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Limits and Potential for Waste Management to Energy Generation in the Caribbean

Limits and Potential for Waste Management to Energy Generation in the Caribbean

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Published by franja_b
Waste accumulation is an issue of particular concern in many Caribbean cities and communities. The lack of information on waste management performance and techniques in the region, and the need to improve energy security in order to ensure economic and social prosperity are the main drivers of waste management practices for energy generation. This article describes the current situation of waste management in the Caribbean, highlighting the challenges and opportunities for energy generation and improved energy efficiency via waste-to-energy technologies using waste as feedstock.
Waste accumulation is an issue of particular concern in many Caribbean cities and communities. The lack of information on waste management performance and techniques in the region, and the need to improve energy security in order to ensure economic and social prosperity are the main drivers of waste management practices for energy generation. This article describes the current situation of waste management in the Caribbean, highlighting the challenges and opportunities for energy generation and improved energy efficiency via waste-to-energy technologies using waste as feedstock.

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Published by: franja_b on Aug 28, 2009
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LIMITS AND POTENTIAL OF WASTE-TO-ENERGY SYSTEMSIN THE CARIBBEAN
De Cuba, K., Burgos, F., Contreras-Lisperguer, R. and Penny, R.
Sustainable Energy and Climate Change DivisionDepartment for Sustainable Development (DSD)General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS)ABSTRACT
Waste accumulation is an issue of particular concern in many Caribbean cities and communities.The lack of information on waste management performance and techniques in the region, and theneed to improve energy security in order to ensure economic and social prosperity are the maindrivers of waste management practices for energy generation. This article describes the currentsituation of waste management in the Caribbean, highlighting the challenges and opportunitiesfor energy generation and improved energy efficiency via waste-to-energy technologies usingwaste as feedstock.
INTRODUCTION
How much waste is collected everyday in the Caribbean countries? What is the impact of wasteon the environment? How can the Caribbean region transform its waste-related problems intosocio-economic and environmental benefits?The accumulation and improper management, treatment and disposal of waste pose a seriousthreat to environmental quality and public health in many cities and communities of theCaribbean. These threats are exacerbated by the lack of awareness regarding the environmentalimpact of waste and deficient systems for proper waste management and disposal. Specificchallenges include: a propensity of low-density collection points; high operating costs of traditional waste collection and treatment systems; small economies that limit the viability of recycling or alternative waste treatment systems; and limited land availability for sanitary landfillactivities due to competing land uses. These conditions lead to improper design and siting of non-sanitary landfills, often in close proximity to groundwater aquifers, which create aestheticand odor nuisances, increased health risks and climate change effects caused by gaseousemissions. The situation is worsened by the lack of information about municipal, industrial, andhazardous waste generation, limited financial and human resources, ineffective policyframeworks and poor planning capacity.The region’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels for electricity generation represents an additionalthreat; not only to the environment and to social cohesion, but also to national and regionalenergy security and macro-economic resilience. In this regard, public policy and public-private partnerships, among others, are essential ingredients of an integrated waste management strategy.
 
