Burning garbage for energy was not possible before we cleaned up.
There have been great strides in emissions capturing from waste garbage being incinerated for the energy. Much more efficient strides than siphoning methane deposits from landfills.
Burning garbage for energy is cleanly enabled with semi-dry flue gas scrubbers injecting lime, fabric filter baghouses, nitrogen oxide control system, mercury control system, and continuous emissions monitoring systems. Waste-to-energy facilities collect curbside garbage and burn it hotter than 1,700 degrees fahrenheit into power within minimal environmental impacts.
What is really rad about an energy-from-waste (EFW, also known as waste-to-energy) power plants is that the United States recycling habits are weak (agreed?). There is an unimaginably factual percentage of wasted products the United States piles up daily as a result. So, what if instead of burying our compost under the dirt like some sort of weird animal, we recycle our waste into the product of our energy resources… like some sort of intelligent humanoid.
Burning garbage for energy works the same way that burning coal and gas for energy works.
In Alexandria, VA there is a power plant inconspicuously burning garbage for energy demands of the grid. The modern looking plant of 3 furnaces spinning 2 steam turbine generators, built in the 1980s, is visible from the Van Dorn Street Metro station and is right within walking distance of an Alexandria elementary school. Inside the quiet common construct is some like 50 employees working with 1000 tons of garbage per day, collected from places like Washington D.C. and Maryland.
Covanta Energy operates the Alexandria EFW power plant and harnesses 23 megawatts a day there. Selling the power to Dominion Virginia Power Company, that energy is spread in the City of Alexandria and the county of Arlington. 300,000 resident’s, in 20,000 homes, electric demands are met by Covata Energy burning trash.
“Everything that the resident puts out on the street in a trash can comes here,” said Bryan Donnelly, the facility manager. That amounts to about 350,000 tons of municipal waste per year.
In addition to providing a sustainable solution of solid waste disposal they’ll also recycle all of the scrap metal that passes through their 3 furnaces. The metal is sifted through the aftermath ash via magnets and then sent off the be recycled into new stuff.
This map shows where Covanta’s EFW is being generated elsewhere in United States… Look at it: http://www.covantaenergy.com/facilities.aspx