Spain: New Study Suggests Waste Could Supply 7% of Electicity
Science Daily reports that researchers from the University of Zaragoza (UNIZAR) have calculated the energy and economic potential of urban solid waste, sludge from water treatment plants, and livestock slurry for generating electricity in Spain.
The research into electricity generation comes in response to the European Union (EU) objective to fulfill the 20-20-20 package for the year 2020, which aims to substitute 20% of the total energy consumed in Spain with energy from renewable resources, reduce CO2 emissions by 20% compared to 1990 figures, increase biofuels used in transport by 10%, and achieve energy savings of 20%.
According to Norberto Fueyo, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Fluid Mechanics Group of the UNIZAR:
For Spain, each one of these targets alone is a challenge, which becomes much bigger when they are all taken together.
The most difficult objective is increasing the amount of biofuels used in transport by 10%.
It is not achievable and is socially and environmentally questionable, because of the amount of land it requires and because it means using foodstuffs to produce fuel.
Even if the biofuels target is met:
There will need to be an increase of around 45% in the contribution of renewables (including hydroelectric energy) to electricity generation in order to achieve a figure of 20% of renewable energy within total consumption.
But using waste to generate electricity presents interesting opportunities bringing economic and environmental advantages. In Spain, waste feedstock could generate between 8.13 and 20.95 TWh (terawatt hours). The researchers stress that the amount of methane generated from different kinds of residues is equivalent to 7.6% of gas consumption in 2008. According to the study, incineration is the least expensive way of generating electricity while anaerobic digestion is the most expensive.
The article is available here.
The report is available here.