Page 12 - European Energy Innovation - Spring 2015 publication
P. 12
Spring 2015 European Energy Innovation


Energy Efficiency in practice –
contribution from Waste-to-Energy plants

By Marta Gurin and Lorenzo Ceccherini, CEWEP

Waste-to-Energy residual waste that is not suitable ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN
(WtE), waste for recycling and recovers energy PRACTICE – WTE PLANTS AS
incineration with from it. SUPPLIERS OF HEAT AND
energy recovery, STEAM
plays an important two fold role In 2012, 456 plants across Europe Residual waste represents a
in waste management and energy (EU28 + Norway and Switzerland) local, cost effective, secure and
systems. Its primary purpose is produced 32 billion kWh of sustainable energy source which
to safely treat the residual waste electricity and 79 billion kWh is already used in some District
that cannot be recycled while heat, while preventing about Heating and Cooling (DHC)
producing sustainable, low- 78 million tonnes of waste from systems across Europe, allowing
carbon and local energy from it. being landfilled. This amount them to deliver affordable energy
In the last years, the WtE sector of energy is enough to supply and reducing primary energy
focused a lot on energy efficiency, about 28 million inhabitants with consumption.
providing substantial results. electricity and heat.
This short article will focus on About 60% of the WtE plants
the contribution of WtE plants to Energy produced in WtE plants across Europe are Combined
Energy Efficiency: use of heat for helps to achieve the EU’s policy Heat and Power (CHP), providing
District Heating (DH) and steam for renewable energy sources to electricity through a steam
for industrial application. cover 20% of the whole energy turbine and then recovering
consumption by 2020. This is heat with high efficiency for
OVERVIEW ON WTE IN EUROPE due to the fact that a significant both district heating and steam
WtE helps to divert waste part of the waste treated in WtE supply to neighboring industries.
from landfills, thus reducing plants (about 50% in average) Recovered energy from waste for
possible impacts on land, air is biogenic – biomass – which DH systems represents 50 TWh
and groundwater quality. At the means that about half of the per year, i.e. around 10% of the
same time WtE is ensuring a high energy produced by WtE plants is total heat delivered through DH
quality recycling by treating all renewable. systems.
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