The sustainable use of urban solid waste is one of the challenges facing modern society. One viable alternative includes its use in electric power generation.
The lack of suitable areas for final disposal of such wastes causes the problem to be even bigger. For this reason, using residential or industrial waste as an energy source has proven to be a very interesting alternative for the world in recent decades.
In December 2010, ENEVA started a research with this focus, relying on the resources provided by the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
The consultant hired for the project will assess, in the Brazilian case, what can be recovered for power production in the solid waste chain, and which components have higher calorific value, and which techniques are most recommended.
The main energy generation technologies from solid waste include:
- anaerobic fermentation of solid waste – biodigesters or landfills with pipelines to collect the gas from the decomposition of organic matter by microorganisms (biogas). Such high calorific gases include methane (CH4), which is major greenhouse gas.
- and controlled incineration of solid waste – calorific gases extracted from the boiler where the waste is burned drive a turbogenerator and then are filtered before being discharged into the atmosphere. The decanted portion of this process can be used in the construction industry.
For the cities, a higher utilization of such energy from waste would generate new jobs and fewer landfills, thereby reducing the risks posed to human health and the environment.