THE EEC AND GLOBAL WTERT COUNCIL
The mission of the EEC of Columbia University is to identify and develop the most suitable means for managing various solid waste researches and disseminate the outcome of research information’s by means of publications, the Web information’s , technical meetings, workshops and conferences. This research helps as guidelines to university scholars and research scientists engaged in all aspects of waste management. Since the yr 2000, the EEC has produced more than 30 MS and PhD Thesis and published nearly 100 research papers in journals of repute.. In 2002, the EEC co-founded WTERT along with the Environmental Research Council (EEC) (www.wte.org), which is now the foremost research organization on the recovery of energy and metals from solid waste in the United States.
Outcome of efforts of EEC:
- Handling and management of over 1.2 billion tons of MSW as Landfills per annum.
- Strong advocacy for sanitary Land filling as continuous efforts for clean environment.
- Assessments and report obtained of about 80% of the world’s landfills are not equipped to capture landfill gas (LFG) and protect surface and ground waters from contamination.
Therefore, after painstaking efforts, meetings, deliberations and sharing of experiences across the world of best practices, in the yr 2008, the EEC arrived at some conclusions and proposed overall the Hierarchy of Waste Management that differentiates between existing methods of disposal of solid waste traditionally and by way of sanitary landfills.
WTERT is a non-profit making scientific and research organization that coordinates the actions of all 24 worldwide sister organizations, located in Greece, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the United States of America, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, India, Turkey, Kazakhstan, South Korea, UAE, Egypt, Colombia, Russia, Chile, Morocco, Israel, Czech Republic and Singapore. These organizations share one common goal: the application of state-of-the-art for sustainable waste management worldwide via direct contact with policy makers and governmental authorities in order to develop local environmental legislation and promote research of all waste treatment technologies. The main focus being on WTE as a renewable energy source that contributes to green development and earning of carbon credits worldwide.
The principal tool for disseminating information from the United States and other members of WTERT is obviously through IT network. The web addresses used all include the acronym WTERT (www.wtert.in, www.wtert.org, www.wtert.eu, www.wtert.gr, etc.) the advantage being that when one searches, for example, “WTERT-Italy” in Google or another search engine, one is immediately linked to WTERT organizations in different countries. Thus WTERT has become a valuable brand name and can be very helpful to people seeking information on waste management in a particular country (e.g., India) by using the acronym “WTERT” and the name of the country or its acronym (e.g., “in”).
The mission of WTERT is outlined below:
- To identify the best available technologies for the treatment of various waste materials.
- To conduct additional academic research as required.
- To disseminate this information by means of publications, the WTERT web pages, and periodic meetings.
In particular, WTERT strives to increase the global recovery of materials and energy from used solids by means of recycling, composting, WTE, and sanitary land filling with landfill gas utilization. The guiding principle is that responsible waste management must be based on science and state-of-the-art technology, rather than affordability, as inexpensive solutions today could become expensive issues in the future.
Above Image shows the previously accepted Hierarchy of Waste Management. However, WTERT understands that for practical or economic reasons it may not be possible to follow this hierarchy at all times and at all locations. For example, WTE requires a larger initial investment than a landfill and therefore may not be attainable at a certain stage of economic development of a community; in such a case, a sanitary landfill with LFG recovery would be the next most preferable option. Waste management solutions vary from region to region. Hopefully, through the new and powerful tool of the Internet, a global platform will be created to facilitate the sharing of experience, expertise, and information that will advance the goals of sustainable waste management worldwide. Also, the education of local communities, universities, NGOs, and policy makers is very important in order to explain to all stakeholders how to advance relevant sustainable waste management in developing nations around the globe. Therefore, the role of workshops, seminars, conferences, intensive courses, and so on, is crucial.
Waste to Energy (WTE) is an established option for municipal solid waste treatment, motivated both by the necessity to minimize the environmental stresses of land filling and the aim of increasing the share of renewable energy (Athanasiou et al., 2015; Gohlke, 2009). European Directive 2008/98/EC (European Commission, 2008) classifies WTE in the recovery category of the conceptual hierarchy of waste management options when the R1 criterion for energy efficiency was fulfilled (Athanasiou et al., 2015).
During the past decade, WTE Plants have been criticized for causing negative impacts on the environment and public health, but in reality they are equipped with sophisticated air pollution control (APC) systems in order to minimize and mitigate air pollutant emissions, which are strictly monitored (CEWEP, 2015). Directive 2000/76/EC made on the incineration of waste through WTE is one of the most stringently regulated and controlled industrial activities.
A study in the United States (Dwyer and Themelis, 2015) showed that, by 2012, the dioxin emissions of the U.S. WTE industry have been reduced to 0.54% of all controlled sources. Three major no controlled sources are responsible for 89% of total dioxin emissions: landfill fires, forest brush fires, and backyard burning.
In the last two decades, the WTE industry in Europe, North America, and Asia has developed technologies that are currently among the cleanest technologies as sources of thermoelectric energy. The dominant WTE technology is grate combustion for as received or post-recycled MSW for the production of electricity and heat. This method is practiced over 2000 WTE plants in over 45 nations. However, alternative processes, such as the Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB), are constantly under development. It is possible that one of more of these techniques may result in lower capital costs per ton of MSW processed than grate combustion. Therefore, proposals to build WTE plants should be open to all technologies, provided they meet the total required environmental criteria and standards.
The contractual arrangement for the construction of a WTE project must include the ironclad commitment of the specified contractor that the plant will operate at the specified Plant time availability (i.e., 8000 hours per year at full capacity), delivered at the specified rate of electricity per ton of MSW processed to the grid, and continuously meet the specified environmental standards. The host municipality also needs to be contractually committed to collect and provide the specified daily and annual tonnage of MSW to the WTE Plant .The calorific value of material also should be by and large assured and flexibility if any should be compensated.
It is strongly recommended that national governments must place sustainable waste management on priority list of essential infrastructure developmental projects; in addition the services for the sector waste management must be kept augmented.
The construction of the first WTE Plant in major cities of countries should be such as it becomes role model to be emulated by others and becomes a motivational factor to replicate the facilities. There are apprehensions about economic viability of WTE Plants, but we can assure , if proper technology and logistics are followed, they would not boost economy but save on many other detrimental accounts like health, contamination, clean environment, recycle and reuse of materials, inert residues reused etc .can save wasteful expenses on these count due to filth of waste in cities. In addition the precious land of cities, otherwise used for dumping can be saved. All this shall accelerate the sustainable development of the nation and will allow the nation to move towards more sustainable waste management.
The development of WTE facilities in nearly 45 nations across the globe has had a positive track record on improving the environment in the areas where these WTE Plants operate.