Recovering energy from wastes
Synonyms: Harnessing energy of waste
Researching energy recovery options
Exploring energy recovery from wastes
Implementation: Typically, energy is recovered from waste by burning it in specially designed combusters. Heat exchange from the combustion gases produces hot water or steam, which is used directly to provide heat for buildings or other purposes, and/or to drive turbines to generate electricity. A year's waste from the average western home contains the power to heat 500 baths or to keep a tv on for 5000 hours. Two million tonnes of coal could be saved if the amount of waste to generate electricity was increased by just 10%. Plastics make up only 7% of domestic waste by weight but they provide 30% of the energy generated in recovery plants. Plastics have a relatively high calorific value per unit weight, and contribute positively to incineration behaviour and consequently to emission control. About 15% of all plastics waste in Western Europe was recovered through combustion with energy recovery in 1994. In 1992, Switzerland turned 72% of its plastic waste into energy. The Association of Plastics Manufacturers in Europe (APME) estimates that conversion of all non-recyclable, used plastics packaging into fuel would replace the equivalent of 10-14 million tonnes of oil. Mixed plastics waste as a fuel source for co-combustion with coal is the subject of research.
Type Classification: E: Emanations of other strategies