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Concept: Waste-to-energy


Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is an important, practical and challenging environmental subject. The processes of a MSWM system include household collection, transportation, treatment, material recycling, compost and disposal. A regional program of MSWM is more complicated owing to the involvement of multi-municipality and multi-facility issues. Therefore, an effective decision support system capable of solving regional MSWM problems is necessary for decision-makers. This article employs linear programming techniques to establish a MSWM decision support system (MSWM-DSS) that is able to determine the least costs of regional MSWM strategies. The results of investigating a real-world case in central Taiwan indicate that a regional program is more economical and efficient. For the redeployment of MSW streams, the relatively least cost of operation for the MSWM system can still be achieved through the re-estimation of the MSWM-DSS. This tool and results are useful for MSWM policy-making in central Taiwan.

Concepts: Decision theory, Waste management, Decision support system, Recycling, Waste-to-energy, Waste, Decision engineering, Compost


Municipal solid waste management is a multidisciplinary activity that includes generation, source separation, storage, collection, transfer and transport, processing and recovery, and, last but not least, disposal. The optimization of waste collection, through source separation, is compulsory where a landfill based management must be overcome. In this paper, a few aspects related to the implementation of a Web-GIS based system are analyzed. This approach is critically analyzed referring to the experience of two Italian case studies and two additional extra-European case studies. The first case is one of the best examples of selective collection optimization in Italy. The obtained efficiency is very high: 80% of waste is source separated for recycling purposes. In the second reference case, the local administration is going to be faced with the optimization of waste collection through Web-GIS oriented technologies for the first time. The starting scenario is far from an optimized management of municipal solid waste. The last two case studies concern pilot experiences in China and Malaysia. Each step of the Web-GIS oriented strategy is comparatively discussed referring to typical scenarios of developed and transient economies. The main result is that transient economies are ready to move toward Web oriented tools for MSW management, but this opportunity is not yet well exploited in the sector.

Concepts: Waste management, Recycling, Waste-to-energy, Waste, Waste collection


This study presents environmental air samples collected at a US military installation with a solid waste disposal facility (SWDF) containing a burn pit from 2005 through 2012 and compared these results with occupational (breathing zone) samples.

Concepts: Waste management, Recycling, Waste-to-energy, Waste, Biodegradable waste, Thermal treatment, Waste collection, Bagram Air Base


Brazil has a large population with a high waste generation. The municipal solid waste (MSW) generated is deposited mainly in landfills. However, a considerable fraction of the waste is still improperly disposed of in dumpsters. In order to overcome this inadequate deposition, it is necessary to seek alternative routes. Between these alternatives, it is possible to quote gasification and incineration. The objective of this study is to compare, from an energetic and economic point of view, these technologies, aiming at their possible implementation in Brazilian cities. A total of two configurations were evaluated: (i) waste incineration with energy recovery and electricity production in a steam cycle; and (ii) waste gasification, where the syngas produced is used as fuel in a boiler of a steam cycle for electricity production. Simulations were performed assuming the same amount of available waste for both configurations, with a composition corresponding to the MSW from Santo André, Brazil. The thermal efficiencies of the gasification and incineration configurations were 19.3% and 25.1%, respectively. The difference in the efficiencies was caused by the irreversibilities associated with the gasification process, and the additional electricity consumption in the waste treatment step. The economic analysis presented a cost of electrical energy produced of 0.113 (US$ kWh(-1)) and 0.139 (US$ kWh(-1)) for the incineration and gasification plants respectively.

Concepts: Waste management, Recycling, Coal, Incineration, Waste-to-energy, Biodegradable waste, Gasification, Waste treatment technology


