Photos – Incinerator construction

Diana often took a photo of progress on the Incinerator when she cycled past.

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1 September 2012

8 September 2012

9 October 2012

9 October 2012

9 October 2012

26 November 2012

30 November 2012

30 November 2012

18 March 2013

18 March 2013

9 April 2013

9 April 2013

9 April 2013

2 June 2013

2 June 2013 - Improving the image of construction

2 July 2013

2 July 2013

19 September 2013

29 January 2014

9 March 2014

18 March 2014

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Carbon dioxide

CO2

Molar mass 44.01 g/mol
Lifetime in atmosphere No single lifetime can be given
Global Warming Potential over 100 years 1
Estimated emissions in 2008 51,762,916 Gg
Atmospheric concentration in September 2013 393,510,000 ppt

Nearly all of the carbon content in incinerated waste is emitted to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Municipal solid waste contains approximately the same mass fraction of carbon as does carbon dioxide itself (27%), so incineration of 1 tonne of waste is estimated to produce approximately 1 tonne of carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide emitted by human activity is of course the main cause of global warming leading to climate change. Under the Climate Change Act 2008, the UK is committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by at least 80% by 2050. In 1990, emissions from energy consumption were 10.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita, so the target is slightly over 2 tonnes per capita.

In 2011, UK emissions from energy consumption were 8 tonnes per capita, the reduction from 1990 largely due to the replacement of coal by gas in electricity generation. The Exeter Incinerator is designed to accept up to 60,000 tonnes per year of waste, from Exeter and the immediate surrounding area in Devon. With a population of about 120,000, that means 0.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide added to every person’s carbon budget. But suppose the Incinerator replaced some carbon emissions from other energy plant……

Incinerators have electricity generation efficiencies of 14-28%. The waste heat can be used in a district heating network, giving efficiencies higher than 80%. The Exeter Incinerator will initially provide electricity to the national grid, and has the potential to export heat but only if a district heating network is established on the Marsh Barton estate.

So the Incinerator will produce electricity at a substantially lower efficiency than the rest of the national grid, and displace lower carbon alternatives.

2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin

Dioxin

Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs; known colloquially and inaccurately as dioxins) are subject to the European Waste Incineration Directive, which puts strict limits on emissions to air. Incineration is controlled to minimise their production, and the flue gas is treated post-combustion. The resulting toxic fly ash must be handled as hazardous waste.

Emissions of dioxins and furans from an incinerator typical of those currently operating in the UK (230,000 tonnes per year) are approximately equivalent to emissions from accidental fires in a town the size of Milton Keynes (population 230,000). That is, emissions from the Exeter Incinerator will be equivalent to half the emissions from accidental fires in Exeter.

The structure of dioxins comprises two benzene rings (six carbon atoms) joined by two oxygen atoms. Chlorine atoms may be attached to this structure at any of positions 1–4 and 6–9 in the above picture, which gives 75 flavours. Hydrogen atoms are attached to the remaining positions.

Dioxins are commonly regarded as highly toxic compounds that are environmental pollutants and persistent organic pollutants. Of the 75 flavours, the seven below are considered toxic by the World Health Organization (WHO). 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin* became known as a contaminant in Agent Orange, and is the most toxic of all. It is therefore designated the reference molecule for rating toxicity.

Flavour (DD stands for
dibenzo dioxin)

Formula

WHO Toxicity
Equivalency Factor

2,3,7,8-Cl4DD

C12H4Cl4O2

1

1,2,3,7,8-Cl5DD

C12H3Cl5O2

1

1,2,3,4,7,8-Cl6DD

C12H2Cl6O2

0.1

1,2,3,7,8,9-Cl6DD

C12H2Cl6O2

0.1

1,2,3,6,7,8-Cl6DD

C12H2Cl6O2

0.1

1,2,3,4,6,7,8-Cl7DD

C12HCl7O2

0.01

Cl8DD

C12Cl8O2

0.0003

For more information, see the Wikipedia articles about polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and specifically 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin.

*The ‘p’ stands for ‘para’, indicating the oxygen atoms are opposite each other. The oxygen atoms could be next to each other, which would be indicated by ‘o’ for ‘ortho’, but this molecular configuration is unstable.

2,3,4,7,8-Pentachlorodibenzofuran

Furan

Polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs; known colloquially as furans) are subject to the European Waste Incineration Directive, which puts strict limits on emissions to air. Incineration is controlled to minimise their production, and the flue gas is treated post-combustion. The resulting toxic fly ash must be handled as hazardous waste.

Emissions of dioxins and furans from an incinerator typical of those currently operating in the UK (230,000 tonnes per year) are approximately equivalent to emissions from accidental fires in a town the size of Milton Keynes (population 230,000). That is, emissions from the Exeter Incinerator will be equivalent to half the emissions from accidental fires in Exeter.

