R&A Energy Solutions CEO Joel Keller said using trash to create energy is self-sustaining and solves a big problem.

“We can make power for about the same price as we can make it from coal,” Keller said.

He’s been pursuing initiatives to convert trash into gas. The gas would be used to create electricity and valuable materials like chemicals, fertilizers or hydrogen through gasification, a process that uses heat and pressure, according to the Gasification Technologies Council at gasification.org. He’s also investigated the process of pyrolysis, or applying heat to drive off volatile matter creating charcoal, which can be burned for energy or used to fertilize fields, according to science.org.

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Keller said the processes could be applied to clean billions of gallons of toxic slurry, the byproduct of coal cleaned by coal companies.

Slurry stored at mining sites is known to pollute surrounding ground water, contain toxic chemicals and overflow into surrounding areas.

He also estimates gasification and pyrolysis could fill up to 30 percent of the nation’s demand for coal as well as do away with unsightly and air-polluting landfills.

Not to mention, it could be very profitable.

“We look to make the business of trash landfill-free,” Keller said.

Keller’s firm has been located in North Ridgeville for about 3½ years, though he said he’s yet to make any money. However, Keller is on the cusp of kicking off a roughly $21.5 million project in Clyde, Ohio while he continues development on four other initiatives in the state.

He is working with a staff of 18-20 full-time employees who contribute to the tax base in his hometown.

He said also said the projects would contribute to the regional economy as he opted against using pyrolysis or gasification equipment made by European or Asian vendors.

“The equipment is all made in the U.S.,” Keller said.

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Article courtesy cleveland.com

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