Probabilistic and technology-specific modeling of emissions from municipal solid-waste incineration.
- PubMed: 21410192
The European legislation increasingly directs waste streams which cannot be recycled toward thermal treatment. Models are therefore needed that help to quantify emissions of waste incineration and thus reveal potential risks and mitigation needs. This study presents a probabilistic model which computes emissions as a function of waste composition and technological layout of grate incineration plants and their pollution-control equipment. In contrast to previous waste-incineration models, this tool is based on a broader empirical database and allows uncertainties in emission loads to be quantified. Comparison to monitoring data of 83 actual European plants showed no significant difference between modeled emissions and measured data. An inventory of all European grate incineration plants including technical characteristics and plant capacities was established, and waste material mixtures were determined for different European countries, including generic elemental waste-material compositions. The model thus allows for calculation of country-specific and material-dependent emission factors and enables identification and tracking of emission sources. It thereby helps to develop strategies to decrease plant emissions by reducing or redirecting problematic waste fractions to other treatment options or adapting the technological equipment of waste incinerators.