M.S. Thesis: Technical and Economic Analysis of Pre-Shredding Municipal Solid Wastes Prior to Disposal

By Garrett C. Fitzgerald

Advisor: Professor Nickolas J. Themelis

Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering
Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science
Columbia University

September 2009

Sustainable waste management of post-recycling municipal solid wastes (MSW) is an important component in the ‘green’ movement toward a cleaner, environmentally conscious society. Waste-to-Energy (WTE) power plants have potential to significantly reduce the amount of landfilled refuse while producing a carbon neutral form of heat and power, However, ; the average capital investment for a new WTE facility ranges from $7,500 to $9,000 per installed kW of capacity, nearly three times that of coal fire power plants. There exists a need to considerably reduce the cost of such facilities in order to bring them into the mainstream of solid waste management. This report examines how size-reduction and homogenization of the raw MSW stream can potentially improve WTE operating characteristics while decreasing capital investments.

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