Page 10 - European Energy Innovation - Spring 2015 publication
P. 10
Spring 2015 European Energy Innovation


some fore-running plants, it has
been possible to recover a few
kilos of gold per year from waste3
thanks to advanced sorting.

Integrating the circular
economy for materials in a
sustainable energy system
At the moment, Europe is
pondering its energy future while
simultaneously – but separately -
yearning for a circular economy.

An example of recovered metals (in particular Closing the loop of the circular A clear example of this
the metal sole of a safety boot) economy compartmentalised thinking is
Along with the energy-producing the current approach to Waste-
to increase the overall energy benefits that Waste-to-Energy to-Energy. On the one hand, it is
efficiency of the process. entails, those plants also sort not seen as a significant energy
material and make them available source, despite already fulfilling
This is where District Energy for various uses in the circular 1.3% of total European energy
from Waste kicks in. Waste-to- economy. needs, equivalent to 19% of the
Energy plants operating as CHP EU gas imports from Russia4, and
(cogeneration of combined heat Valuable materials that would heating entire city blocks. On the
and power) maximise the energy have swelled landfill volumes other hand, it is shunned from
output from waste and help if they had not been treated in the circular economy, despite
powering the circular economy Waste-to-Energy plants – metals producing valuable energy
we all crave for. Supplying a city’s and minerals – are routinely and materials from polluted or
heating and/or cooling networks recovered from Waste-to-Energy unwanted resources that would
with indigenous energy – its own plants’ residues. For instance, otherwise have been landfilled.
waste – helps securing Europe’s 116,176 tonnes of ferrous metals
energy supplies. It also contributes were recycled from Dutch Waste- Realising that energy and
to reducing Greenhouse Gas to-Energy plants in 20132. circular economy are intertwined
Emissions (avoided landfilling and should guide decision-makers
its associated methane emissions) Similarly, in European countries to increase synergies and
and increases the reliance on that have minimised landfilling coordinate support while making
renewable energy. ESWET, it is estimated that 40% of Europe more competitive and
along with partner associations, the aluminium recycled from sustainable. Such goals cannot
advocates for the continued Municipal Waste comes from be fully accomplished without
development of District Energy Waste-to-Energy plants. And in policies that minimise landfilling
from Waste1. while developing the necessary
Waste-to-Energy infrastructure in
each EU Member State. ESWET is
ready to answer that call. l

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