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Turning Waste into Power: Welcome to the 21st Century Bioeconomy

February 11, 2013

While coal, oil, and gas will continue to play a critical role in our daily lives in the 21st century, it’s increasingly apparent that the key to providing the levels of energy needed to sustain the planet is by adopting renewable energy. Plans abound in countries and companies across the world to adopt better (and ultimately cheaper) means of procuring energy than simply by drilling more oil wells. The numbers speak for themselves. In Europe alone, it’s been estimated that a full 9% of the population is involved in the “bioeconomy” to some capacity. Translated into profit margins, that’s a whopping €2 trillion annual turnover. That’s just Europe alone.

One of the foremost energy sectors that the new bioeconomy is looking to lies right beneath our feet. We aren’t, of course, referring to shale oil or natural gas fields. No, we’re talking about something as commonplace as unrefined urban wastewater.  The collective “sludge” that passes through the sewer systems of cities worldwide can be adopted – very effectively so – into a powerful and renewable source of energy. Think not only of the metropolitan regions of America and Canada. Think as well about the enormous “megapolis” cities that are mushrooming right now in China, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia. For example: three decades ago, the Chinese city of Shenzhen was a sleepy fishing village built in the shadow of British-controlled Hong Kong. Today, it is one of the most dynamic cities on the planet, with an estimated population of over 10 million, a hub city in a region where one third of the world’s goods get manufactured. If China wants to sustain that level of growth, renewable energy strategies like wastewater recycling are simply inevitable.

Dewatered sludge can be used as a cheap, carbon-neutral substitute for oil, gas, and coal. And with Duske Drying Systems, huge levels of sludge can be dried clean of their liquid content at a rapid rate. We don’t see the equipment we make as being “optional” in the same way as choosing a laptop computer or a new mobile phone. We see the equipment we design and manufacture at Uzelac/Duske as essential to the future infrastructure of urban society: that’s just putting it bluntly like any good Wisconsinite should. So let us know how we can help build the future for you. That’s what we’re good at around here.

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