Waste-to-Energy (WtE) technology is a sustainable as well as a cost-efficient solution for converting waste into energy and is becoming a key component of integratedwaste management strategies around the world. Governments on all levels have called for increased use of renewable energy and WtE technology is a viable solution that helps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as solving space issues created by landfills.
Need for Waste Management Solutions in Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
Waste management systems in SIDS are coming under pressure because of increasing population, urbanization and season tourism. Tourism generates substantial amounts of solid waste. It is said that in the Caribbean, tourists generate twice as much as solid
waste as local residents and cruise ship passengers are estimated to produce as much as four times the amount of garbage and untreated liquid waste. In St. Lucia only 13% of the population is connected to the sewer system and in Haiti, the waste management system was only able to capture 20% to 40% of the waste generated in Port-au-Prince and this was before the Earthquake of 2010.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Developing Nations have increasing problems with sanitation, and with the increase of energy costs and demand, then the most efficient, profitable and environmentally-sensitive solution is the construction of versatile WtE power plants. They have relatively few other alternatives that are as cost-effective and efficient as solid waste conversion to energy.
Waste-to-Energy Could Help Solve Crisis in Haiti
Solving the waste management crisis in Haiti is vital to the recovery of the nation. Waste management could provide solutions for clean energy, sanitation, public health, employment and agricultural productivity. In the short-term, sanitation and waste management needs to be implemented in the temporary camps while providing gas to cook and improved soil conditions for agriculture; while the long-term is focused on the economic redevelopment of Haiti. WtE systems are simpler to integrate into the electrical infrastructure than the more intermittent technologies such as solar or wind.
Population Growth of Haiti
Thepopulation of Haiti is expected to grow substantially over the next 40 years. This projected growth will increase waste generation, sanitation issues and power demands. The metro area of Haiti has been estimated to produce between 1,400 and 1,600 metric tons of solid waste per day. At present, there are no wastewater treatment facilities in Haiti. In Port-au-Price, the sewage is collected by trucks and taken to one of two landfills at an estimated amount of 24,000 gallons per day.
Haiti has enough of a waste stream for a viable WtE plant because the higher the collection rate, the more economical the plant would be. Since only 30% of the population of Haiti has access to electricity, which is mostly comes from the combustion of wood and charcoal and with sewage landfills at near capacity, a waste-to-energy solution could be both beneficial and profitable for the redevelopment of Haiti as well as other Small Island Developing States.Photo Credit: by DVIDSHUB