If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Say yes to solid waste

June 19, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 25

Coal gasification is only one means of extending our gas and oil supplies and certainly warrants ongoing investigation. However, oil, gas, and coal are valuable chemical resources; burning them for energy is a waste

I have been following innovations such as the gasification question since the "Great Energy Shortage of 1973." There certainly are some new approaches, but basically it's the same old, same old. And it won't happen until the price is right-as was said in 1973 and will be said in 2006. But it is very hard for a new technology to compete with our existing energy system, which is decades old and paid for.

Another energy source that gets pushed aside each time the crisis emerges is solid waste. It is inherently available where energy use is highest and where land for disposal is most costly, in and near our cities. Yet the few efforts to convert solid waste and municipal sludge to energy and useful products have received little attention. Certainly, there are environmental and other technical problems in using such material, but there should be many incentives to make use of it. If our nation invested as much in researching and developing energy from waste as we have in gasification and related processes, I believe we would be much further ahead in the long run.

Herbert S. Skovronek
Morris Plains, N.J.


May 22, page 34. The instrument pictured should have been identified as a Dionex high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system, not a gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer.

May 29, page 11. Dow Chemical's R&D spending for 2005 was $1.1 billion.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.