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Letter to Irish Examiner - 06-06-07
Biorefineries better than incinerators

IT IS disappointing that plans for an incinerator at Poolbeg are still being considered. Incineration is the worst option, economically and environmentally, for handling organic non-toxic municipal ‘waste’.

All waste materials should be evaluated in the context of their value as biofuel and as feedstocks for biorefineries.

The University of Limerick has advocated for some time the technologies which now exist for producing ethanol and various valuable platform chemicals from organic wastes.

Municipal waste is 75% biotransformable. That asset has been recognised in many countries which are funding waste-to-ethanol projects.

If the material bound for incineration at Poolbeg were to go instead to a biorefinery, it would have a massive impact on our obligations under the European biofuels directive. In fact, we could effectively meet our 2010 requirements for petrol with the 150-million litres of ethanol which would be produced.

Clearly, that would give higher revenue streams than incineration, and capital costs and gate fees would be significantly lower. A similar quantity of ethanol could also be obtained if we were to process the 400,000-plus tons of ‘waste’ paper now shipped to China.

Daniel J Hayes
IRCSET Research Student
University of Limerick

     

Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
Tel - 021 481 5564      Email - info@chaseireland.org
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