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

Covanta's Niagara Falls facility

Covanta's Niagara Resource Recovery Facility in Niagara Falls. Photo courtesy of Covanta, ©James Neiss.

Release Date: February 9, 2018

John Atkinson

John Atkinson

Michael Shelly

Michael Shelly

“The team at UB brings a great interdisciplinary approach to environmental engineering with unique expertise focusing on complex energy and environmental issues.”
Kevin O’Neil
Covanta Niagara business manager

BUFFALO, N.Y. — 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, PhD, 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, PhD, 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.

About Covanta

Covanta is a world leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions. Annually, Covanta’s modern Energy-from-Waste facilities safely convert approximately 20 million tons of waste from municipalities and businesses into clean, renewable electricity to power one million homes and recycle approximately 500,000 tons of metal. Through a vast network of treatment and recycling facilities, Covanta also provides comprehensive industrial material management services to companies seeking solutions to some of today’s most complex environmental challenges. For more information, visit covanta.com.

Media Contact Information

Cory Nealon
Director of News Content
Engineering, Computer Science
Tel: 716-645-4614
cmnealon@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @UBengineering