Waste-to-energy systems (WtE) offer a novel and effective response to manage waste and energyissues such as pollution prevention, the protection of drinking water resources, energy generationand increased energy efficiency. Efficient waste-to-energy generation also has the potential toimprove environmental health while creating better social and economic conditions by providingnew jobs; triggering the growth of small industries and environmental services; and loweringwaste collection and treatment costs. WtE technologies have the potential to become an effectiveresponse to current challenges facing the Caribbean region with regard to pollution, public healthand the economy.
THE CONCEPT OF WASTE AND WASTE-TO-ENERGY
The concept of waste is usually associated with Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
1
, industrialhazardous waste, or wastewater. For the purpose of this research paper, we will define
waste
as
the material components, energy or substances formed and disposed of as a result of industrial, services, and recreational and/or residential human activities that have lost their value or  functionality and, either directly or indirectly, impact the natural environment (soil, water and air compartments of the natural world) and impede socio-economic development 
.
2
 This broader definition acknowledges the fact that waste is unequivocally linked to energyconsidering that every product ever manufactured requires a certain amount of basic materialsand energy for its extraction, manufacture and transport. It also recognizes the fact that adequatewaste management techniques result in recovering large quantities of materials or chemicalswithout losing their economic value in tandem with the highest possible energy recovery (insome cases expressed as energy savings).The term
Waste-to-Energy
3
is used to describe a set of alternatives to collect, treat and dispose of waste in a manner consistent with the basic principles of integrated waste management such asRe-duce, Re-use and Re-cycle with a specific focus on Recovery. This concept refers to energyrecovery or savings, which should not be confused with the purpose of recycling. In some casesrecycling can lead to high energy intensive or net negative energy balance activities with the aimof reaching a high level or quality of marketable products. In contrast to what is generally perceived solely as the combustion of municipal solid waste to generate electricity and heat in a power plant, waste-to-energy entails dealing with a wide variety of waste categories (e.g.,conversion of waste and leachate water, and forest and agricultural waste, to organic waste inrecycling and disposal facilities); using a much wider range of conversion routes into a diversityof energy carriers (e.g., biogas, electricity, or bio-fuels).
ENERGY DEMAND IN THE CARIBBEAN
Energy is essential for developing and maintaining a modern society. In the Caribbean region,there are two main drivers affecting the demand for reliable and affordable energy services: 1)
1
MSW is in general waste that is produced by the household, but can also include commercial and industrial waste that is similar in nature tohousehold waste.
2
Definition created by the authors as a way to change the classic point of view currently used to define waste.
3
Definition extracted and adapted from: Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by WilliamMcDonough (Author), Michael Braungart (Author). North Point Press, First Edition 2002.
2
 
sustained population growth, and the consequent need to augment economic activities whereenergy is indispensable, and 2) the ever increasing challenge of energy security affected by thevolatile international crude oil market, which leads to expensive petroleum derived fuels such as jet fuel, diesel, fuel oil, or gasoline, combined with increased competition to access basic energyresources for power generation and transport fuels. Table 1 below lists key demographic andenergy sector characteristics for the Caribbean OAS Member States.
Table 1. Overview of the Energy Statistics of Caribbean Basin OAS Member States
4
56CountryApprox.PopulationGDP(US$-nominal)per cap.UtilityGen.Capacity(MW)Primary Energy consumption forelectricity production (TJ)PetroleumHydroTotalAverageElec. Rate(US$/kWh)
Antigua &Barbuda69,10813,092APUA^61.4100.100*0.35Bahamas303,77019,781GBP140100.1,810*0.22Barbados280,94613,605The Barbados Light&Power Company Limited 240 20,046 . . 0.3 Belize 300,000 4,098 Belize electricity Limited, CFEand BECOL 52 516395 0.22Dominica78,0004,333DOMLEC244291355640.45DominicanRepublic9,904,0004,147Haina (private)Itabo (private)Hydroelectricity (public)Independent Power Producers(IPPs) (private)Unión Fenosa (private)CEPP (private)Transcontinental Capital Corp.(private)Monte Rio (private)AES (private)Metaldom (private)Laesa (private)3,394.1011,5176,768.0.172Grenada89, 7035,571GRENLEC38.8100.160*0.3Guyana751,000[1]1,365Guyana Power and Light, Inc.(GPL), Linden Power CompanyInc. (LPC) among others.Less than100. 36. 0.27 Haiti8,500,000630Electricité dHaïti (EDH)2702,785936 . 0.26Jamaica2,780,1324,172Jamaica Public Service CompanyLimited (JPS)InstalledCap. 621.7158,000540. 0.25St. Kitts & Nevis45,00010,143St. Kitts Electr. Dept./ NEVLEC34.51082- (0)-10820.28St. Lucia155,0005,689LUCELEC56.82612.26120.28St. Vincent& theGrenadines117,8485,229VINLEC33.1782295*0.3Suriname470,7844,577The Electric Utility Company of Suriname (EBS)3895040.0.040 (0.30in remoteareas)Trinidad &Tobago1,056,60815,905Trinidad and Tobago ElectricityCommission1416.7400,900..0.14
4
See Annex A for a complete overview of the sources for this table.
5
*Measured in Millions of kWh †Grand Bahama Island only ^Antigua Island only
6
 
Include a general statement about the sources for statistics, such as (local Utility/electricity Companies) also
include Year
.
3

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