Energy from waste, giving up gas and saving the planet
We can give up gas forever and pay less for energy. Significantly less.
You have probably heard a lot about how Western countries are switching to renewable energy – one that uses the energy of the sun, wind, water, as well as biomass or biogas.
For example, when traveling in Austria or Norway, you can find whole fields with windmills that provide energy to cities or small towns. This can become a reality in Ukraine.
How humanity can save the Earth from climate change
Moreover, our country can completely get off the gas needle and use biogas as an energy source. At the same time, we will see much smaller sums in our bills than we are generally used to.
To understand what renewable energy, biogas and everything of this sort is and how it can improve our lives, we asked Andrii Hrinenko, Director of Clear Energy, very simple questions, who broke things down for us.
Simple answers to questions concerning green energy
Is it true that you can create energy from waste?
Yes, it is true! All the waste that you throw out every day in the bins near your houses is taken to local landfills. Over the years, when a lot of municipal waste accumulates there, biogas is formed between the layers of waste and the earth. If properly produced, energy can be generated. Our company is engaged in the construction of installations that produce this gas.
Are there any specific types of waste, or can we process everything?
Almost everything. Waste from deforestation and wood processing (from furniture factories, carpentry shops), paper production, farms, urban landfills, production activities (technical glycerin, residues from the production of fruit, berry, vegetable juices, molasses, starch, meat and dairy products) can be processed into energy.
All these wastes can be used as biomass for the production of biogas, and therefore energy. In short, biomass is everything that lives, dies and rots. That’s why there are more than enough raw materials for the production of biogas because its reserves are restored rather quickly.
So, the waste I throw away every day can charge my phone?
Yes, roughly speaking, it sure can 🙂
My neighbor keeps talking about the “green tariff”, but I don’t understand a thing. What is it?
The “green” tariff is the tariff at which the wholesale electricity market buys electricity from alternative sources from enterprises or private households. For example, from solar or wind power plants, installations that run on biomass or biogas. In Ukraine, for one, “green” energy is bought by the State enterprise “Energorynok”.
And not only large enterprises can sell it. If, for instance, your neighbor has solar panels installed, all the electricity from them that the neighbor does not use for his needs, he sells to the state at a “green” tariff. That’s why he often mentions it in conversation with you 🙂 What I mean is that this mechanism encourages people to develop “green” energy.
I saw a lot of solar panels in Austria, they are everywhere, even at bus stops. Do you suggest doing the same?
Why not? Ukraine has a huge potential for the development of “green” energy! And it’s not just about solar panels. There are many other ways to produce energy from renewable sources. Like biogas and biomass or wind energy. Especially regarding Austria, this country is not only actively using solar panels but it’s also a world leader in the field of “green” energy.
Did you know that the largest federal land in Austria is provided with 100% renewable electricity?! And by 2030, the whole country will use alternative energy! After all, in addition to economic gain, “green” energy is the right way to an environmentally friendly future. And we believe that this can be implemented in Ukraine. Moreover, we have already taken the first steps! But we will need support from the state as we go.
What is biogas and where does it come from?
Biogas is a combustible gas mixture that is produced during the processing of biological mass (waste). It’s simple: the main raw material for biogas production is a large amount of organic waste. This includes food residues, garden waste, fruit, fallen leaves, mown grass, raw materials of animal origin, and much more.
When these products begin to decompose and rot without air access, biogas is formed. The “bio” component in this case does not mean an “organically pure product”, but rather indicates the specific features of the biogas production process. Besides the fact that biogas is cheaper than natural gas and can save government funds, it also solves a number of important environmental problems. Clear Energy has already opened more than 10 green energy facilities that produce electricity from biogas in 11 regions of Ukraine.
Do I understand correctly, Ukraine can give up gas. Completely?
Of course, this depends on many factors, but looking at the experience of other countries, we can conclude that this is quite possible. For example, Norway has already provided itself with almost 100% renewable energy.
Therefore, the desire to turn Ukraine into an energy independent state are not just some fine words. This is a goal to move towards, despite all the obstacles.
And what will we get in our bills? And who will we pay for this?
These will be prices for energy, but one generated using the sun, wind, biomass or biogas without harm to the environment. We will still pay the state, as we do now, but at more affordable rates.
Everything sounds pretty cool, but when will Ukraine be able to switch to clean energy?
According to Energorynok, energy generated from alternative sources now accounts for about 2% of the total energy volume. At the same time, the government is confident that by 2030, it will be possible to reach a 25% mark! But whether this works out or not depends on many factors.
That includes state support, legal framework, investment environment, and so on. That is, the more the state is interested in this matter, the faster Ukraine will have all the chances to become an energy independent country. But this will definitely not happen in one or two years. This is a long process.
Tell us what renewable energy is and what types of energy exist?
Renewable energy is a separate large area of the energy industry that combines the use of solar, wind, water as well as biomass and biogas energy. The main difference of renewable energy is that energy sources are not destroyed during use, as coal or peat are, which are nowadays actively extracted to generate energy, but are simply gradually replenished or restored completely.
The development of renewable energy is of great importance for the future of mankind because fossil fuel reserves will sooner or later be exhausted. Therefore, the development of renewable energy is a key issue for the world today. And by 2040, it is planned to generate up to 40% of the world’s electricity from alternative sources.
My friend says that solar panels are the best. Is that so?
Perhaps not the best, but definitely the most affordable for private households. Most likely, what your friend means is that using solar panels is the easiest way to be a participant in the “Energy Market” and sell excess energy to the state at a “green” tariff. This is truly an advanced technology that allows, first of all, to provide yourself with electricity, and, second of all, have extra earnings.
How so? It’s very simple! Today, private households have a capacity limit of 30 kW. Therefore, if you have installed a solar panel for 30 kW, and spend only 10 kWh for the needs of the house and the entire household, then you have the full right to sell the remaining 20 kWh at the “green” tariff to the state! And no one can prevent it, it’s the other way around – the deed is encouraged! And every month you receive additional funds on your card.
Can I produce energy on my own? Or is the community to make this decision?
Today, any citizen can independently install renewable energy systems to meet the needs of their homes. There is no need for the decision to be made at the community level.
Can old thermal power plants, hydroelectric power plants and nuclear power plants be converted?
As for nuclear power plants, it’s a completely separate industry. Today, the cheapest production is in the nuclear power industry, but you need to understand that this is an extremely complex object that can not be converted at all.
The construction of nuclear power plants is exclusively the prerogative of the state. And as for the old thermal power plants and hydroelectric power plants, it’s not that they can be, but that they need to be partially converted. These processes are gradually taking place in Ukraine.
How much money will the transition to clean energy bring to the budget if the whole country decides to do it?
It is still difficult to calculate on a national scale, but that there will be considerable savings is a fact. If we evaluate the situation solely based on the results of our company’s activities, we produced 80 million kilowatts of electricity last year.
This made it possible for the state to save about 550 million hryvnias on purchases of natural gas! And that’s just from our company. If the whole country switches mainly to alternative energy sources, you can only imagine how huge the savings in the state budget may be.
The material was taken from TSN