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Power Generation

Power Generation Within The City Of Birdencaster

Power Generation is of course needed for Birdencaster. The city uses two power stations with each one having a differing method for generating power, yet both using renewable energy. Nevertheless, despite those two power stations the city still does not generate enough power to satisfy its needs. Therefore, an energy-saving culture has been imposed on the whole population.  


One of the stations is powered by geothermal energy and it provides Birdencaster with most of its energy. The impacts of this power plant are mostly noise and smell pollution [6][7]. While newer residents may find those to be annoying or something to worry about, most residents get used to them after a period of time.   There is a mile walk from 5 8 to the geothermal power station. The path goes through the forest used by the forestry industry, so if a visitor needs help there are people available. There are no predators in the woods that would see humans as a food supply.  

Waste To Energy and Biofuel Plant

The second power station works on biofuel. This station is mainly used to deal with the city’s food waste, although it also supplements the energy produced by the first generator. Still, as mentioned above, this is not enough to completely fulfill the demand for energy for Birdencaster. In other cities, they have rules concerning food waste, as the corn cobs can be used to make plastics and so they should be collected [1][2]. Those corn cobs are then brought to Birdencaster to be processed. Since the city has inadequate agricultural lands, they are not able to produce their own corn and are thus dependent on this import.   As with the geothermal power station, there is a mile walk to the biofuel station, but the path goes between farms, in 5 11, not through the forest. Similarly to the other station, this station does release smells but the residents have become used to this.   All waste that cannot be reused is burnt off in the power station to regenerate power [4] , while what can be reused is recycled. Nevertheless, the majority of the fuel is food waste. This power station has an unfortunate consequence: the fumes it produces lower the life expectancy for the people working there.  

From Corncobs to Plastics![12]

As mentioned previously, some other cities have good soils for crop-based agriculture, and they will put aside corn cobs in their rubbish collections [2].  

Step 1: Fermentation

When the cobs are collected, they are first gently washed before being ground into a paste. Two types of fungi are added to the corn slop and the mixture undergoes fermentation. During this process, these fungi produce enzymes that will break down the cobs into sugars. The mixture is then hydrolysed in a bioreactor so as to destroy the fungi and form a nutrient-rich food for bacteria. After another fermentation during which the bacteria further break down the food waste, a broth containing lactic acid is formed. The broth is filtered and centrifuged so as to remove cell particles that may remain in the batch. It is then mixed with activated carbon to remove the additional contaminants, which are filtered away. Rotary evaporation is used to boil off the water from the mix and concentrate the lactic acid. The lactic acid is extracted by adding a solvent, ethyl acetate, and sonicating the mixture. This results in the formation of an organic phase (the ethyl acetate) and an aqueous phase (the rest of the broth). Those phases can now be separated with a funnel, the lactic acid being in the organic phase. Further distillation separates the lactic acid from the ethyl acetate.  

Step 2: Polymerisation

  The catalyst zinc oxide nanoparticles are added and the solution is dehydrated by heating so as to initiate the polymerisation. This forms an intermediate polymer called lactide. Ethyl acetate is then added and left with lactide at 4C (39.2F) for 24 hours to make it crystalise. The resulting solution is dried, first by vacuum filtration, then in an oven at 40C (104F) for 24 hours. Lactide is further polymerised to form PLA by heating to 200C (392F) for 25 minutes in the presence of nitrogen gas rather than normal air. Finally, cold methanol is added to the resulting solution, which makes PLA precipitate. Then PLA is extracted and dried by further vacuum filtration and heating in the oven.  

Step 3: Melting

The resulting plastic is white and looks like it has been chewed by a child. The next process is to melt it into the form desired, for example, sheets used in manufacturing. If the plastic needs to be transparent, as in safety glasses, for example, this further requires a succession of chemical processes to be carried out on the plastic.   The resulting plastic is then exported, either in its native form, a kind of powder, in the form of pellets or fully processed into objects.

Article Contents


Plastic Production From Waste
[1]How to Make Everything: Youtube Video
[2]Conversion Of Food Waste To Make Plastic: Youtube Video
Waste To Energy and Biofuel Plant
[3]An Introduction to Biofuels
[4]The Problems with Waste to Energy Plants
Geothermal Power
[5]An Introduction to Geothermal Energy
[6]The impacts of Geothermal Power
[7]More Information on The Impacts Of Geothermal
[8]Information on Geothermal Power Plant
[9]Geothermal Power in the UK
[10]Wikipedia Article Geothermal Power
[11]A Tom Scott Youtube Video on Geothermal power
Plastic Production
[12]Conversion of Food Waste into Poly(Lactic Acid) Fibre


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