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[GreenYes] re: EU Conclusion on Bioreactors

Title: [GreenYes] re: EU Conclusion on Bioreactors

Llike John, I haven't seen any official reportsthat stated that
bioreactors were being rejected for technical reasons. I recall
reading stories in the early 1990s about various environmental
problems that Federal Republic of Germany had with MBT plants that it
had inherited from the old East Germany which used anaerobic digestion
in the process. However, more recent papers from Germany indicate that
the MBT plants meet all relevant environmental requirements. However,
as the data from recent reports indicate, incineration was adopted as
a tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from landfills. I recall
discussions with European colleagues that most of the approaches to
meeting the landfill directive were based on composting and
incineration. At one point in the late 1990s, Germany had more than 30
incineration units with an annual incineration capacity of over 3
million tons under construction. The British Embassy backgrounder
reports that for 2003 that incineration capacity (not including cement
kilns, coal fired power plants) and biological processing (MBT,
composting, fermentation) had roughly equal capacity around 14 million
tons per year.

In parallel with the great increase in recycling during the 1990s, the
Germans also greatly increased their incineration capacity. The German
Ministry of Environment press release linked below from 2005 for a
study on progress in waste management cites a 50% increase in
incineration since1990 (the main thrust of the press release
emphasizes the positive impacts of switching to recycling and the
great improvement in environmental performance of incinerators). If
you look at the slide Kreislaufwirtschaft (Circular Economy), at the
links for data slides for the 2005 report, I think that the plotted
data shows (my German is almost non existent) that in 2004, the
contributions of recycling and incineration to reducing greenhouse gas
emissions (CO2 equivalents) from landfills were approximately equal
and that incineration is projected make a greater net contribution in
2020 when greenhouse gas emissions from landfill are projected to be
reduced to almost zero. I assume that the Germans are planning to
eliminate landfilling of organics by then. If somebody with a greater
understanding has a different interpretation of the slide, I'd
appreciate being corrected.

Link to British Embassy backgrounder on waste management in Germany.

German Ministry of Environment Press release on waste management.

Data Slides for 2005 Ministry of Environment report

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