EPA Science Inventory

Is It Better to Burn or Bury Waste for Clean Electricity Generation?

Citation:

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).

Description:

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

Purpose/Objective:

Journal article

URLs/Downloads:

NRMRL RTP P 1001.PDF   (PDF,NA pp, 101 KB,  about PDF)

IS IT BETTER TO BURN OR BURY WASTE FOR CLEAN ELECTRICITY GENERATION?   Exit

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 03/15/2009
Completion Date: 03/15/2009
Record Last Revised: 03/17/2009
Record Created: 06/16/2008
Record Released: 06/16/2008
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 194163

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