Gainesville waste to energy

From Trash to Treasure: Unveiling the Power of Waste-to-Energy Solutions

What is waste-to-energy

In short, energy recovery consists of recovering and valorizing the energy produced during the processing of waste in the form of heat, electricity or even fuel. While sustainable development and ecological transition are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of the French, this process could well be a key lever for a greener future. This process can help reach the zero waste goal and reduce landfill pollution!

Recycling waste: what does it involve

To better understand what energy recovery consists of, let’s take a quick detour to the dictionary and more precisely, to the verb valorize. Adding value consists of giving, making something gain value. In other words, your waste (and bio-waste) has a value that you may not have suspected and we tell you everything.

Waste-to-energy is a process of using waste as a source of energy rather than disposing of it conventionally. In other words, it involves transforming waste into exploitable energy resources, thus contributing to reducing dependence on fossil fuels and solid waste.

Waste can be recovered for energy in several ways, but the main objective is always to recover energy in the form of heat, electricity or fuel. This process has many advantages, both environmentally and economically. Please note, the addition of the term energy is important. Indeed, bio-waste can also be recovered through composting. Although the product of this process can be very useful for powering the soil, for example, it is not a source of energy.

What are the methods of energy recovery from waste

There are several solutions for energy recovery from waste, including incineration with energy recovery. This is one of the most common methods of waste-to-energy. It consists of burning waste at high temperatures, a combustion which generates heat. This heat can be used to produce steam, which then powers turbines to produce electricity. But be careful, not all incinerators produce energy and when they simply burn our waste, they cause significant pollution.

The status of energy recovery operation is only granted to incinerators achieving minimum energy performance. According to the EPA, Florida currently has 17 household waste incineration installations, of which 97% in capacity produce energy.

Anaerobic digestion is another waste recovery process which consists of transforming organic matter from waste into biogas. This biogas can be used as an energy source, either to produce heat or to generate electricity. Anaerobic digestion is particularly suitable for food waste and organic waste. Biogas, once purified, is called biomethane, a gas which can be injected into the traditional natural gas network in order to supply all of our homes. It can also be transformed into bioNGV and thus used as fuel.

As mentioned by waste experts at the Gainesville Dumpster Rental Center, a Floridian waste management company, pyrolysis is a process of heating waste in the absence of oxygen, which results in producing a synthesis gas and a solid residue called charcoal. Syngas can be used to produce electricity or as a feedstock for the production of synthetic fuels.

In short, there are numerous methods for recovering all household waste, whether of organic origin or not. Moreover, we can also cite thermochemical valorization (to produce hydrogen, syngas or basic chemicals), valorization by gasification (to produce syngas or fuels, etc.), or even recovery through energy recovery (to produce solid or liquid fuels, etc.).

The advantages of energy recovery

Waste-to-energy has many benefits, making it an attractive approach to waste management. By using waste as an energy source, waste recovery helps reduce the demand for fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, which cause a significant amount of carbon emissions. This process also makes it possible to produce 100% renewable energy and therefore contributes to diversifying the energy mix and promoting a transition towards more sustainable energy sources.

Recycling and recovering residual waste, from households or even the industrial sector, also means reducing pressure on landfill sites, extending their duration and preventing pollution of soil and groundwater associated with landfilling waste. Moreover, burying bio-waste results in the production of methane, a gas responsible for a considerable part of atmospheric pollution. So less waste buried = a reduced carbon footprint.

Energy recovery in Florida

According to figures from the EPA, 1.2 TWh of renewable and recovery heat were produced in Florida in 2021. But that’s not all:

  • There are 17 waste-to-energy units, among a fleet of 18 household waste incineration units, which produce energy (heat and/or electricity in cogeneration)
  • 8 waste-to-energy units are connected to a heating network. They thus provide the first source of renewable and recovery energy for these networks
  • In 2020, the waste-to-energy sector represented 1,100 new direct and indirect jobs

Waste-to-energy is an effective and sustainable approach to managing our waste while contributing to energy production, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and preserving the environment. Responsible waste management is essential to ensure a cleaner, more sustainable future for our planet. Energy recovery represents an important step in this direction. This is also why in accordance with the anti-waste law, the sorting, recycling, and recovery of bio-waste will be generalized and will concern both professionals and individuals in florida.