Waste Not, Want Not: Analyzing the Economic and Environmental Viability of Waste-to-Energy (WTE) Technology for Site-Specific Optimization of Renewable Energy Options
Description: Waste-to-energy (WTE) technology burns municipal solid waste (MSW) in an environmentally safe combustion system to generate electricity, provide district heat, and reduce the need for landfill disposal. While this technology has gained acceptance in Europe, it has yet to be commonly recognized as an option in the United States. Section 1 of this report provides an overview of WTE as a renewable energy technology and describes a high-level model developed to assess the feasibility of WTE at a site. Section 2 reviews results from previous life cycle assessment (LCA) studies of WTE, and then uses an LCA inventory tool to perform a screening-level analysis of cost, net energy production, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and conventional air pollution impacts of WTE for residual MSW in Boulder, Colorado. Section 3 of this report describes the federal regulations that govern the permitting, monitoring, and operating practices of MSW combustors and provides emissions limits for WTE projects.
Date: February 1, 2013
Creator: Funk, K.; Milford, J. & Simpkins, T.
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