The management of municipal solid waste (MSW) is one of the main costs incurred by local authorities in developing countries. According to some estimates, these costs can account for up to 50% of city government budgets. It is therefore of importance that policymakers, urban planners and practitioners have an adequate understanding of what these costs consist of, from collection to final waste disposal. This article focuses on a specific stage of the MSW value chain, the treatment of waste, and it aims to identify cost patterns associated with the implementation and operation of waste treatment approaches in developing Asian countries. An analysis of the capital (CAPEX) and operational expenditures (OPEX) of a number of facilities located in countries of the region was conducted based on a database gathering nearly 100 projects and which served as basis for assessing four technology categories: composting, anaerobic digestion (AD), thermal treatment, and the production of refuse-derived fuel (RDF). Among these, it was found that the least costly to invest, asa function of the capacity to process waste, are composting facilities, with an average CAPEX per ton of 21,493 USD2015/ton. Conversely, at the upper end featured incineration plants, with an average CAPEX of 81,880 USD2015/ton, with this treatment approach ranking by and large as the most capital intensive of the four categories assessed. OPEX figures of the plants, normalized and analyzed in the form of OPEX/ton, were also found to be higher for incineration than for biological treatment methods, although on this component differences amongst the technology groups were less pronounced than those observed for CAPEX. While the results indicated the existence of distinct cost implications for available treatment approaches in the developing Asian context, the analysis also underscored the importance of understanding the local context asa means to properly identify the cost structure of each specific plant. Moreover, even though CAPEX and OPEX figures are important elements to assess the costs of a waste treatment system, these should not be considered on a standalone basis for decision making purposes. In complement to this internal cost dimension, the broader impacts - to the economy, society and the environment - resulting from the adoption of a certain treatment approach should be properly understood and, ideally, measured and expressed in monetary terms.

Concepts: Cost, Anaerobic digestion, Waste management, Incineration, Waste-to-energy, Biodegradable waste, Mechanical biological treatment, Waste treatment technology


The residence of municipal solid waste within a landfill body results in a significant change of material properties. Experiences with the energetic utilisation of the burnable fractions from formerly landfilled waste are hardly documented, the influence of refuse derived fuels (RDF) from such materials on the performance of modern waste-to-energy plants is not sufficiently described in scientific literature. Therefore this study focuses on the energetic utilisation of refuse derived fuel from landfilled waste, processed in a mechanical waste treatment facility, and the impact of the material on the operation of the incineration plant. Additionally, the possibility of direct combustion of non-pre-treated excavated landfill material has been evaluated in the same facility. First, sampling and analysis of the fuel has been carried out. Based on this, a large-scale combustion experiment was planned and conducted in an industrial waste-to-energy plant. Steam mass flow rate, concentration of harmful substances in the raw gas, as well as total emissions of the facility have been monitored in detail. Furthermore, the influence of the landfilled material on the additive consumption has been determined. The combustion residues (bottom ash) were also sampled and analysed. Based on the evaluation of operating data and analysis of both fuel and residue, suitable thermal treatment approaches for the refuse-derived fuel and the non-pre-treated excavated material have been assessed.

Concepts: Waste management, Recycling, Incineration, Waste-to-energy, Biodegradable waste, Landfill, Waste treatment technology, Refuse-derived fuel


The economic and environmental impact of several waste-to-energy (WtE) schemes to produce electricity from municipal solid waste (MSW) refuse is evaluated and compared with landfill disposal. Both incineration and gasification alternatives are considered. The gasification option includes three different configurations: (1) a fluidized bed gasifier (FBG) with internal combustion engine (ICE), (2) a FBG with organic Rankine cycle (ORC) and (3) a grate gasifier with steam Rankine cycle (SRC). The study is primarily applied to regions where the management system is based on Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) plants, generating a large share of refuse (>70%), which is currently landfilled. The specific case of Andalusia, a region in the south of Spain with 23 MBT plants distributed over a region of 87.000 km2, where about 80% of municipal solid waste (MSW) is currently landfilled, is taken as main reference; thereafter, the study is further extended to preliminary assess other regions of some European landfill-dominated countries with similar characteristics. The results show that both incineration and gasification improve landfill disposal, contributing favorably to greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and fulfilling EU environmental regulations, although the three gasification options analyzed yield lower GHG emissions than incineration. In addition, gasification enables better integration of WtE into existing MBT plants, especially in the particular case of Andalusia, where MBT plants are widespread on the region, making it a more promising option than incineration, which is mainly based on large centralized plants, and less socially accepted. From the options analyzed, the WtE scheme based on FBG with ICE gives the highest profitability for a given gate fee, due to much higher electrical efficiency. However, FBG with ORC seems to be a better option in the short-term for landfill-dominated countries, due to its higher technical reliability and the low gate fee currently available in these countries.

