Waste Could Provide 7 Percent of Spain’s Electricity, Study Says

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The burning of solid urban waste, sludge from water treatment plants, and livestock slurry could generate more than 7 percent of Spain’s electricity needs, according to a new report.

Researchers at the University of Zaragoza say incineration of these materials has the potential to produce up to 20.95 terawatt hours annually. In 2008, that would have met 7.2 percent of the nation’s electricity demand, according to the report published in the journal Renewable Energy.

And burning solid urban waste rather than allowing it to reach landfill sites could prevent “pernicious” impacts, such as the release of methane and other gases into the atmosphere, researchers said.

“It gives added value to waste, because it can be seen as a type of fuel with zero cost, or even a negative cost if taxes are paid to collect it,” said Norberto Fueyo, a researcher at the university’s Fluid Mechanics Group and lead author of the study.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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