Publications2019-01-19T12:26:40-05:00

Recent Publications

Publications related to the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University published over the past years related to our WTERT organization.

200805

Use of Statistical Entropy and Life Cycle Analysis to Evaluate Global Warming Potential of Waste Management Systems

May 9th, 2008|

The statistical entropy (SE) function has been applied to waste treatment systems to account for dilution or concentration effects on metals. We later extended it to account for carbon flows, especially in waste management systems involving thermal treatment. Now, a simple lifecycle “net energy” metric – encompassing the “lost energy” that would have been gained when high-calorific materials are landfilled rather than combusted with energy recovery – is introduced to account for additional influxes of carbon when using landfilling as the primary disposal method. When combining net energy calculations and long terms effects of landfilling, waste to energy (WTE) becomes a more attractive option for dealing with non-recycled municipal solid waste (MSW). A greenhouse gasforcing factor is also introduced to account for the entropy generating effects of methane. When incorporating forcing and lost energy, WTE performs notably better than landfills with respect to entropy generation and carbon.

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200805

Potential for the First WTE Facility in Mumbai (Bombay) India

May 9th, 2008|

The city of Mumbai (Bombay), India is facing a solid waste management crisis. The infrastructure has been unable to keep pace with economic development and population growth, resulting in insufficient collection of municipal solid waste (MSW) and over-burdened dumps. Improper disposal of solid wastes over several decades and open burning of garbage have led to serious environmental pollution and health problems. This study examined the solid waste management process in Mumbai and the potential for implementation of waste-to-energy facilities.

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200805

Developments In Thermal Treatment Technologies

May 9th, 2008|

A 2007 WTERT survey showed that the global waste-to-energy capacity (WTE) increased in the period 2001-2007 by about 4 million metric tons per annum. By far, the principal technology used globally for energy recovery from municipal solid wastes is combustion of “as received” MSW on moving grates (“mass burn” or stocker technology). This paper also includes a brief report on the results of a study by WTERT on ways to increase beneficial uses of WTE ash in the U.S.

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200712

Potential for Reducing Global Methane Emissions From Landfills, 2000-2030

December 9th, 2007|

By E. Matthews, and Professor Nickolas J. Themelis Sardinia 2007, Eleventh International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium Global generation of municipal solid waste (MSW) is now ~1200 Tg/yr (1 Tg = 1012 g), >70% of which is landfilled. Landfilling of waste contributes ~30-35 Tg methane (CH4 )annually to the world's total CH4 emission of ~550 Tg/yr. Recycling and thermal treatment of waste in wasteto-energy (WtE) facilities contribute equally to diverting MSW from the waste stream destined for landfills and to mitigating CH4 emission. Waste generation is estimated to more than double by 2030 indicating that CH4 emission from waste will rise substantially in the absence of strong policies to reduce landfilling rates. To investigate the potential for future mitigation of methane emission from landfills, we developed reference projections of waste generation, recycling and landfill-gas capture, together with four WtE scenarios ranging from very conservative to very aggressive. Based on these scenarios, global 2030 CH4 emission, including reductions from recycling, range from 86 Tg (most conservative) to 27 Tg (most aggressive). WtE appears to provide the best option for limiting future waste-related emission.

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