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UB partners with Covanta to study Niagara Falls waste-to-energy plant


Fri, Feb 9th 2018 08:25 pm
The University at Buffalo is partnering with Covanta to study the company's waste-to-energy facility in Niagara Falls.
The plant, called the Niagara Resource Recovery Facility, turns municipal solid waste into steam and electricity.
A research team from UB's department of civil, structural and environmental engineering and the RENEW Institute will independently quantify the facility's environmental and economic impacts on the Buffalo Niagara Region and compare it to landfilling.
The team will consider everything from waste collection, processing and transport to the combustion process, including greenhouse gas emissions, metals recovery, ash management and steam generation.
The study - expected to be completed in late 2018 and published in peer-reviewed academic journals - will be one of the most comprehensive and quantitative comparisons between municipal waste combustion and landfilling, researchers say.
The project's principal investigator is John D. Atkinson, Ph.D., assistant professor in UB's department of civil, structural and environmental engineering and a member of UB's RENEW (Research and Education in eNergy, Environment and Water) Institute, which tackles complex energy and environmental and their social and economic ramifications.
Michael Shelly, Ph.D., an environmental economist at RENEW, will serve as co-principal investigator.
"This project is an excellent opportunity to comprehensively examine the life-cycle of a waste-to-energy facility. We're looking forward to conducting the analysis and sharing those results with Covanta and the public," Atkinson and Shelly said in a joint statement.
"The team at UB brings a great interdisciplinary approach to environmental engineering with unique expertise focusing on complex energy and environmental issues. We are very pleased to have them engaged on this project to be better understand the benefits and impacts of the Covanta Niagara facility," said Kevin O'Neil, Covanta Niagara business manager.

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