Turn Pollution into Power

While activists and politicians, and even world governments, debate over how to stop global warming and defeat climate change, the solutions to reducing humankind’s impact already exist in the private sector. Technologies now exist, or are on the cusp of first commercialization, to gasify coal and even coal ash cleanly; to use carbon dioxide for inexpensive transportation fuels; to economically turn diesel and other liquid fuels into cleaner burning synthetic natural gas; and to use smaller amounts of wasted heat in all industrial and even residential processes, for lower cost and abundant power.

In terms of coal ash mitigation, this could be critical in Virginia where Dominion Power has been under fire for coal ash retention ponds and even islands in Dumfries, VA and on the James River. They are currently examining some of these solutions to their credit.

If we perfect and utilize these existing technologies then antiquated scrubbing methods, restrictions and burdensome and costly regulations will no longer be needed. Imagine the economic impact of monetizing all those items we currently view as pollutants and waste, and using them to create affordable and clean power. That time is upon us. The need for spending billions of dollars on capturing or sequestering and storing pollutants is over. Instead, those billions should be put to effective-use-new-technologies that pay for themselves in as little as six months, monetizing pollutants and turning them into lower cost power and incentivizing spending by industry to cleanse itself.

We now are ready to launch an environmental technological revolution that is largely being ignored by governments and the media. Just a few of the following technologies are ready now, already being deployed, and will change the environmental landscape for the world. They are:


  • A technology offered by LPP Combustion of Columbia, Maryland, to convert flare gas into a natural gas substitute and cleanly burn it for power. This technology also converts chemical and pharmaceutical waste, as well as diesel fuels and other liquid fuels, into a natural gas substitute. This LPP GasTM will power standard gas turbines which can accept the gas with no modifications at all to the turbine, accepting it as though it was pure natural gas. Most importantly, it pays for itself in as little as 6 to 24 months, monetizing waste gas and liquid fuels while reducing emissions by up to 90%. In the third world and developing world, where high emissions diesel generation is widely used, LPP’s technology can economically convert that diesel fuel into a natural gas substitute to be used in much cleaner gas turbines.


  • An advanced technology using semiconductors, mass produced to capture electricity from waste heat created by industry, or even residences or vehicles, and turn it into power more efficiently than wind, solar or nuclear power. A new technology just ready for market created by Berken Energy of Ft. Collins, Colorado, will revolutionize all industrial processes making them more cost efficient and providing power at competitive rates. Berken has created “Thermovoltaic” generators that create electricity from lower ranges of temperatures and will revolutionize all power consuming activities that create waste heat.USE GARBAGE, TIRES, PLASTICS OR COAL WASTE FOR FUEL OR POWER
  • A landmark technology, in large part funded by the U.S. Departments of Defense and Energy and the California Energy Commission, called FastOx, and developed by Sierra Energy out of Davis, California. By using technology developed by the steel industry, drying and gasifying all carbon-based waste from tires, plastics, municipal waste and even coal and coal ash, and turning it into syngas which can generate power or create diesel or other fuels, with near zero emissions. In fact, it is being activated this fall at a plant on a military base in California and it will prove that clean coal technology is here. The broad range of feedstock is gasified at 4,000 degrees and all carbon content removed as syngas, leaving only inert and non-toxic solids and molten rock that can be used in highway construction, insulation or composites.TURN CARBON DIOXIDE INTO FUEL
  • Another technology, derived from the Fischer Tropsch process used by the Germans to create synfuels in World War II, takes carbon dioxide and uses it as a catalyst to create clean transportation fuels, at close to market rates and our lower prices of today. Patents exist, and the utilization of some of the technologies above that create hydrogen and power from waste heat would increase efficiency and allow a plant to take polluting gases and turn them into fuels or power with nearly zero emissions. In fact, Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently announced such an effort in Texas, although other efforts in the private sector are again ahead of our government. The day we utilize C02 and NO2 from industrial processes to create lower cost fuels is upon us.

These technologies are ready now! They can greatly increase efficiency in antiquated fossil fuel burning plants, and allowing them to meet the most stringent standards. They can replace dirty diesel and other fuels massively polluting the third world, by converting existing fuel supplies into clean-burning natural gas. They can eliminate landfills by taking all our garbage, tires, plastics and coal waste, and gasifying them — emissions free — to create syngas to use for power or clean fuels.

In Russia, Iraq, Nigeria and the Bakken and Eagle Ford gas and oil fields of North Dakota and Texas, we flare off billions of cubic meters of gas that could be monetized each month. This flaring can be seen around the globe from outer space. In Nigeria, it could be captured and converted into power, providing that nation with one gigawatt of power daily… the equivalent of 10 nuclear power plants. Having recently visited Nigeria, where in its capital city Abuja, seeing a mile through the smog is difficult (similar to Beijing, China), this technology is critically needed. During our meeting with the Minister of Power, his office complex lost power twice!

The thought that a small company from Maryland, comprised of a group of Ph.Ds. from U.S. schools, can eliminate flaring across the globe and create gigawatts of clean power is remarkable. And now it’s time to help them and global industry do it!

The energy technology revolution is upon us and ready to zero out the need for the massive regulatory and penalizing measures envisioned by the Paris Accords and championed by so many in the environmental movement. It is time our lawmakers, media and activists who truly care about results rather than politics, pay attention and support what American ingenuity has in store for clean power and monetizing our waste streams. New tax credits and incentives for industry to utilize these remarkable technologies should be enacted at once.

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About Rob Hartwell

Rob Hartwell is a former Chief of Staff to House Ways and Means Committee Member Rep. Dick Schulze (R-PA). He is President of Hartwell Capitol Consulting, a global technology and business development firm in Virginia and he serves on the Thomas Jefferson Institute Board of Directors.
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