Monday, April 18, 2011

Waste To Energy Doesn't Just Go Carbon Free. It's Carbon Negative!! Get it!

The Green Living Guy blog
Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 12:21PM
Source: Waste Management
Environmental journalism supports the protecti...Image via Wikipedia… The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stated that the nation's waste-to-energy plants produce electricity with "less environmental impact than almost any other source of electricity."
When a ton of trash is delivered to a waste-to-energy plant, several things happen: the energy content of the waste is retrieved, metals are recovered and recycled and electricity is generated….
EPA's Municipal Solid Waste Decision Support Tool has demonstrated that a modern waste-to-energy plant provides for the avoidance of greenhouse gases through three different operations:
  • For every megawatt of electricity generated through the combustion of solid waste, a megawatt of electricity from conventional, e.g., coal or oil-fired, power plants is avoided, creating a new savings of emissions of greenhouse gases, i.e., carbon dioxide.
  • A modern municipal waste-to-energy facility separates ferrous and/or nonferrous metals for recycling. This is more energy efficient than mining virgin materials for the production of new metals such as steel. As a result, there is a significant energy savings and additional avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Comparison of greenhouse gas emissions for mun...Image via WikipediaWhen a ton of solid waste is processed in a waste-to-energy facility, the methane that would have been generated if it were sent to a landfill is avoided. … Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, i.e., twenty-three times more potent than carbon dioxide.
In addition to the analysis using EPA's Decision Support Tool, a detailed, project analysis of a facility's contribution to solving the threat of global warming has been completed for a 1500-ton-per-day waste-to-energy facility in Saugus, Massachusetts.  The study determined about 270,00 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions are avoided annually because of this one waste-to-energy plant's operations. …
2007 EPA figures - Municipal Solid WasteImage via WikipediaThe U.S. Conference of Mayors, through the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, has embraced the contribution of waste-to-energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. …
In addition, the newly formed Global Roundtable on Climate Change (GROCC) unveiled a joint statement on February 20, 2007 identifying waste-to-energy as a means to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the electric generating sector and methane emissions from landfills. This important recognition from the GROCC, which brought together high-level, critical stakeholders from all regions of the world, lends further support that waste-to-energy plays an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
History of municipal solid waste generation an...Image via WikipediaThe breadth of support for the GROCC position is evidenced by those that have signed the joint statement, including Dr. James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and David Hawkins of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Climate Center, as well as entities as diverse as General Electric, Florida Power and Light, and Environmental Defense Fund.
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