Energy recovery from waste set to be a major sector says WBA
With increasing migration of population from rural to urban areas, the challenge of managing municipal solid waste (MSW) will be immense in the coming years. Against this background, World Bioenergy Association (WBA) suggests that energy recovery from waste (EfW) is set to become a major sector in the future.
The World Bioenergy Association (WBA), a global organisation dedicated to supporting and representing the wide range of actors in the bioenergy sector, has published a new fact sheet on Energy Recovery from Waste (EfW), a sector WBA says is set to grow enabling cities and regions to be energy secure, reduce dependency on fossil fuels and efficient utilisation of resources.
WBA point out that waste management should follow the waste hierarchy structure – reduce, reuse, recycle and recovery with the last option of disposal. Efficient utilization of resources is the first step followed by energy recovery also known as waste-to-energy (WtE) or Energy-from-Waste (EfW). According to WBA, advantages of including an EfW system are:
- It can reduce the volume of waste by up to 96 percent
- Production of heat and electricity along with solid waste management
- Better sanitation, lower risk of contamination and diseases
- WtE facilities are designed for high emission control
- It has climate change impact as producing energy from waste avoids potential emissions from landfilling
WBA also highlight that there are already various technologies and pathways existing in the conversion of waste to energy including incineration, gasification, pyrolysis and anaerobic digestion (AD).
However, the energy recovery from waste sector faces certain key challenges. The cost of conversion and feedstock logistics are some of the challenges which have to be addressed. These can be addressed via strong policies preventing dumping and incentivizing recycling and energy recovery.
Proper information dissemination among the general public is another way of promoting the increased use of technology. Good data on global waste production and utilisation is also another key challenge to be addressed.