Waste Conversion Assessments

Most communities without mass-burn waste-to-energy (WTE) plants have become completely dependent on landfill disposal. Privatization is on the rise, which often means longer, more costly hauls to remote facilities – where tipping fees are also on the rise. Budgets are tight, and everyone is looking to reduce costs.

SCS Engineers beneficial waste conversion
Your WTE strategy should consider beneficial reuse markets for waste by-products.

If you are considering a waste conversion solid waste disposal facility, or thermal-chemical, biochemical, or hybrid processes to convert waste to energy, then you will want to have an assessment completed. All of these technologies convert waste into useful energy. They also generate by-products that may – or may not – have a market for beneficial reuse.

Waste conversion is one of the most complex projects a solid waste agency can consider. SCS Engineers can conduct a methodical feasibility assessment to resolve potential stumbling blocks before significant resources are expended.

These technologies are popular for many reasons. Anaerobic digestion, gasification, hydrolysis, and/or pyrolysis may indeed be future game-changers in some locales. They are all being used successfully in the United States by SCS Engineers, but the technical issues and market conditions of each technology must be considered carefully for your particular circumstances.

By performing a due-diligence assessment, SCS Engineers can determine if a WTE program, and which technology, is right for your community or agency. And we can assess whether it will provide reliable capital and reasonable operating costs. We consider and research such factors as:

  • Viability for your community and/or agency, including scale-up issues, developer’s operating experience, pre-processing, and reliability
  • Ability to secure and guarantee capital, intellectual property, and patent rights for the technology
  • System compatibility with current collection, recycling, and disposal programs
  • Transfer system and/or station requirements
  • Legal or economic flow control to ensure sufficient quantities of waste to operate the plant
  • Facility siting, such as availability of land with the proper zoning and setbacks, utilities, and public buy-in
  • Air permits, local and state zoning, and comprehensive plan amendments that allow the project to be permitted (a make-or-break proposition)
  • Identifying and quantifying market factors for by-products as well as energy
  • Pro-forma modeling to calculate capital and operating costs, tipping fees, and short and long-term costs
  • Identifying financial risks and implications for taxpayers
  • System oversight and control issues