|A waste-fueled power station. |
Image courtesy of the Waste Management Authority.
The Minister for Environment has requested the Waste Authority and Environmental Protection Authority to work together to provide him with advice on the environmental and health performance of waste to energy facilities, internationally.
Waste to energy facilities convert non-hazardous and non-recyclable waste to energy (heat), which can then be used to create electricity.
As part of the project, the Department of Environment and Conservation's Waste Management Branch is commissioning an international review of existing waste to energy facilities. The focus of the review will be on the processing of mixed non-hazardous waste (including municipal refuse and commercial waste) and low level hazardous waste such as tyres, paints and common solvents. It will not be considering high level hazardous waste or hospital waste.
The review will examine a range of operating facilities employing a variety of waste to energy technologies including incineration, gasification, and pyrolysis, across a number of jurisdictions in Europe, the United State, Japan and Australia. It will develop a comprehensive profile of a number of facilities, examining their feedstock, design, operation, and emissions, and the regulatory framework under which they operate.
EPA Chairman, Dr Paul Vogel, said the information obtained through the review would provide an important base to support the EPA’s assessment of a number of recently referred waste to energy facilities.
Waste Authority Chairman, Mr Peter Fitzpatrick, said that the Waste Authority welcomed the opportunity to work closely with the EPA to provide the advice to the Minister.
“The Waste Authority recognises waste to energy as sitting in the recovery section of the waste hierarchy and is keen to work with proponents on ensuring the best value can be drawn from waste to ensure maximum resource recovery.”
The advice to the Minister will be published by the Environmental Protection Authority under section 16(e) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986, and is expected to be finalised by the end of 2012.