Energy from Waste
Utilizing Energy Resources in Waste: Waste-to-Energy
Introductory Talk
Shelley Minteer
Saint Louis University, MO, USA

Over the last decade, we have been increasing concerned with renewable energy (i.e. biofuels, etc.) as a method for replacing our dependence on petroleum.

However, as we focus on energy sustainability in the coming years, we will need to more efficiently harness the residual energy in different types of waste, including waste water, municipal waste that frequently ends up in landfills, waste streams from industrial chemical and bioprocess industries, and commercial waste. All of these different types of waste contain a great deal of unused energy and in order to be more sustainability, we are going to have to develop more efficient and comprehensive methods for harnessing that unused energy. This symposium will focus on strategies for using waste to generate useable thermal or electrical energy.

There are a number of strategies for producing energy from waste: including combustion of trash [1], methane recovery or methanol production from landfills [2], biodiesel production from waste oils and greases [3-4], microbial fuel cells for producing energy while cleaning wastewater [5-6], and energy conversion devices that can employ industrial waste streams for energy production[7-8]. This symposium will concern all aspects of waste-to-energy, but focus will be on the recent develops of microbial fuel cells for wastewater treatment and new materials for energy conversion, catalysis and separation.


1. Y.K. Yeum, “A trash burner,” Korean Patent #95-47226, 1998.

2. W.H. Wisbrock, “Landfill Gas to Methanol” in Alcoholic Fuels, CRC Press, 2006.

3. H. Zhang, F. Zhang, “Resourceful utilization of food wastes,” Chinese Patent #101058097, 2007.

4. M. Canakci, “The potential of restaurant waste lipids as biodiesel feedstocks,” Bioresource Technology, 98, 2007, 183-190.

5. P. Aelterman, K. Rabaey, P. Clauwaert, W. Verstraete, “Microbial fuel cells for wastewater treatment,” Water Science and Technology, 54, 2006, 9-15.

6. L.T. Angenent, K. Karim, M.H. Al-Dahhan, B.A. Wrenn, R. Domiquez-Espinosa, “Production of bioenergy and biochemicals from industrial and agricultural wastewater,” Trends in Biotechnology, 22, 2004, 477-485.

7. S.D. Minteer, “Direct ethanol fuel cells,” in Alcoholic Fuels, CRC Press, 2006.

8. K. Kordesch, G. Simader, Fuel Cells and Their Applications, VCH Press, 1996.

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