The Challenges of Utilising Bottom Ash from Waste to Energy Plant

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Authors: Kartik Venkatraman, Steve Wilcox, Vincent Verheyen, and Barbara Panther
Page Range: 305-333
Published in: International Journal of Energy, Environment, and Economics, Volume 28 Issue 4
ISSN: 1054-853X

ISBN: N/A Category:

Table of Contents

Bottom ash generated from Waste to Energy (WtE) processes is complex to manage and dispose of with minimal environmental impacts. Most European (EU) nations and many Asian countries have tested and developed alternative end-uses for bottom ash. This has ensured relatively safe containment of contaminants which otherwise would be released into the environment posing major risk to human, flora and fauna health.
Although bottom ash has been physically and chemically incorporated into aggregates, cement and road construction, for example, the lifecycle and impact on the environment of these products are not yet quantified. The lifecycle of these materials and products that use bottom ash as one of their constituents needs to be completely understood, through these currently unanswered questions: What will be the fate of the contaminants? Is there a limit on the number of years before the contained contaminants will be released into the environment? Are we giving rise to a new problem with long term implications? This paper will focus on the thermal treatment of municipal solid waste and the resulting utilisation of bottom ash.

Keywords: bottom ash, waste-to-energy, environment, contaminants, heavy metals, landfill