Waste-to-Energy Map Shows Slow, Steady Progress
EghtesadOnline: In the next budget bill, $74 million will be earmarked for generating energy from waste, lawmaker Qasem Ahmadi Lashaki said.
“Annually, 21 million tons of household waste, 32 million tons industrial waste, 8 million tons of hazardous waste and 170,000 tons of medical waste are produced inside the country,” Energy Today website quoted the Noshahr and Chalus MP as saying.
“Despite efforts in the past to improve waste management, we are far from our objectives due to the lack of funds and infrastructure,” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
A waste-to-energy plant is a facility that combusts waste to produce electricity. This is being increasingly considered as a potential energy diversification approach.
Iran is taking small but steady steps to expand WTE facilities. Five waste-to-energy plants are operating in Tehran, Shiraz and Mashhad, and plans are underway to increase such facilities, following the government’s bid to substitute fossil-fuel power generation with cleaner and environmentally-friendly methods. WTE plants generate 11 megawatts of electricity per day.
The Energy Ministry purchases each kWh of electricity produced from incinerating waste at 5,550 rials (40 cents).
According to data from the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization (Satba), Iran has the capacity to generate more than 10,000 MW from biomass (fuel developed from organic materials), including at least 400 MW from waste material. Close to 20 million tons of waste is produced in Iran every year.
Incinerating a ton of waste can produce 500-600 kilowatts of electricity per hour.
Burning garbage helps avoid water and soil contamination. According to studies, an incineration plant with 1 MW capacity can reduce carbon emission by 50,000 tons per year, whereas a wind plant with the same capacity can reduce the same emission by 5,000 tons at the most.
Most garbage in Iran is traditionally buried in landfills. But as the population grows so does the mountain of waste. Municipalities across the world are fighting against time to find workable solutions.
Iran needs more incineration plants to help manage waste and prevent their accumulation in landfills. By burning garbage, contamination of water and soil through leachate — generated from decomposition of garbage — can be avoided.
According to the Sixth National Economic Development Plan (2016-2021), Iran should produce 700 MW from waste-to-energy power generation.
Worldwide, waste-to-energy plants comprise nearly six out of every 10 facilities processing garbage from homes, schools and businesses. Almost 44% of the operating and soon-to-be-built facilities that process this stream of trash — called municipal solid waste — are incinerators that burn the waste to make energy, according to a United Nations report.
The global waste-to-energy market is expected to rise from $28.4 billion in 2017 to almost $43 billion in 2024.