How to Use Garbage to Create Electricity

Creating Biogas from Waste Products
Waste into Wonder (photo credit: onesevenone via photopin cc)

Waste is a huge problem in the world, but new endeavors are formulating plans to use garbage as a useful resource. One of these is to convert waste into electricity.

There are many items around us that can generate heat, and surprisingly waste products are one of these. Heat generated from waste to create electric power is a great benefit to the earth because it can eliminate materials that ruin the ozone layer. Molecular thermoelectric devices can help harvest energy directly from the sun and reduce the need for photovoltaic cells that are used in solar panels.

Don’t Waste!

There is so much garbage on the planet that many countries wind up dumping their waste in lesser developed countries. This garbage, however, could be used to generate power so it is a resource that is being considered useful. Biofuel can be made from processed garbage, which would replace gasoline and decrease global carbon emissions by 80 per cent. Biofuels can be produced from living organisms or metabolic by-products (that is, organic or food waste products). For fuel to be regarded as a biofuel it must have over 80 per cent renewable materials.

The Benefits of Biogas

Biogas is a gas that is produced from organic matter. It is created by being broken down biologically to create electricity. It is a commonly used form of renewable energy, mainly used in domestic and industrial spheres. Biogas is a blend of carbon dioxide and methane, and it’s created by plant as well as animal waste. In the home, biogas is mainly used for cooking. It creates less pollution than traditional cooking gas.

The EGG Machine

You can get in on the action of turning your garbage into power by making an EGG – Electricity from Garbage Generator. This machine can produce electricity without harming the environment. It is easy to make and the bonus is that you can recycle your garbage instead of throwing it away. Make sure you only use organic materials from your trash, however.

What You’ll Need

A container. This will be used as the digester and it’s the place where your trash will be stored.
A second, larger container. This is where you will put the reservoir and water.
A bucket. This is your reservoir and it must therefore be smaller than the second container because it will be placed inside it.
Steam engine or cooker.
Hose. This will go from the reservoir to the steam engine or cooker.
Small stick. This is used to secure the hose in the reservoir.
Wire and ropes
Tap – this will control the exit of biogas from the reservoir.


  1. Using a pencil, draw a circle on the top of the digester (the smaller container) that fits the diameter of the hose. Take the knife and make a hole on the circle you’ve drawn.
  2. Cut the hose into two pieces, with one piece being longer than the other. The long piece will be used later to transfer the biogas from the reservoir to the boiler or cooker. The second piece will transfer the biogas from the digester to the reservoir.
  3. Push about seven inches of the short piece of hose into the digester through the hole you have made and seal the hole with the silicone to prevent the biogas from escaping.
  4. You can see a diagram for these steps here.
  5. Fill the big container with water.
  6. Fasten the hose from the digester and the longer piece of hose to a small stick. You can do this with the use of wire or rope. Remember not to make the fastening too tight as you want the biogas to move through the hoses.
  7. Make two holes on the the side of the bucket by using the hammer and nail.
  8. Secure the stick and two pieces of hose to the bucket using wires (you can loop the wire through the holes you made in step 6. Be sure that the stick and hoses are near the base of the bucket.
  9. You can see diagrams for the above steps here.
  10. Place the bucket upside down inside the large container that is filled with water. Push it to the base of the container so that you get rid of any air. Make sure that it is surrounded by water completely.
  11. Put a tap in the end of the long hose that will transfer the biogas from the reservoir to the boiler. This will control how much gas can exit.
  12. Put the digester on a stand so that it is higher than the reservoir. You can place trash in the digester with the use of a cone
  13. Place organic trash into the digester and wait for it to be consumed by bacteria. This is where the biogas is produced. It’s important to remember that this gas is flammable! Biogas produces CO2, however it creates 50 per cent more energy for the same amount of CO2 production when compared to gasoline, so it is not as much of an environmental pollutant.
  14. Once the biogas is produced, it is collected in the hose and stored in the reservoir.
  15. The hose will transmit the biogas over to the boiler in order to make electricity that can be used for various purposes, such as to heat water or cook.
  16. To make electricity, you will require a boiler and steam engine. The biogas will warm up the water to be boiled and then the steam will be transferred to the steam engine.


What are your favorite ways to use garbage in green ways? Tell us in the comments box below!