Waste to Energy and Circular Economy
About Waste to Energy & Circular Economy
Global energy demand will grow by nearly 50% between 2020 and 2050 (International Energy Outlook, 2021) which will result in a significant impact on greenhouse gas emission if still sourced from fossil fuel energy. Various renewable energy options, one of which is waste-to-energy, allow energy sourced from renewable resources, one of which is waste to facilitate a low-carbon energy source for decarbonization and also solve waste management problems.
Waste-to-energy is a form of energy recovery derived from the processing of waste; in this case, waste-to-energy is often in the form of bioenergy. Bioenergy is renewable energy derived from organic raw materialis, usually to produce electricity, fuels, and alternative energy source without the previous primary energy generated process. Based on the origin of the source, bioenergy feedstock can be divided into two (2), namely: Energy Producing Plants (specialized to produce fuels) and biomass (byproducts of a business activity). One form of biomass, waste-to-energy, usually works from burning municipal solid waste (MSW), often called garbage or trash, to produce steam in a boiler, and the steam is used to power an electric generator turbine.
The development of waste-to-energy shall be carried out with the principles of circular economy to ensure not only economic but also environmental sustainability in its processes. The circular economy is a system where materials never become waste and nature is regenerated which means a products and materials are kept in circulation through processes like maintenance, reuse, refurbishment, remanufacture, recycling and composting. Circular economy has three principles: (1) eliminate waste and pollution; (2) circulate products and materials; and (3) regenerate nature.
Linear economy implementation that focuses on the extraction of raw materials into goods, increases residues, waste, and emissions amount that impacts on public health and environmental quality. Waste management practices can be integrated into a circular economy scheme, an economic model that minimizes the use of resources, designs a product to have as long a use as possible, and returns the rest of the production and consumption process into the value chain.
Implementation of waste-to-energy and circular economy supports the transition from fossil fuel-based energy to clean energy.