The structure of furans comprises two benzene rings (six carbon atoms) joined directly and by one oxygen atom. Chlorine atoms may be attached to this structure at any of positions 1–4 and 6–9 in the above picture, which gives 135 flavours. Hydrogen atoms are attached to the remaining positions.

Of the 135 furan flavours, the ten below exhibit dioxin-like properties and are given toxicity ratings by the World Health Organization (WHO). Furans are commonly regarded as highly toxic compounds that are environmental pollutants and persistent organic pollutants.The reference molecule for rating toxicity is 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin.

Flavour (DF stands for
dibenzo furan)

Formula

WHO Toxicity
Equivalency Factor

2,3,7,8-Cl4DF

C12H4Cl4O

0.1

1,2,3,7,8-Cl5DF

C12H3Cl5O

0.03

2,3,4,7,8-Cl5DF

C12H3Cl5O

0.3

1,2,3,4,7,8-Cl6DF

C12H2Cl6O

0.1

1,2,3,7,8,9-Cl6DF

C12H2Cl6O

0.1

1,2,3,6,7,8-Cl6DF

C12H2Cl6O

0.1

2,3,4,6,7,8-Cl6DF

C12H2Cl6O

0.1

1,2,3,4,6,7,8-Cl7DF

C12HCl7O

0.01

1,2,3,4,7,8,9-Cl7DF

C12HCl7O

0.01

Cl8DF

C12Cl8O

0.0003

For more information, see the Wikipedia article about dioxins and dioxin-like compounds.

3,3′,4,4′,5-Pentachlorobiphenyl

PCB

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, not to be confused with printed circuit boards) are not subject to the European Waste Incineration Directive, but emissions can be controlled in the same way as dioxins and furans; incineration is controlled to minimise their production, and the flue gas is treated post-combustion.

The structure comprises two joined phenyl rings (six carbon atoms). Chlorine atoms may be attached to this structure at any of positions 2-6 and 2′-6′ in the above picture, which gives 209 flavours. Hydrogen atoms are attached to the remaining positions.

Of the 209 PCB flavours, the twelve below exhibit dioxin-like properties and are given toxicity ratings by the World Health Organization (WHO). PCBs are commonly regarded as highly toxic compounds that are environmental pollutants and persistent organic pollutants.The reference molecule for rating toxicity is 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin.

Flavour

Formula

WHO Toxicity
Equivalency Factor

3,3′,4,4′-Tetrachlorobiphenyl

C12H6Cl4

0.0001

3,4,4′,5-Tetrachlorobiphenyl

C12H6Cl4

0.0003

2,3,3′,4,4′-Pentachlorobiphenyl

C12H5Cl5

0.00003

2,3,4,4′,5-Pentachlorobiphenyl

C12H5Cl5

0.00003

2,3′,4,4′,5-Pentachlorobiphenyl

C12H5Cl5

0.00003

2′,3,4,4′,5-Pentachlorobiphenyl

C12H5Cl5

0.00003

3,3′,4,4′,5-Pentachlorobiphenyl

C12H5Cl5

0.1

2,3,3′,4,4′,5-Hexachlorobiphenyl

C12H4Cl6

0.00003

2,3,3′,4,4′,5′-Hexachlorobiphenyl

C12H4Cl6

0.00003

2,3′,4,4′,5,5′-Hexachlorobiphenyl

C12H4Cl6

0.00003

3,3′,4,4′,5,5′-Hexachlorobiphenyl

C12H4Cl6

0.03

2,3,3′,4,4′,5,5′-Heptachlorobiphenyl

C12H3Cl7

0.00003

For more information, see the Wikipedia articles about polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins and dioxin-like compounds.

Nitrogen oxides

NOx

Nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are subject to the European Waste Incineration Directive, which puts strict limits on emissions to air. But removal of nitric oxide by incinerators is only about 60% effective and the remainder may be converted to nitrogen dioxide to form smog and acid rain.

Nitrogen dioxide has a variety of health impacts, such as higher incidence of respiratory symptoms in children, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, heart disease in those over 65, and abnormally elevated immune and allergic responses. When nitrogen dioxide is combined with fine particulates and carcinogenic heavy metals (in particular cadmium), the effects on lung cancer are likely to be more potent.

Nitrous oxide

N2O

Molar mass 44.013 g/mol
Lifetime in atmosphere 121 years
Global Warming Potential over 100 years 298
Estimated emissions in 2008 10,700 Gg
Atmospheric concentration in September 2013 325,924 ppt

Nitrous oxide is not subject to the EU Waste Incineration Directive. But it is a greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential nearly 300 times that of carbon dioxide.