AIA Associate, Oh Planning and Design

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A "closed-loop" waste-energy solution - reevaluating waste as an energy resource.

My idea (which was actually my thesis project from last year) is to design a system where we extract the biological waste from an industrial process, such as brewing beer, and input it into a bio-mass co-generation energy plant. We can then utilize the bio-waste as a resource for energy and heat generation. Afterwards, we can then capture the carbon dioxide and heat that is released during the process, and input that as a resource into another process. For instance, vertical farming with CO2 (for hops, if you want to create a truly "closed-loop" system), or a spa/sauna with the off-heat. This allows for a dynamic interaction between three different lines of process. We can then locate all of them in close proximity to each other, in order to form a unique environment for people to interact with, allowing the public to see and understand this interaction, and transforming an energy plant from a private structure into a public center complete with a diverse set of uses. (beer, farming, spa, etc.)

I can elaborate more on this, and if you want to see my proposed version of this, it can be found at: But I'd prefer to keep this fairly loose, so that I can see what others think about this. it is very much along the lines of Material Resource Ecology (William McDonough) but on a more macro scale.

  • May 1 2013: Of course, isn't the World like that? It's being done and it's a good thing. Keep up the enthusiasm.
    • May 1 2013: It is very much a bio-mimetic type of idea - taking on the way that waste is handled through natural systems. But is this too much of a pipe dream? I'm wondering about the possible roadblocks. For instance, some people are attempting designs and ideas of linking bio-waste from coffee/beer/wine to an energy plant, and others even take raw garbage and burn it (which I think creates even worse emissions, but that's just probably me), but what about the complexities of capturing CO2 and heat? What about finding ways to store it, re-use it, etc? Maybe I am being slightly pessimistic in thinking that this idea will be very difficult to culminate into a reality, but I can't help but imagine roadblocks.