The extraction and supply of fuels for heating, transport and electricity generation can result in significant local environmental impacts. By-product wastes raise particular concerns. Other energy impacts, such as atmospheric pollution, can be globally harmful. Carbon dioxide emissions are noted for their potential to accelerate global warming. Sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides are noted for enhancing the acidification of rain. Phosphates are noted for their impacts on biodiversity in the oceans, and numerous other elements are noted for their potential to add toxicity to the environment by air, land, and water pathways.
An example of this, researched by The Open University, involves the sequestration of methane, formed from the decomposition of waste within municipal landfills. This waste can be co-processed to minimise its volume and environmental impact, and to generate low-carbon electrical power.
The integrate waste systems group focuses on sustainable resource and waste management especially in relation to energy and waste.