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Comparison of Air Emissions From WTE and Fossil-Fueled Power

Publication date: September 2006. Waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities are generally more economical when compared to the three most common sources of fuel for energy production, but are they cleaner?

Additional Information:

The solid waste industry is frequently asked how waste-to-energy (WTE) technology fares on an emissions/environmental basis in comparison with three most common sources of fuel for energy generation:

  • Coal
  • Oil
  • Natural gas

Based on recent literature and project data:

  • WTE facilities emit significantly less carbon dioxide than any of the fossil fuel power plants.
  • They emit significantly less sulfur dioxide than coalfired or oil-fired power plants but more than power plants using natural gas.
  • With respect to nitrogen oxide emissions, WTE facilities are comparable to coal- and oil-fired power plants, but somewhat higher than natural gas-fired power plants.

Based on this information, the EPA has concluded that WTE power plants produce electricity “with less environmental impact than almost any other source of electricity.”

January 01, 2005
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