Feeds

Mine landfill for renewable energy, report

Load of old rubbish

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Rubbish dumps could supply up to a fifth of the UK's electricity, enough to power two million homes, by 2020, according to a report from UK engineers and green-energy lobbyists.

Peter Gerstrom, chairman of the Institute of Civil Engineers' board of waste management, warned that on current form, the UK will not meet EU targets for renewable energy. The EU Renewables Directive calls on member states to produce 10 per cent of their energy from renewable sources by 2010, and 20 per cent by 2020.

He argues that redirecting biodegradable waste from our landfills will have benefits aside from energy production: "Waste into energy will have environmental benefits by reducing the rubbish mountain. It also has the added bonus that recycling residual biodegradable waste in this way is an effective way of hitting the targets in the EU Landfill Directive.

"Instead of burying rubbish that is left after recycling it can be used to create electricity through a variety of measures," Gerstrom said.

These measures would include incineration of large quantities of the waste, which raises questions about acceptable levels of particulate pollution, and emission of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.

However, a spokeswoman for the Renewable Energy Association explains that much of the material being incinerated would have a closed carbon cycle. This means that they will only return to the atmosphere the carbon they used to grow, and that carbon will be pulled back out of the atmosphere when other plants are grown in their place. In total, burning this biomass will not add to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

"About sixty eight per cent of the calorific value of this waste we are talking about is biomass, which counts towards a CO2 emission saving. Of course plastics, which are derived from fossil fuels, do not count as an emission saving," she told us.

As for other emissions, she argues that any plant burning fuel will generate some particulate pollution: "It is a case of six of one, half a dozen of another," she said.

However, since the incineration of waste is more tightly regulated than burning coal, the pollution generated from burning in a waste incinerator should be lower, she added.

You can download the full report here. ®

Related stories

NEC swaps PCs for trees
BT goes green
Dell jumps on UK recycling bandwagon

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.