WIT Press

Environmental balance of an innovative waste-to-energy plant: the role of secondary emissions


Free (open access)


Volume 3 (2020), Issue 1



Page Range

84 - 93

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Marco Schiavon, Luca Adami, Vincenzo Torretta & Marco Tubino


In spite of their positive role in the framework of circular economy, waste-to-energy processes are responsible for the emissions of a large number of air pollutants. Although this sector has made significant improvements in the air pollution control of primary emissions, the role of other sources (i.e. secondary emissions) has been often neglected. This paper aims at investigating the contributions of primary and secondary emissions expected from a waste gasification plant that is planned for the construction in an Alpine valley. The results from this analysis show that secondary emissions would play a significant role in the overall emissive footprint of the plant, contributing to 29% and 10%, respectively, of the overall emissions of dusts and total organic carbon. In the light of such results, secondary emissions would require an appropriate monitoring approach, which should complement the existing monitoring protocols for primary emissions.


air pollutants, environmental impact assessment, environmental monitoring, gasification, waste management.