Burnley, Stephen; Phillips, Rhiannon; Coleman, Terry and Rampling, Terence
Energy implications of the thermal recovery of biodegradable municipal waste materials in the United Kingdom.
Waste Management, 31(9-10) pp. 1949–1959.
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Waste management policies and legislation in many developed countries call for a reduction in the quantity of biodegradable waste landfilled. Anaerobic digestion, combustion and gasification are options for managing biodegradable waste while generating renewable energy. However, very little research has been carried to establish the overall energy balance of the collection, preparation and energy recovery processes for different types of wastes. Without this information, it is impossible to determine the optimum method for managing a particular waste to recover renewable energy.
In this study, energy balances were carried out for the thermal processing of food waste, garden waste, wood, waste paper and the non-recyclable fraction of municipal waste. For all of these wastes, combustion in dedicated facilities or incineration with the municipal waste stream was the most energy-advantageous option. However, we identified a lack of reliable information on the energy consumed in collecting individual wastes and preparing the wastes for thermal processing. There was also little reliable information on the performance and efficiency of anaerobic digestion and gasification facilities for waste.
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