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Study: Technologies That Recover Energy From Waste Could Offer Environmental Benefits and Cost Savings for Communities

April 26, 2012 Comments off

Study: Technologies That Recover Energy From Waste Could Offer Environmental Benefits and Cost Savings for Communities
Source: American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) today released a new study showing that emerging new technologies designed to convert waste into fuels or raw materials offer environmental benefits and cost savings over landfill disposal. The release coincides with the North American Waste-to-Energy Conference or NAWTEC.

The study, “Environmental and Economic Analysis of Emerging Plastics Conversion Technologies,” sponsored by ACC’s Plastics Division and conducted by RTI International, examined two types of advanced conversion technologies: gasification and pyrolysis. Although both technologies are capable of processing a wide range of wastes, this study looked at gasification technology that accepts all municipal solid waste (MSW), including non-recycled plastics; and pyrolysis that handles non-recycled plastics only.

When compared to landfill disposal, RTI found that gasification of MSW saves 6.5 to 13 million Btu per ton and 0.3 to 0.6 tons of carbon equivalent emissions per ton. Similarly, pyrolysis, which converts plastics to oil or gas, saves 1.8 to 3.6 million Btu per ton and 0.15 to 0.25 tons of carbon equivalent per ton over landfill disposal.

“This study is the latest in a growing body of information showing that many of the things we’ve viewed as waste actually have tremendous potential as energy resources,” said Steve Russell, Vice President of Plastics for ACC. “As a complement to a robust recycling infrastructure, conversion technologies offer environmental benefits and cost savings over traditional waste disposal processes.”

+ Full Report (PDF)

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