Waste management and fuel production are part and parcel of the same package. While waste to energy production is not an end all solution on its own rights, it is part of a comprehensive package that can be introduced to avoid unpleasantness such as an electrical grid that could be knocked out completely with less than fifteen minutes warning, high utility costs that frequently cost people more of their income than they will spend on food and a host of other areas of concern within the current system for the provisions of power and the reduction, elimination or re-utilization of waste.
Most of the biotic or organic waste can be used in more traditional digesters and composters wherein methane or natural gas can be extracted. However, there is always the risk of the production of ammonia instead if the processes are not operated concisely. Some of the new technologies utilize a more advanced helioconverter technology, though most of these largely rely on combustion which, given the exhaust and other restrictions, make this an altogether infeasible option.
Still other technologies are more expensive, though they also provide viable byproducts which can also be marketed and will successfully handle virtually all Municipal Waste generated, included the residual sludge from the wastewater treatment plants (at least that which is not used for agricultural pursuits) and virtually all Municipal Solid Waste generated, with the exception of metals, paints and other regulated materials and organic mineral deposits such as rocks. Furthermore, these units also provide the capacity to process virtually all of the waste without any need for combustion or incineration, meaning there is virtually no exhaust, and what little there is, is filtered and cleansed at the source.
While the original costs for such a technology are substantially larger, the overall benefit and potential financial return are such that this option should certainly be considered. As to whether or not such technologies will remain viable or whether or not they will be surpassed by other technologies remains to be seen. Add in the viable by-products and the enhanced environmental benefits, and such a technology seems like a more feasible solution despite the initial elevated costs.
Such a system would further benefit the entire community by largely reducing the need for landfills, dumps or other areas that would, by necessity, be adversely impacted in the process. This is one of those areas that needs to be brought up for review again, once that stage of development has been reached wherein such matters are viable and of importance … and most importantly, can be acted upon. There is no means to know what technologies will be made available between now and such a point in time.