It has been a concern that mechanical engineering graduates may not have enough exposure to real world engineering situations. A design project was assigned in conjunction with the second thermodynamics course in mechanical engineering to help alleviate this problem. The objective of the design project was to take an existing operating waste-to-energy plant, and modify it so that both its first and second law efficiencies are improved. The project indeed helped the students understand and use the second law effectively. The project exposed the students to real world situations, provided them with a chance to visit plants in operation, and gave them the confidence to apply theories and methods taught in the classroom. Student response was favorable and it gave them another opportunity to work in teams on design, as emphasized by ABET. This paper selects for presentation the analyses of the performance of two waste-to-energy plants.