Waste to Energy for Auckland?
Auckland currently sends to the landfill (according to the last lot of statistics) 1.1 MILLION tonnes of trash. That is a crap-load of trash being buried into our grounds. Councillor George Wood has just returned from Taipei where he (and the Mayor) checked out a municipal incinerator that burns Taipei City’s refuse (industrial, residential and commercial). Here is a translated version from George Wood on the Taipei City Incinerator:
It has been proposed by Councillor Wood that Auckland should investigate and if deemed feasible (a plant of the size of Taipei City costs $400m estimate) build such an incinerator for Auckland. I propose one better and go the full hog in building a Waste to Energy Incinerator to take care of our trashy trash! Basically that means the trash is burnt at extremely high heat (1000-1200C), the waste heat is then either used to boil water (good cooling circuit for a furnace burning at 1000c) to produce steam and crank that turbine for electricity generation or sent to heavy industry nearby for use, and the ash used to make bricks or roads.
To get more of an idea from WtE, check my previous article on the matter:
From “WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH:”
Council Continues to Debate Rubbish
HOW TO “TAKE CARE” OF THE TRASH
Strangely enough how to deal with waste that makes it to the landfills is very easy and the First World have mastered it quite well. Its called incineration folks and we already have a mothballed power plant ready to rock and roll. Yep you heard me right; what does not get recycled, composted or used as fill can be burnt with the ashes used as bricks or other materials as pointed out in the accompanying Wiki article. The wiki article along with its references, burning the rubbish – waste to energy seems to have quite few spin offs including being better for the environment gas emission wise:
In thermal WtE technologies, nearly all of the carbon content in the waste is emitted as carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere (when including final combustion of the products from pyrolysis and gasification; except when producing bio-char for fertilizer). Municipal solid waste (MSW) contain approximately the same mass fraction of carbon as CO2 itself (27%), so treatment of 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) of MSW produce approximately 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) of CO2.
In the event that the waste was landfilled, 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) of MSW would produce approximately 62 cubic metres (2,200 cu ft) methane via the anaerobic decomposition of the biodegradable part of the waste. This amount of methane has more than twice the global warming potential than the 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) of CO2, which would have been produced by combustion. In some countries, large amounts of landfill gas are collected, but still the global warming potential of the landfill gas emitted to atmosphere in e.g. the US in 1999 was approximately 32 % higher than the amount of CO2 that would have been emitted by combustion.
In addition, nearly all biodegradable waste is biomass. That is, it has biological origin. This material has been formed by plants using atmospheric CO2 typically within the last growing season. If these plants are regrown the CO2 emitted from their combustion will be taken out from the atmosphere once more.
Such considerations are the main reason why several countries administrate WtE of the biomass part of waste as renewable energy. The rest—mainly plastics and other oil and gas derived products—is generally treated as non-renewables.
LOCATION FOR SUCH A PLANT
Meremere which was designed to become a Waste to Energy Plant until the Greens stopped it (idiots) would be a good site with road, transport and power grid links all within easy reach. Basically trash goes by road or rail to Meremere, burnt, and the juice sent via the National Grid straight back up to Auckland. Simple
Southdown/Penrose has a gas fired co-generation power station (so produces power and steam for industrial use) already there connected to the National Grid and disused meat works site next door that needs major urban redevelopment. Like Meremere, Southdown sites with extremely easy reach of road, rail and power grid links but with the added bonus of having industry near by that would use the waste heat for their usage (ACI Glass being one example and only just down the road). The extra spin-off with Southdown is it is right in the middle of Auckland so no need for excessive waste transportation for incineration.
If you are concerned about the emissions from a waste to energy plant, then go read the wiki article and more to the point its references attached. It seems the developed world can handle it so we should be able to as well, because we are First or Third World folks?
Landfills = third world
Recycling, Composting and Waste to Energy = First World.
Zero Waste = near impossible as even Earth and the Sun produces some rather nasty waste from time to time (although the Universe has a knack at recycling too)
So Auckland Council, lets keep it simple please.
The Penrose site I have here below in this graphic:
Click for full resolution
The site highlighted is around 7.5 hectares, similar size to the 7.2ha site in Taipei City. The area I am proposing in Southdown is the old freezing works site long abandoned (since 1980) and burnt to the ground twice already. The area is in heavy industrial land (so no residential) right next to the North Auckland Line (rail), Southdown Co-generation Power Station, and the North Auckland transmission line (part of the National Grid). So with the right scrubbers and pollution control measures in place, this site at Southdown would be perfect for Auckland’s first Waste to Energy Plant with full road and rail access. And with the site right next to the power station and National Grid, the power produced from the WtE plant can be fed directly to Auckland and Northland with waste heat also able to be fed along the pipeline from the power station next door to industry. So cleaner for the environment, we get some juice, industry gets heat and the Roads of National Significance gets some ash for road building . I’d say that is a win-win-win for the city 😀
Now then, to get that investigation and plant building going so Auckland can take care of her trash!