Instead of hauling food waste to landfills, we might want to use that organic waste to power garbage trucks, your car, truck or SUV while at the same time potentially helping the environment.
Organic waste such as yard trimmings, paper, wood and food produces millions of tons of methane emissions at landfills every year in the U.S., but it could produce renewable natural gas and liquid fuels such as gasoline and diesel, according to a study led by Uisung Lee of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory. His paper, published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, helps assess the environmental benefits of various waste-to-energy production pathways while avoiding emissions of methane and other harmful air pollutants.
“By using waste to produce energy, we can avoid emissions from landfills and potentially reduce the need for additional landfills across the country.” – Uisung Lee, Argonne postdoctoral appointee, Energy Systems Division
“Our study shows that using what would otherwise become landfill waste to produce fuel typically generates less greenhouse gases than simply letting the waste decompose,” said Lee, a postdoctoral appointee in Argonne’s Energy Systems Division.
This is because landfill gas from waste contains high concentrations of methane, which has about 30 times higher global warming impact compared to carbon dioxide. Although the operators of large landfills are required to combust landfill gas, it is impossible to perfectly collect the gas and there is still a large amount of non-captured methane escaping into the atmosphere.
Methods to produce fuel from municipal waste include biochemical, such as anaerobic digestion and fermentation, and thermochemical, such as hydrothermal liquefaction, pyrolysis and gasification. The resulting energy products include renewable natural gas, bio-char, bio-oil and hydrocarbon fuels (gasoline, diesel and jet fuel).
Fortunately, the supply of organic waste is abundant, according to Lee.
“By using waste to produce energy, we can avoid emissions from landfills and potentially reduce the need for additional landfills across the country,” said Lee, adding that in 2014 we hauled an annual estimated 32 million metric tons of food waste resources to landfills, or about 70 trillion pounds of waste, according to the Department of Energy.
In 2015, the amount of greenhouse gases that escaped from landfills equaled almost 116 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That has the same global warming potential as 29 million passenger cars that average 26 miles per gallon driven 12,000 miles per year, according to calculations by Lee based on statistics provided by the EPA.
Lee’s study observed that we can collect waste feedstock using current infrastructure for collection and separation, which further lowers the cost of waste-derived energy. In addition, waste feedstocks are available at low or even negative prices if one considers tipping fees, according to a recent DOE report. (Tipping fees at landfills offset operating costs.)
The study also showed that converting waste to energy has environmental benefits compared to typical landfills that collect and combust landfill gas. Moreover, the environmental benefits are more significant when researchers apply the approach to waste that would otherwise be taken to smaller landfills that collect lower amounts of methane, releasing much of it instead, Lee said. He also noted that diverting and using wastes from smaller landfills could result in additional economic, logistical and operational challenges.
“These are the areas where we can realize the greatest environmental benefits while also producing transportation fuels,” Lee said. Transportation fuels that displace fossil fuels can enhance energy independence and reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, he added.
The Latest on: Waste-to-energy technologies
- Travel Company Grupo Piñero Pushes Sustainability with Energy, Waste Planson May 25, 2022 at 9:24 am
With sustainability a growing priority in the travel industry, Spanish tourism company Grupo Piñero is ramping up its goals with a focus on energy efficiency in an effort to decarbonize its hotels.
- Sharjah opens region’s first commercial-scale waste-to-energy planton May 24, 2022 at 8:27 am
The region's first waste-to-energy plant, which will be able to divert up to 300,000 tonnes of waste away from landfills each year, has been opened in Sharjah. The Sharjah Waste to Energy plant has ...
- Mote to develop a new wood waste-to-hydrogen production facility in California, USon May 24, 2022 at 5:00 am
An innovative facility that can convert wood waste into carbon-negative hydrogen is set to be developed in California, US. Revealed today (May 24) by developers Mote, the company engaged Fluor, an ...
- Global Waste to Energy Market Forecast to 2029 - Featuring Waste Management, Hitachi Zosen and Xcel Energy Among Otherson May 24, 2022 at 4:12 am
The "Global Waste to Energy Market, Forecast to 2029" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. The Waste to Energy market was valued at 53.6 billion US$ in 2021 and is projected to ...
- Waste To Diesel Market Will Hit Big Revenues in Future | Green Alliance, Covanta Energy, Plastic2Oilon May 18, 2022 at 11:19 am
The Latest research study released by HTF MI “Global Waste To Diesel Market” with 100+ pages of analysis on business Strategy taken up by key and emerging ...
- Raven SR expands waste-to-hydrogen technology into Australia with partnershipon May 17, 2022 at 8:21 am
“Our scalable waste-to-energy design will provide for local production and ... who has led with great determination and action to advance technology that will revolutionise how we manage waste across ...
- Waste-To-Energy Technologies Market Size: Industry Development Scenario And Forecast 2022-2031on May 11, 2022 at 5:16 am
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan, Japan, May 11, 2022, 05:39 /Comserve / -- Waste-to-Energy Technologies Market size, share, growth, trends, segmentation, top key players ...
- Waste to Energy Market: Industry Regional Developments, Demands and Companies Forecasts, Geographical Segmentation, Investment Opportunities Till 2029on May 9, 2022 at 11:57 pm
Waste to Energy Market Size, Share and Global Trend By Technology (Thermo-chemical, Biochemical), By Waste Type (Municipal Solid Waste, Process Waste, Agriculture Waste), By Application ...
- Ghana’s first hybrid waste to energy power plant inauguratedon April 30, 2022 at 1:02 pm
“The technologies offered on the project will ... and the conversion of various fractions of municipal solid waste into energy. Dr. Stefan Kaufmann, a Representative of the German Federal ...
- Waste to Energy Market Analysis and Forecast by Key Players, Share, Trend, Segmentation to 2027on April 28, 2022 at 8:44 pm
The Waste to Energy Market is divided into three categories based on technology: physical, thermal, and biological. In 2020, the Thermal Technology sector had the biggest market share with 81 percent.
via Google News and Bing News