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Is It Better to Burn or Bury Waste for Clean Electricity Generation?
KAPLAN, P. O., J. DECAROLIS, AND S. THORNELOE. Is It Better to Burn or Bury Waste for Clean Electricity Generation? ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 43(6):1711-1717, (2009).
The generation of electricity through renewables has increased 5% since 2002. Although considerably less prominent than solar and wind, the use of municipal solid waste (MSW) to generate electricity represents roughly 14 percent of U.S. non-hydro renewable electricity generation. Among many alternatives, landfill gas to energy (LFGTE) and waste-to-energy (WTE) receives significant attention. The goal of this paper is to present a comprehensive set of life-cycle emission factors per unit of electricity generated for LFGTE and WTE and provide sensitivity of results to key parameters such as landfill gas management schedule, system efficiency of WTE, and composition of MSW. While the methane from landfills results from the anaerobic breakdown of biogenic materials, the energy derived from WTE results from combustion of both biogenic and fossil materials. Even with carbon sequestration in landfills due to significant methane leakage, major CO2e emissions were found to result from landfills. Given methane has a global warming potential of 21 times CO2, the overall greenhouse gas impact of LFGTE is larger than WTE. The CO2e emissions from WTE varied from 0.36 to 1.45 MTCO2e, whereas the CO2e emissions from LFGTE varied from 2.27 to 5.36 MTCO2e. In addition, criteria emissions are quantified and analyzed
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IS IT BETTER TO BURN OR BURY WASTE FOR CLEAN ELECTRICITY GENERATION? Exit
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY
AIR POLLUTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL DIVISION
ATMOSPHERIC PROTECTION BRANCH