Waste to Energy
Slate had a great article about waste to energy. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/alternative_energy/2013/03/distributed_generation_fuel_cells_for_on_site_power_plants.html
Fuel cells need to become a major component to US energy. Every city in the US has at least one waste water treatment plant, many have more than one. One of the great things about using fuel cells at waste facilities is that they help reduce the operating costs of the facility. The bio-digesters are producing methane, the fuel sells do not burn the methane for power, they generate through an electrochemical process. The “waste”” from the fuel cells is heat and water. The heat gets pumped back into the digesters to keep all the little microorganisms happy and the water can be used for various operations in the plant.
Using fuel cells are not the silver bullet to energy production. They can be expensive and they use some metals that can be hard to get. But in America, and the world for that matter, we must stop thinking of everything being centralized. Various methods of decentralized power distribution are available and we should utilize as many of these processes as possible. Why? Distributed power reduces the need for power lines, reduces the cost of energy distribution, protects people and businesses from power outage, the list goes on.
We must get out of the one stop shopping mindset. There are options that will increase the opportunity of new small businesses; there are options that provide much cleaner and smarter more effective ways of providing electricity. These systems can strengthen the market place when people have true options about where and how they get their power. As Kinky Friedman, Governor of the heart of Texas, would say “Why the hell not”.