Waste is not just a waste. It is not always garbage. We can reuse and recycle waste products. It can actually provide energy like fuel and electricity. Waste to energy (WtF) is a method used to create energy like electricity and heat by means of incineration of waste products or source. Waste to energy is also known as energy from waste which produces fuel like methane, ethanol or synthetic fuels. Although waste to energy is processed through combustion, there are also other ways of creating it.
There are 2 types of technology used for this process, thermal and non-thermal. Thermal technologies include gasification, pyrolysis, thermal depolymerization, and plasma arc gasification or PGP. The non-thermal technologies are anaerobic digestion, fermentation and mechanical biological treatment. In thermal technologies, most of the carbon content is emitted to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. This is when final combustion of the products came from pyrolysis and gasification. An example of gasification waste to energy system is the Biosphere Technology. It can ecologically and efficiently convert waste materials into green energy thus it greatly helps in waste management and green energy production.
For non-thermal technology, this occurs when the waste was landfilled because there is an anaerobic decomposition for the biodegradable (biomass) waste. The amount of methane from landfill gas produce more than twice than the combustion procedure. Also, most of the waste is biomass or originated biologically. There are 2 methods to determine the biomass fraction from waste fuels. The first one is through the radiocarbon dating and balance method. There are previous methods that were developed which are the selective dissolution method and manual sorting. There are actually several methods that were created before but they used the alternative method (radiocarbon dating and balance method) because the initial two has limitation.
Radiocarbon dating is also known as Carbon 14 where it can determine the biomass fraction waste precisely and the biomass calorific value. The balance method is the calculation of the most possible result and provides existing data on materials like the hb controls. Also the operating conditions of the plant for Waste to Energy. There are 431 Waste to Energy plants in Europe for the year 2005 and United States has 89 in 2004 according to ISWA According to ISWA or the International Solid Waste Association. Edmonton Municipal Waste-to-Ethanol gasification Plant is one example of WtF plants.
The following are some examples of waste incineration for Waste to Energy plants:
Dickerson Maryland – Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility (1995)
Vienna Austria – Spittlau and Flötzersteig (1963)
Sweden – SYSAV in Malmö (2003 and 2008)
Ontario Canada – Algonquin Power, Brampton
North East England – Teesside EfW plant Middleborough
Greater London England – Edmonton Incinerator