Mother Earth Living

The Great Green Energy Machine

This new waste-to-energy conversion system really does turn trash into treasure.
By Dani Hurst
February 2009 Web
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An outside view of the GEM3T120.
Courtesy of IST Energy

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Two goals of the green movement are reducing waste and finding ways to produce clean, efficient energy. If a product can accomplish one of these tasks, it’s a good one. But what about one that does both simultaneously? Well, that would be a real gem.

To be more specific, it would be a GEM3T120.

This revolutionary waste-to-energy conversion system transforms trash in the form of paper, plastic, food, wood and agricultural waste into clean energy. The GEM eliminates 95 percent of waste (5 percent turns into “innocuous ash” according to the IST Energy website), and can process up to three tons daily. According to a recent press release from IST Energy, the manufacturers of the GEM, one system could produce enough energy “to power and heat a 200,000-square-foot building housing more than 500 people.” For a machine that is roughly the size of a Dumpster—8 feet tall, taking up about the same space as three parking spots—that’s impressive.

So how does this miracle machine work?

Waste is fed into the GEM and eventually converted into fuel pellets. These pellets are then gasified (not burned), which creates synthetic gas to power the generator, which in turn produces electricity.

Are there any negative side effects?

According to the same press release, “the GEM is eco-friendly and carbon negative, significantly diminishing greenhouse gases by 540 tons annually. The GEM also powers itself with the clean energy it produces, supplying users with a self-sustaining alternative energy source.”

Where can I sign up?

Unfortunately, the GEM is not for individual use. It was created for sites that produce at least two tons of trash daily. This system is ideal for universities, office buildings, large apartment complexes, malls and hospitals. It also has an expensive ($850,000) price tag, but IST Energy asserts that it will pay for itself in three to four years.

So even though you can’t have one of your very own (yet), you can advocate for one to be installed at your office or apartment complex, or even your university. Just tell them what a gem it is.

For more info, visit the IST Energy website.

More about clean energy

• Farmers across America are turning chicken droppings into clean fuel. Find out how!

• A new study found that clean energy jobs are outstripping traditional jobs. Read about the diversity of new green jobs and how you can find one.

• For the first time, alternative energy sources are receiving more investments than fossil fuels. Find out which source is most popular and which country is investing the most.

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