garcés