Energy from Waste (EfW) is recognised national policy as an integral part of the waste solution for the UK, and as an important source of green energy.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) estimates that the UK produces some 177 million tonnes of waste each year from households, commerce, and industry. Of this, approximately 36 million tonnes is municipal solid waste (MSW), hazardous waste and clinical waste is disposed of by incineration in dedicated facilities. The European Incineration Directive sets stringent limits on the levels of emissions from the EfW incineration facilities making them one of the most strictly regulated industries in the UK.
Local Authorities must recycle or compost at least 33% of municipal waste by 2015. Recycling municipal waste requires considerable investment and stable markets for the end product. Even after this has been resolved, a substantial proportion of municipal waste will still remain. If reduction targets for Land filling are not met Local Authorities will suffer heavy European fines.
Local EfW plants that generate electricity and heat can provide sustainable and secure energy sources for local businesses from incinerating residual waste - the materials left over after recycling has taken place. These combined heat and power (CHP) plants represent the most efficient means of generating electricity and heat for hot water and space heating. Typically, annual operating efficiencies of 85% are achieved compared to traditional methods where 38% is a target.
An example typical of such schemes is a recent proposal for Telford and Wrekin Council at the Granville energy-from-waste facility which will be among the smallest of its kind in the UK, as Ian Crummack, Managing Director of Cyclerval UK, explained: "We are proposing a small-scale EfW plant which is specifically designed to solve local waste management problems without the need for it to be transported long distances. The proposed plant would have the capacity to process 62,000 tonnes of household waste per year, which takes into account anticipated changes in the waste stream - including increased recycling rates. It is intended as a local solution tailored to serve the needs of the Telford and Wrekin community." The technology for the proposed development is very well-established, having been developed and refined by Cyclerval over many years, and is in use at over 25 locations in Europe.
Energy from Waste has many benefits, here are a few of them ...
- EfW reduces our dependency on fossil fuels to generate our electricity.
- Waste used to produce electricity reduces the amount of methane and CO2 produced by landfill.
- Using waste to produce electricity displaces carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels.
- EfW reduces the UK's reliance on landfill for waste disposal.
- EfW helps local authorities meet government targets.
- EfW retrieves metals to recycle.
- EfW produces Incinerator Bottom Ash that can be used as a replacement for quarried aggregate in the construction industry.
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