THE STUFF YOU CAN’T RECYCLE ? PERFECT
ALMOST any sort of rubbish is suitable for ethanol production, says Coskata.
That includes dirty nappies, used car tyres and even cane toads.
‘‘Rubbish is rubbish, anywhere you look,’’ says Coskata’s James Frawley. ‘‘It’s things that are going into landfill anywhere. Most of the things you recycle we wouldn’t want in this process anyway.’’
The rubbish becomes what is called a feed stock, which has mostly been corn until now in the US.
It is converted to a ‘‘syngas’’ — composed mostly of carbon dioxide and nitrogen — at extremely high temperature before being fed to microorganisms that produce ethanol as waste after ‘‘eating’’ the gas.
‘‘The organism does not care whether that carbon dioxide and nitrogen came from a tyre, a piece of biomass or whatever, it all works the same,’’ says Frawley.