Burning waste ‘clean, efficient’: CSIRO
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.