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Why seperate articles for outdated and contemporary incineration technology??[edit]

In which part of the world do you percieve any difference between the terms incineration and waste-to-energy? I am working professionally with such plants, and I feel that it would be the same to have two articles:

automobile - A slow noisy and rather polluting vehicle with a single stroke engine and a low comfort level. Still popular in some low income countries.

car - Similar use as an automobile, but much more sophisticated. The highly efficient (and often computer controlled) engine of a car provides superior emission control and fuel efficiency compared to automobiles.

Why do we have these separate articles for "outdated" and "contemporary" incinerator types???

--Claush66 15:59, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

The reason to have two separate articles is that opponents of waste-to-energy in the US try to conjure up images of old, polluting incinerators. Incinerators in the US did not recover energy and had little, if any, emissions controls. Often all they did was reduce the volume somewhat. Having grown up only a mile from one of these town incinerators, I know full well how bad they were. Often the "ash" was still smoldering when they dumped it in the adjacent town dump, which son caught fire from the hot ashes.

Rather than an automobile and a car, I'd say a more appropriate analogy would be a car and a hybrid car.

EnergyUSA 01:56, 31 August 2007 (UTC)


I am aware of the reputation inherited from the old incinerators. Since my posting above, I have been educated that the proper way to use the two terms is like this:

Incineration (with energy recovery) is one of several waste-to-energy technologies.

I have since edited both articles to reflect this. The incineration article now generally covers todays incinerators with a brief mention of the monsters built in some countries until some centuries ago. I hope you can agree to this change.

--Claus Hindsgaul 06:10, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

When I originally came to wikipedia there were two parallel articles on waste to energy and incineration both covering the same topic. In the waste industry the terms waste to energy and incineration are both used interchangably. Waste to energy when referred to in this sense is a form of linguistic detoxification, in essence trying to distinguish between modern incineration facilities and the older polluting ones. Literally however and most accurately waste to energy refers to a great deal more technologies than incineration alone. The waste to energy section was therefore restructured to represent this fact and to avoid people pushing incineration to hijack the term waste-to-energy or energy-from-waste on thier own. Personally I am neither against nor in favour of this technology as part of a wider waste treatment matrix, as long as it is cost effective and effective on the point of carbon emissions.--Alex 07:57, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
I just realised you changed your signature! I will re-read both articles and check them for you. One element I'm not so comfortable with is the references to the USA in the opening paragraphs of the waste to energy article. I think it should be focused more internationally and not just US.--Alex 08:33, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Determination of the Biomass Fraction[edit]

This section is POV because it implies that biomass is somehow different from other waste. It needs to be fixed or deleted. TeH nOmInAtOr (talk) 23:21, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Please refer to the section preceeding your POV-tag for an explanation of excactly why biomass is considered different from other waste. I assume that you missed to read this, and I have deleted your tag. --Claus Hindsgaul (talk) 06:37, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Why delete pinellas county from the list of waste to energy plants list?[edit]

And why delete the link to the diagrams of how they work. Pinellas county really has this and it is as valid as the other plants, right? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:43, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the addition! However, Wikipedia isn't a collection of links, so we try to keep them to a minimum. -Falcon8765 (talk) 02:46, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


Hi, may i know how to produce electricity from garbages? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:25, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

incinerate waste --> produce heat --> produce steam --> run steam through an electric generator. Rather similar principle as a coal power plant.-- (talk) 05:16, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

energy is transformed not created / combustion is just the first step of the transformation of the energy contained in the waste into electricity[edit]

In the Intro you state that: Waste-to-energy (WtE) or energy-from-waste (EfW) is the process of creating energy in the form of electricity or heat from the incineration of waste source.

It would be more correct to say that: Waste-to-energy (WtE) or energy-from-waste (EfW) is the process of transforming the energy contained in a waste source into electricity or heat.

Similarly, you state that: Most WtE processes produce electricity directly through combustion, or produce a combustible fuel commodity, such as methane, methanol, ethanol or synthetic fuels.

It would be more correct to say that: Most WtE processes combust the waste source directly, or produce a combustible fuel commodity, such as methane, methanol, ethanol or synthetic fuels. Different methods are then applied to transform the released energy into electricity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:41, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

Refuge de Sarenne[edit]

Besides large plants, domestic waste-to-energy incinerators also exist. For example, the refuge de Sarenne has a domestic waste-to-energy plant. It is made by combining a wood-fired gasification boiler with a Stirling motor.[1][2] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:59, 13 September 2012 (UTC)


In this article is stated that ...and may even exceed 100% when equipped with flue gas condensation.[8]

I call bullshit on this, as by fundamental laws of physics, there can be no efficiency not even equal to 100%, let alone more than that. Are we saying we are able to produce energy our of nothing? Plus, the reference given is an advertising presentation made by the company who produces such plants, I don't think it's a reliable source. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:09, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Hi Anonymous,
I contributed the sentence you refer to. Your confusion is understandable regarding the >100% efficiency. The key here is the reference to lower heating value, which is the measure of energy content of fuels for historical reasons used in most of the world (outside the US). It assumes that energy lost to evaporation of moisture in the fuel as well as water molecules formed by the combustion is not available. Using flue gas condensation, you can claim this evaporation energy as heat. This is the same as the condensing gas heaters achieving >100% efficiencies.
Technically, now that it is possible to recover the evaporation energy, it would make sense to introduce the higher heating value. Using this value, neither condensing boilers nor power plants with flue gas condensation would in principle exceed 100% efficiency. But actually they still can; if the flue gas is cooled down below the temperature of the air intake, you can actually still have efficiencies exceeding 100% based on the higher heating value. Using heat pumps this is actually possible.
But if we introduced higher heating value for plants using flue gas condensation, and lower heating values for plants without, comparisons of efficiencies would be flawed.
I hope this explanation helps you make sense of my contribution.Claus Hindsgaul (talk) 20:33, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Claus66, I appreciate your explanation, as I was also skeptical of the exceed 100% claim. I'd like to see an explanation of the LHV calculation integrated into the article, perhaps as a link, because readers with a scientific bent will easily get thrown off by the claim and and regard the entire article as bogus. Since FGC is a technology based on condensing combustion products, HHV is, indeed, the appropriate measure of "input" for calculating efficiency. However, use of heat pumps to lower exhaust temperature will not increase efficiency, if the work used to drive the heat pump is included in the calculation.
Your point about comparability is entirely valid. My concern is that comparability shouldn't be at the cost of making the article seem ignorant of the laws of thermodynamics.
I added this explanation to Flue-gas_condensation, but it could use some more-direct navigation, if someone cleverer than I wanted to work something out.

--Wcoole (talk) 21:32, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

I agree that it may be an idea to add an explanation for the >100% efficiency. But I do not agree to be knowingly incorrect about it with the purpose to avoid challenging the readers idea of what can and cannot be right.
And regarding the heat pump >100% efficiency based on HHV: since the heat pumps are likely to be driven by own produced power or steam, they do indeed increase the total energy export from the plant (at the cost of electric efficiency) - and can do it to the point where the total energy efficiency is >100% even based on the upper heating value. This is somewhat equivalent to stating the the energy efficiency of geothermal heat pumps are >100%.

Claus Hindsgaul (talk) 08:51, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Refuge de Sarenne waste incinerator hooked up to Stirling motor
  2. ^ Refuge de Sarenne using wood-fired gasification boiler