Burn­ing waste ‘clean, ef­fi­cient’: CSIRO

The Queensland Times - - NEWS -

WASTE-TO-ENERGY plants are com­mon­place around the world and of­fer a source of clean, ef­fi­cient energy, ac­cord­ing to the lead­ing Aus­tralian science agency.

Mod­ern waste-to-energy plants in Europe, East Asia and the US have been shown to meet even the strictest emis­sions lim­its.

The Com­mon­wealth Sci­en­tific and In­dus­trial Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion says, in Aus­tralia, bioen­ergy ac­counts for just 0.9% of the elec­tric­ity out­put.

Aus­tralia is the only the OECD coun­try that hasn’t im­ple­mented a large-scale ‘waste-to-energy’ scheme, al­though a $200 mil­lion plant was this year pro­posed for Can­berra in an Aus­tralian-first.

That pro­posal raised con­cerns around air qual­ity.

But ac­cord­ing to the CSIRO, mod­ern waste-to-energy fa­cil­i­ties di­rectly re­duce green­house gas emis­sions from land­fill, which are 30 times more po­tent than car­bon diox­ide.

At the end of 2015, the United States had 71 waste-to-energy plants in op­er­a­tion, gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity in 20 states with a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 2.3 gi­gawatts, an in­de­pen­dent US energy or­gan­i­sa­tion says. The US Energy In­for­ma­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion says in 2014 about 258 mil­lion tonnes of garbage was gen­er­ated in the US; 53% of that went to land­fill, 35% was re­cy­cled and 13% was burned for energy.

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