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Waste to energy

Post in 'The Green Room' started by begreen, May 15, 2011.

  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'd prefer more localized incineration, but getting one of these permitted is probably a multi-year, difficult affair. The disadvantages of large, remote, centralized plants are long haul transport, power distant from the urban needs, more vulnerable to force majeure disruption.

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  2. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    er, no I didn't. Ive lived in a few places around southern Ontario, Chicago, now NW Indiana. We have sand dunes here too, hence the avatar :)
    I did work for a couple months at the military res near Falmouth, MA on that big Perchlorate problem they have in the groundwater there.
  3. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Sorry, I asumed from your sig line that you had lived here.
  4. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Waste incineration doesn't lend itself well to small scales is the largest problem. The amount of equipment needed to run a waste incinerator precludes scaling down in most instances.
  5. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Actually most types of paper make fairly poor fuel because of low density and because of binders in the paper. Usually it has to be supplemented with another fuel to get complete combustion and the high temperatures needed to burn off all the VOC's.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, I understand that line of thinking. My thought was to keep it in the county instead of 300+ miles away which is where the plan appears to be moving the landfill in 4 years or so. That would service the metropolitan area quite well and would produce a lot of power.

    On the other hand, Denmark appears to be doing well with smaller power incincerators that not only power the local community, they heat it too.
  7. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    According to some studies I've seen reported, there's a strong correlation between recycling and energy conservation. And, that we in the US are doing quite poorly in some material categories, resulting in greatly increased energy consumption. (Interesting graphs shown in Nat.Geo. article of a couple years ago.)
    Re burning garbage, the Netherlands simply can't afford to do that. Rather, they have national compost facilities, to generate topsoil and partly compensate for loss to the sea. Interesting railcars also for hauling compostables.
    Oh well, there are some companies, like in San Fran, that are showing the financial value of aggressive recycling efforts.
  8. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Denmark also has a high population density that doesn't exist in the US except for a very few select areas. Denmark has an average population density somewhere around 330 people/Square mile and the US has a density of 83 people/square mile (Approximately 4x the population density of the US). District heating only works well in very few instances. What works in Europe often time just won't work here due to factors that cannot be controlled.
  9. dougstove

    dougstove Member

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    If you look at the regions where most people live in the USA (or, even in Canada), the population densities are not far off European levels.
    Europe is fairly evenly populated over most of the continent, because most of Europe can support high densities.
    Large chunks of North America are still nearly empty because they are dry or frozen (no offence, NWT or Montana).

    So district heat plants could be feasible in many (not all) areas, if we wanted them.

    This graph shows it:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Population_density_with_key.png
  10. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Ours is about 2 miles from downtown and the SU campus well within city limits in a county with 587 people per square mile. The property is very well landscaped and maintained. I see it as an asset as opposed to a liability and I drive right along its property line every morning.
  11. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Feasible does not equal cost effective. Lots of things are feasible, they must also be cost effective to be viable.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I think the issue is more the lack of will to change and adopt new strategies in urban planning. Maybe we are just denser in the head here, victims of our own sprawl.
  13. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    Neither.......

    I reckon it comes down being used to cheap oil over the years.

    We were promised endless free power in the 1960's with North Sea oil and gas.

    Of course, neither happened in reality, but we did use it like it was endless and free, until it started to run out........

    But then, we have our own problems here with generating electricity with biomass, be it waste incinerating or wood fired power stations.

    It's far more cost effective if it does not need to be hauled long distances.

    So imagine the scenario where we are sending our local waste woodchips to Sweden, whilst importing woodchips from Scandinavia (which includes Sweden) to power own own local incinerator:

    http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/9029879.Woodchip_exports_to_warm_Swedish_homes/

    If you want dense, our local planners wrote the book and got the first prize with that one ;-)
  14. mainemac

    mainemac Member

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    BeGreen

    Good luck with this interesting topic
    Here in Portland 21 Communities do single stream recycling then trash is burned to generate
    100,000 Megawats of electricty via steam turbine
    No mention of heating.

    Ecomaine.org


    Tom
  15. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    If/When we get around to reclaiming the run down sections of our urban areas, hopefully we'll consider zone heating and power generation. The Europeans basically have to rebuild continuously inside the urban centers, because they really can't build outward. Still a lot cheaper to build something new than to rebuild a bunch of stuff in the city in the US of A.
  16. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    I doubt it's a 100k Megawatts. Grand Coulee Dam is only 8000 Megawatts and it could power an entire state. Kilowatts maybe.
  17. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Which is exactly the problem. Most cities without previous district heating infrastructure cannot afford the costs to go to district heating. Quite simply there is no payback for the costs involved.

    For example I did a lot of the engineering on the Seattle Steam biomass project and they mentioned that they can barely afford upkeep on their buried steam lines and could never afford to compete with other heating methods if the infrastructure did not exist. Additionally district heating is not always the most cost effective or energy efficient heating method.
  18. jimbom

    jimbom Combustion Analyzer

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    I supervised two steam heating district systems and reconstructed the outside plant on part of one of those. My calculations on both systems was 2/3 of the heat was lost in the distribution. This is the heat actually put into the systems. Does not take into consideration the efficiency of the boilers. And we had good boilers. The guys running the plants were experts. When we opened the boilers up every three years, the water sides were pristine. We did not return all condensate due to payback considerations. We ran year round steam trap repair/replacement programs and fixed every leak discovered. In addition, when we laid up the lines after heating season, we used nitrogen. All in all, a true environmentalist would do well to examine district heating systems with an open mind, an engineers evaluation, and an accountants approach. They may not be what they seem in all applications.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Still researching. The Danish units are producing 590KWh/ton of trash. There are lots of big plants in the megawatt range from what I have read. It even looks like there is a 16MW unit nearby in Spokane, WA. CT has a couple 67MW plants, FL and NY have 75-77MW plants and Lorton, VA has a big 4 unit plant producing 126MW! But the Portland Me facility appears to be a 14MW plant unless the specs are wrong here:

    http://www.wte.org/userfiles/file/ERC_2010_Directory.pdf

    http://spokanewastetoenergy.com/WastetoEnergy.htm
  20. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I just want a backyard unit that can produce six hundred KWH a month and I am off the grid. And the leaves and sticks from five acres of trees as well as the trash would be history.
  21. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'd much rather see us nuking trash than having to figure out what to do with nuke trash.
  23. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    We would not need many sticks and leaves here, we only use about 80kw per month.........

    Although if I was making my own power I'd probably use a bit more ;-)
  24. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Hmm, looks like solid waste is a "resource" now to the trash plants. Kind of an oxymoron.
  25. Medman

    Medman Feeling the Heat

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    Our community is hosting the development of a gasifying waste to energy plant at our landfill. This is new technology and relatively untested, so this plant is a beta site for the company. The problem here is that the government does not want to subsidize this type of energy, instead focusing on wind and solar pv. Companies that want to develop waste to energy that is efficient have no financial incentive to continue testing this technology here. I hope something changes soon, because the process looks promising.
    Links:
    http://www.sault-canada.com/development/index.aspx?l=0,3,43,53,235

    http://www.elementagroup.com/ElementaProcess/CleanEnergyCarbon.html

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