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Energy Forum 3: Waste to Energy (WTE)

Researchers
Prof. Ofira Ayalon , Yifaat Baron , Prof. Gershon Grossman , Prof. Yoram Avnimelech
Cite As:
Ayalon Ofira , Baron Yifaat , Grossman Gershon , Avnimelech Yoram . Energy Forum 3: Waste to Energy (WTE) Haifa Israel: Samuel Neaman Institute, 2006. https://www.neaman.org.il/EN/EF3-Waste-to-Energy-WTE

The Samuel Neaman Institute for Advanced Research in Science and Technology, within the framework of its activity in the energy field, conducts meetings of the “Energy Forum”, devoted to discussions and debate over energy related issues of national importace.

The Energy Forum holds focused discussions regarding specified themes, and teams of subject-matter experts are invited to participate. The aim of these focused debates is to deliberate over specific and relevant questions; enable dialogue and coordination between participating bodies; and develop recommendations on implementation strategies for advancing the subject at hand that could then be presented to decision-makers.

The third thematic meeting of the Energy Forum was devoted to the subject of “Waste-to-Energy” (WTE), which was held on October 23rd 2006. Over twenty subject matter experts took part in the discussion. A substantial part of the discussion centered around the policy of the Ministry of Environmental Protection that requires at least 25% of the solid-waste in Israel to be used for energy generation by 2020.

During the first part of the meeting several participants presented information on worldwide and Israeli activities in the area of WTE, discussing technological and economic considerations along with incentives offered by different nations to encourage integrated treatment and production of energy streams from solid waste.

A complete record of the presentations can be found

During the second part of the meeting the participants engaged in an open discussion of the issues presented and the operative conclusions that could be derived from them.

This brief synopsis provides highlights of the ‘Summary and Conclusions’ chapter from the full report (in Hebrew). The goal is to present these recommendations to decision makers and create the momentum for placing the State of Israel in the forefront of nations developing efficient energy systems. Forum participants were in complete agreement about the need for public awareness campaigns, hoping that it will serve as a “call to action” for regulators and government legislators.
The Samuel Neaman Institute for Advanced Research in Science and Technology, within the framework of its activity in the energy field, conducts meetings of the “Energy Forum”, devoted to discussions and debate over energy related issues of national importace.

The Energy Forum holds focused discussions regarding specified themes, and teams of subject-matter experts are invited to participate. The aim of these focused debates is to deliberate over specific and relevant questions; enable dialogue and coordination between participating bodies; and develop recommendations on implementation strategies for advancing the subject at hand that could then be presented to decision-makers.

The third thematic meeting of the Energy Forum was devoted to the subject of “Waste-to-Energy” (WTE), which was held on October 23rd 2006. Over twenty subject matter experts took part in the discussion. A substantial part of the discussion centered around the policy of the Ministry of Environmental Protection that requires at least 25% of the solid-waste in Israel to be used for energy generation by 2020.

During the first part of the meeting several participants presented information on worldwide and Israeli activities in the area of WTE, discussing technological and economic considerations along with incentives offered by different nations to encourage integrated treatment and production of energy streams from solid waste.

A complete record of the presentations can be found here.

During the second part of the meeting the participants engaged in an open discussion of the issues presented and the operative conclusions that could be derived from them.

This brief synopsis provides highlights of the ‘Summary and Conclusions’ chapter from the full report (in Hebrew). The goal is to present these recommendations to decision makers and create the momentum for placing the State of Israel in the forefront of nations developing efficient energy systems. Forum participants were in complete agreement about the need for public awareness campaigns, hoping that it will serve as a “call to action” for regulators and government legislators.

 


Summary and Conclusions

 

Production of energy streams from waste can be accomplished by two main categories of methods:
* Biological methods- methanogenic fermentation of biological degradable organic matter (where the methane rich biogas produced can be used for energy generation).
* Physical and chemical methods- recovering energy from waste materials.
These methods include: Incineration (mass burning), gasification, pyrolysis, plasma and steam reforming. In addition, it is possible to use high-energy materials (paper, plastic and cardboard) as direct energy sources in producing cement.
In Europe, waste management systems are integrated by using : source separation, reuse, recycling, and WTE technologies, in order to reduce the total amount of waste reaching landfills.

The acknowledgment that land-filling degradable organic matter is a major source of greenhouse gases, has driven European countries towards gradual reduction of organic waste that is sent to landfills and increased amount of waste that is being either recycled or recovered by WTE technologies.

Policy Issues: The European Parliament Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC has set the framework for dealing with organic waste, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By 2010 the European’s union countries have to reduce biodegradable municipal waste landfilled to 35% of that produced in 1995.
The European Parliament Directive 94/62/EC (and the amending Directive 2004/12/EC) has set the framework for encouraging the use of materials derived from recycled packaging waste for the manufacturing of packaging material and other products. The directive determines that no later than 31 December 2008, the following recycling targets must be met for materials contained in packaging waste: 60% by weight for glass, 60% by weight for paper and board, 50% by weight for metals, 22.5% by weight for plastics and 15% by weight for wood. Data from European countries indicates that 30-40% of the total waste volume is being recovered by WTE technologies.

In Israel the total potential of degradable organic materials that can be used for producing energy streams (using biological methods) is:
- Municipal waste (1.5 million ton/year of wet organic matter),
- Animal manures (800,000 ton/year of wet organic matter),
- Sludge (200,000 ton/year),
- Garden waste (219,000 ton/year dry matter).

 

Moreover, packaging and packaging waste comprise 30% of the municipal waste with about 1 million tons of waste that can be recovered by physical WTE technologies

 

The main obstacles that limit widespread implementation of WTE facilities in Israel are mainly:
i. Low cost of “tipping fees” for landfilling, which doesn’t encourage alternative energy initiatives due to high financial barriers;
ii. Lack of uniform and transparent policies and generic emissions standards for WTE facilities; and
iii. NIMBY- public objection to the nearby placement of undesired waste management facilities.

 

Recommendations

 

In general, the government should, first and foremost, implement its own decisions and work towards encouraging independent energy producers, in general, and energy generation by WTE technologies, in particular. By doing so, the overall energy generation capacity will increase, the dependence of Israel on imported fossil fuels will be reduced and a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will occur.

 

The recommendations of the Forum:

 

  1. Municipal (solid waste and sludge) and agricultural waste can be used as an energy source in Israel. However, the WTE facilities must operate under strict standards, which will minimize environmental impact and adhere to the precaution principle.
  2. Setting and implementing emission standards for industrial facilities including waste treatment facilities is necessary. The emission standards should be transparent and provide a time-line and monitoring methods for implementation and compliance (instead of using business licensing and personal directives).
  3. Public cooperation ought to be implemented from the initial steps rather than ‘post factum’. There must be a transparent public process, which introduces the project, its potential impacts and mitigation measures, in order to prevent future conflicts.
  4. Implementation of a landfill tax should be encouraged in order to incorporate the cost of the potential environmental damage caused by landfilling and thereby encourage alternative technologies for waste treatment.

In order to implement these recommendations, it is suggested that the industry representatives along with the other forum participants and the Samuel Neaman Institute representative will initiate an engagement process with The Ministry of Environmental Protection, The Ministry of National Infrastructure and The Finance Ministry in order to discuss and coordinate the necessary means for establishing a proper framework for WTE facilities in Israel.

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