Waste to Energy .... OK for PR ..... but not USVI
Had we not poo-pooed the Alpine Project we now could be enjoying some 24-7 renewable power plus resolving our landfill problem. But we don't trust what we don't know and that which is new. Wow is us.
PS. We did manage to suck out about $13M from Alpine before they folded their tents.
Had we not poo-pooed the Alpine project we would all be sucking in the toxins released into the environment, into our lungs, into our ocean, fish, onto our plants, vegetables and rooftops contaminating cistern water, well water, etc., all for the minuscule amount of energy they would have provided STX at the extremely high cost of transporting waste from STJ/STT/WI as well as on STX to the plant, just to provide a golden parachute for May Cornwall and her cronies. It was a bad idea then and it's a bad idea still. Do the research on the particulates that are emitted from these WTE plants and see if it's really worth it.
I am sure there were plenty of kickbacks to go around but there was also great educated public outcry about this fiasco to be.
Alana, Come on. They were going to use (mandated by the EPA) the best / current emissions control systems. These meet EU reg.s that are more strict than the USA. The current fleet of WAPA plants don't even use this technology .... but that reminds me that WAPA does need to make an upgrade to be compliant ..... which will again drive up the electric rates. Anyway. Bottomline is that total WAPA emissions would have been lower. But if you want Zero Emissions, let's get an SMR .... I'm all for that.
Most of the "Waste to Energy" facilities in the U.S. became operational between 1980 and 1996. Only three new plants have come on line since 1996 (2 in 1997 and 1 in 2000). To our knowledge, there are no new plants currently under construction. The primary reason for the slow-down in new "Waste to Energy" plants is the environmental concern involving existing plants. Most of these plants were installed without adequately addressing the environmental issues. Due to new emission standards some of these facilities have closed while the majority are undergoing major renovation. The "Waste to Energy" industry is currently in the middle of an $800 million plant upgrade to install adequate air quality control systems that will allow the facilities to meet current EPA standards. Because of their historical emission problems, the Incinerator plants have received and continue to receive significant resistance from environmental groups and negative reviews in the press. "Waste to Energy" Combustion processes have the following disadvantages when compared to the Recovered Energy System™:
Emissions of tars, furans, dioxins, char, VOC's, particulates and SOX are higher.
Combustion processes can only produce steam and electricity, whereas the synfuel from a gasification process can be used for many other applications. These processes use steam turbines are only half as efficient as combined cycle gas/steam turbines that are used by the Recovered Energy System™.
All of the inorganics contained in the waste come out as ash, which contains char and tars. The amount of inorganics can be as much as 25% by weight which means that landfills will continue to be required to dispose of the ash. The ash has very little use except as a road base because even though it is considered non-hazardous it still has an environmental impact and very few people will use it. The vitrified glass from the the Recovered Energy System™ process has no environmental impact and can be used in numerous applications.
Most "Waste to Energy" facilities require some form of pre-sorting. In order to reduce the volumes of ash, inorganics are sorted out. They cannot handle all types of waste as the Recovered Energy System™ does.
Here are a couple other links:
Burning waste has many negative environmental, social and health consequences:
Waste incinerators do all of the following:
Poison our environment, bodies, and food supply with toxic chemicals. Incinerators produce a variety of toxic discharges to the air, water and ground that are significant sources of a range of powerful pollutants, including dioxin and other chlorinated organic compounds that are well-known for their toxic impacts on human health and the environment. Many of these toxins enter the food supply and concentrate up through the food chain.
Produce toxic byproducts. In addition to air and water emissions, incinerators create toxic ash or slag that must then be landfilled. This ash contains heavy metals, dioxins, and other pollutants, making it too toxic to reuse, although industry often tries to do so.
Undermine waste prevention and recycling. The use of incinerators feeds a system in which a constant flow of resources needs to be pulled out of the Earth, processed in factories, shipped around the world, and burned in our communities. This one-way linear system of resource extraction, production, transportation, consumption and disposal is a system in crisis. We simply cannot sustain this pattern indefinitely on a finite planet.
Contribute to global climate change. Incinerators emit significant quantities of direct greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, that contribute to global climate change. They are also large sources of indirect greenhouse gases, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, non-methane volatile organic compounds, and sulfur dioxide. In fact, incinerators emit more CO2 per megawatt-hour than any fossil fuel-based power source - including coal-fired power plants! But their greatest contribution to climate change is through undermining waste prevention and recycling programs, and encouraging increased resource extraction.
Waste energy and destroy vast quantities of resources. People selling "waste-to-energy" incinerators claim that generating energy by burning trash is a win-win solution to our waste and energy crises. The truth, however, is that incinerators actually waste energy. When burning materials that could be reused, recycled, or composted, incinerators destroy the energy-saving potential of putting those materials to better use. Recycling, for instance, saves 3 to 5 times the energy that waste incinerator power plants generate. Incinerators are also net energy losers when the embodied energy of the burned materials is taken into account. For these reasons, "waste-to-energy" plants would be more aptly named "waste-of-energy" plants.
Drain money from local economies to pay for expensive, imported technology, and provide far fewer jobs than zero waste programs. Incinerators are bad for local economies. As the most expensive waste handling option, they compete with recycling and composting for financing and materials, and they only sustain 1 job for every 10 at a recycling facility.
Hide the evidence of dirty and unsustainable industries. Incinerators allow dirty industries to get rid of their toxic waste and hide the impacts of their practices. These industries depend on incineration to fuel our continued use of this system of unsustainable production and consumption.
Violate the principles of environmental justice. Incinerators are disproportionately sited in poor or rural communities and areas of least political power. There are currently hundreds of proposals to build incinerators in Africa, Asia, Latin America and elsewhere.
Better alternatives to incinerating materials exist, and many communities where people are organized into strong grassroots movements have been able to defeat incinerators. Most things can and should be safely and economically recycled or reused, and we also need to simply use less and redesign our products so that they are toxic-free and built to last. This is the heart of a zero waste strategy that eliminates the negative environmental, social and health impacts of incinerator use.
See this below link about “Waste to Energy" Myths vs. Facts.
Alana, have you seen the fluff which is then made into pellets? I have a sample. They also use it as potting soil in Tennesee. This is what was proposed to precondition the MSW prior to the boiler. So the fuel is much different than a standard mass-burn facility. The pollutants that would have been released are below EPA requirement and also the current WAPA plants.
Yes and we do see how well EPA stringent regulations have worked so far on our islands.Tssk, Tsk! I know they mean well.
Bottom line is that it is time to come up with new technology/cleaner renewable and not sell more antiquated technology that would have us consuming our first born and their siblings while we pay thru the nose for it.
OK then. You tell me what new technology is cost effective and can run 24 / 7 ? And who is going to buy it .... since WAPA and the USVI gov.t are broke. The only remote thing they are looking at is duel-fuel IC engine generators ( ..... that meet EPA reg.s), but no green-backs.