Incineration has a key role to play

THE current furore over the Poolbeg incinerator in Dublin is an echo of a similar outcry in the Cork Harbour area over the past few years in relation to the proposed Ringaskiddy unit.

In each case, concerned local interest has been bypassed by an incipient energy crisis which will not permit the luxury of entertaining the qualms of these protest groups.

Incinerators have two principal and very valuable qualities:

1. Reduction of landfill waste, and

2. Generation of heat.

The provision of compound heat exchanges in both installations would allow the generation of distributed hot water which, in Dublin, could be used to heat houses in Ringsend and the Docklands’ buildings, while in Ringaskiddy and Cobh, an under-channel distribution system would allow efficient and non-fossil fuel heating of much of the housing in that area.

With the demolition and removal of Irish Steel furnaces on Haulbowline, the clean smokestack of a modern, well-managed incinerator would produce a very small fraction of Irish Steel’s air pollution; the scrap raw material at one time included a cargo of radioactive waste.

As Isambard Kingdom Brunel did in the middle of the 19th century with railways, bridges and ships, so modern Irish engineers must prove and argue their ideas without being intimidated by local objectors.

They must maintain a firm adherence to easing our major problems and proceed urgently to tackle the most critical of all issues , ie, a 50% initial reduction in fossil fuel dependency by 2030. Then we would have made a small start to healing our wounded world in the first half of this millennium.

Ted Crosbie, BSc

Currabinny

Cork

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