Incineration is best

25th October, 2009 - Posted by admin - Comments Off

Neville Martin the District Heating Manager of Shetland Heat Energy and Power Ltd says:

I am not happy on a lot of waste issues. All I ever seem to hear of is composting or new technology energy from waste plants that avoid the word “incineration”. I have a nice garden but have never used compost. I saw a paper a few weeks ago that said gassification of waste was better than incineration but the only reason why was that they could get a bit more electricity out of it as the assumption was the heat was going to be dumped. If the whole process was looked at the heat was used the report should have gone straight to an incinerator!

At Stornoway they have spent £10M on an anaerobic digester that produces 0.25MW of electricity from the methane with the same amount of heat going back into The system. The final product is a poor quality compost that is only fit for covering the landfill site! (see note) Most of that biomass is going to waste. For the same amount of waste we get 6.5MW of heat. I argue that poor quality compost should at the bottom of the waste heirachy except for landfill but I do not expect any change. The politicians and green lobby have lost the plot.

Note: A climatologist specialising in methane has told CCQ that it is very important to cover landfill sites with at least 1 metre of soil. Methanotrophic bacteria consume the methane released from the site.

Additional: from the New York Times Green Blog (April 12, 2010), “Europe Finds Clean Energy in Trash, but U.S. Lags“:

Planners [in Denmark] take pains to separate residential traffic from trucks delivering garbage, and some of the newest plants are encased in elaborate outer shells that resemble sculptures.

“New buyers are usually O.K. with the plant,” said Hans Rast, president of the homeowners’ association in Horsholm, who cut a distinguished figure in corduroy slacks and a V-neck sweater as he poured coffee in a living room of white couches and Oriental rugs.

“What they like is that they look out and see the forest,” he said. (The living rooms in this enclave of town houses face fields and trees, while the plant is roughly some 400 yards over a back fence that borders the homes’ carports). The lower heating costs don’t hurt, either. Eighty percent of Horsholm’s heat and 20 percent of its electricity come from burning trash.

Posted on: October 25, 2009

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