San Jose Will Not Be Outdone by San Francisco's Smell

San Jose to begin processing its own organic waste ahead of San Francisco and Oakland

Thursday, Aug 13, 2009  |  Updated 1:30 PM PDT
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San Jose Will Not Be Outdone by San Francisco's Smell

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The bulk of biofuel comes from environmentally-unfriendly sources like cow farms

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San Jose is not to be outdone by Oakland's slight-less-smelly air and San Franciso's squeaky-clean city hall! They're going to start processing their organic waste, turning it into compost and methane at a plant sandwiched between a recycling plant and a solid waste processor. Sounds like a nice neighborhood.

So what does this mean for San Francisco? We certainly produce no shortage of biological waste, much of it strolling about town.

A new study shows that biogas -- along with cleaner sources like wind and solar and thermal -- would produce more power than the city's existing plant in Potrero Hill; but of course there are complications. Renewable sources are less reliable; and the bulk of biofuel comes from environmentally-unfriendly sources like cow farms.

That's not to say it couldn't be done, though. Down south, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts produces hundreds of millions of kilowatt hours from biogas sources, and was recently recognized by the EPA.

Except -- wait -- that article says that one megawatt can power 1,000 homes, so if the Los Angeles Sanitation District is generating hundreds of millions kilowatt hours, is it powering billions of homes, or millions of hours for a thousand homes? Something smells fishy here. Oh, maybe it's rotting fish.

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