Environmental impact of energy recovery from waste tyres
Reto Gieré, Sara T. LaFree, Loran E. Carleton, Jody K. Tishmack, 2004. "Environmental impact of energy recovery from waste tyres", Energy, Waste and the Environment: a Geochemical Perspective, R. Gieré, P. Stille
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Accumulation of millions of worn automotive tyres poses a considerable environmental problem. As an important part of the solid waste stream in today’s society, worn tyres have traditionally been discarded in landfills or stored in stockpiles. Over the past several decades, however, innovative alternatives to disposal have been developed, partly as a result of high tipping fees charged by landfill operators. Because of their high heat content and their low levels of moisture and nitrogen compared to coal, tyres are ideally suited for energy recovery through combustion. Utilization of waste tyres as supplemental or alternate fuel in various industrial combustion facilities, thus, has become one of the most important alternatives to disposal. Combustion processes, however, generate gaseous pollutants and solid waste materials, which must be disposed of or re-used as secondary raw materials. It is therefore important to characterize these combustion products in order to assess the environmental impacts of energy recovery from scrap tyres. Studies have shown that substantial reductions of some environmental pollutants can be achieved by partially replacing conventional fuels with waste tyres. On the other hand, using tyres as fuel may lead to considerable increases in the levels of other pollutants. Most notable among the effects of tyre combustion are, relative to conventional fuels, a pronounced decrease in the emission of nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere, and a generally significant increase in atmospheric zinc emissions as well as in the zinc contents of the solid combustion products. The geochemical effects on solid and gaseous combustion products are more or less pronounced depending on fuel composition, conditions of combustion, type of facility, and effectiveness of air pollution control devices. Thus, the use of tyre fuel has environmental impacts that must be weighed against the benefits of reducing the large volume of waste tyres in the global waste stream.
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This book provides incentives for further development of sustainable fuel cycles through a novel and interdisciplinary approach to an Earth science-related topic. The main focus is on geochemical concepts in immobilizing, isolating or neutralizing waste derived from energy production and consumption. The book also addresses the issue of using some types of energy-derived waste as alternative raw materials. Moreover, it highlights research on how certain wastes can be used for energy production, an increasingly important aspect of modern integrated waste management strategies. The main objectives are to: (a) identify the most serious environmental problems related to various types of power generation and associated waste accumulation; (b) present strategies, based on natural analogue materials, for the immobilization of toxic and radioactive waste components through mineralogical barriers; (c) discuss modern procedures for reuse of waste or certain waste components; and (d) review the importance of geochemical modelling in describing and predicting the interaction between waste and the environment.