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Table 2 Advantages and disadvantages of different WtE technologies [90]

From: Biomass waste-to-energy valorisation technologies: a review case for banana processing in Uganda

Technology Advantages Disadvantages
Anaerobic digestion Energy recovery with the production of high grade soil conditioner Unsuitable for wastes containing less organic matter
  No power requirement for sieving and turning of waste pile Requires waste segregation for improving digestion efficiency
  Enclosed system enables trapping the gas produced for use  
  Controls GHG emissions  
  Free from bad odour, rodent and fly menace, visible pollution and social resistance  
  Compact design needs less land area  
  Net positive environmental gains  
  Can be done in small scale  
Landfill with gas recovery Least cost option Surface runoff during rainfall causes pollution
  Gas produced can be utilised for power generation or direct thermal application Soil and groundwater may get polluted by the leachate
  Skilled personnel not required Yields only 30–40% of the total gas generated
  Natural resources are returned to the soil and recycled Large land area required
  Can convert marshy lands to useful areas Significant transportation costs
   Cost of pre-treatment to upgrade the gas to pipeline quality and leachate treatment may be significant
   Spontaneous explosion due to methane gas buildup
Incineration Most suitable for high calorific value waste Least suited for aqueous, high moisture content, low calorific value and chlorinated waste
  Units with high throughput and continuous feed can be set up Toxic metal concentration in ash, particulate emissions, SOx, NOx, chlorinated compounds, ranging from HCL to dioxins
  Thermal energy for power generation or direct heating High capital and O&M costs
  Relatively noiseless and odourless Skilled personnel required
  Low lands are required  
  Can be located within city limits, reducing transportation costs  
  Hygienic  
Pyrolysis/Gasification Production of fuel gas/oil, which can be used for various purpose Net energy recovery may suffer in waste with excessive moisture
  Control of pollution superior as compared to incineration High viscosity of pyrolysis oil may be problematic for its burning and transportation