Concepts: Waste management, Incineration, Waste-to-energy, Biodegradable waste, Gasification, Internal combustion engine, Organic Rankine Cycle, Rankine cycle


Currently, use and disposal of plastic by consumers through waste management activities in Ghana not only creates environmental problems, but also reinforces the notion of a wasteful society. The magnitude of this problem has led to increasing pressure from the public for efficient and practical measures to solve the waste problem. This paper analyses the impact of plastic use and disposal in Ghana. It emphasizes the need for commitment to proper management of the impacts of plastic waste and effective environmental management in the country. Sustainable Solid Waste Management (SSWM) is a critical problem for developing countries with regards to climate change and greenhouse gas emission, and also the general wellbeing of the populace. Key themes of this paper are producer responsibility and management of products at end of life. The paper proposes two theatrical recovery models that can be used to address the issue of sachet waste in Ghana.

Concepts: Environment, Climate change, Waste management, Recycling, Greenhouse gas, Waste-to-energy, Waste, Waste collection


Currently, the management of urban waste streams in developing countries is not optimized yet, and in many cases these wastes are disposed untreated in open dumps. This fact causes serious environmental and health problems due to the presence of contaminants and pathogens. Frequently, the use of specific low-cost strategies reduces the total amount of wastes. These strategies are mainly associated to the identification, separate collection and composting of specific organic waste streams, such as vegetable and fruit refuses from food markets and urban gardening activities. Concretely, in the Chimborazo Region (Ecuador), more than 80% of municipal solid waste is dumped into environment due to the lack of an efficient waste management strategy. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop a demonstration project at field scale in this region to evaluate the feasibility of implanting the composting technology not only for the management of the organic waste fluxes from food market and gardening activities to be scaled-up in other developing regions, but also to obtain an end-product with a commercial value as organic fertilizer. Three co-composting mixtures were prepared using market wastes mixed with pruning of trees and ornamental palms as bulking agents. Two piles were created using different proportions of market waste and prunings of trees and ornamental palms: pile 1 (50:33:17) with a C/N ratio 25; pile 2: (60:30:10) with C/N ratio 24 and pile 3 (75:0:25) with C/N ratio 33), prepared with market waste and prunings of ornamental palm. Throughout the process, the temperature of the mixtures was monitored and organic matter evolution was determined using thermogravimetric and chemical techniques. Additionally, physico-chemical, chemical and agronomic parameters were determined to evaluate compost quality. The results obtained indicated that all the piles showed a suitable development of the composting process, with a significant organic matter decomposition, reached in a shorter period of time in pile 3. At the end of the process, all the composts showed absence of phytotoxicity and suitable agronomic properties for their use as organic fertilizers. This reflects the viability of the proposed alternative to be scaled-up in developing areas, not only to manage and recycle urban waste fluxes, but also to obtain organic fertilizers, including added value in economic terms related to nutrient contents.

Concepts: Fertilizer, Waste management, Recycling, Waste-to-energy, Waste, Biodegradable waste, Compost, Composting


In light of the widespread presence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the environment, a comprehensive laboratory-scale study has developed data requested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine whether municipal and/or medical waste incineration of commercial fluorotelomer-based polymers (FTBPs) at end of life is a potential source of PFOA that may contribute to environmental and human exposures. The study was divided into two phases (I and II) and conducted in accordance with EPA Good Laboratory Practices (GLPs) as described in the quality assurance project plan (QAPP) for each phase. Phase I testing determined that the PFOA transport efficiency across the thermal reactor system to be used in Phase II was greater than 90%. Operating at 1000°C over 2s residence time with 3.2-6.6mgdscm(-1) hydrogen fluoride (HF), corrected to 7% oxygen (O2), and continuously monitored exhaust oxygen of 13%, Phase II testing of the FTBP composites in this thermal reactor system yielded results demonstrating that waste incineration of fluorotelomer-based polymers does not result in the formation of detectable levels of PFOA under conditions representative of typical municipal waste combustor (MWC) and medical waste incinerator (MWI) operations in the U.S. Therefore, waste incineration of these polymers is not expected to be a source of PFOA in the environment.

Concepts: Waste management, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Recycling, Environmentalism, Incineration, Waste-to-energy, Biodegradable waste, District heating