Page 9 - European Energy Innovation - Spring 2015 publication
P. 9
Spring 2015 European Energy Innovation 9


technologies, but the best incineration with energy recovery gasification and pyrolysis, which
overall environmental benefits and flue gas cleaning), the thrive on “pure” fuels or waste
are yielded by a plant that can technology supplied by ESWET streams, struggle to process
co-process all types of residual Members, has been used for mixed waste, whose nature is
municipal waste and re-insert its decades worldwide. constantly fluctuating, on an
energy and materials back into industrial scale.
the circular economy; Waste-to- Waste-to-Energy plants have the
Energy (WtE) plants. lowest emissions of all European The most energy-efficient
combustion industries. treatment of residual waste must
This technology has enabled minimise the amount of energy
many European countries to have On the other hand, many needed to make the waste
among the highest recycling rates emerging processes, which usable as a fuel, and valorise
in the world and at the same time promise superior performance all combustible fractions. Any
to minimise the amount of waste and results, fail to break ground avoidance of sorting or pre-
ending up in landfills. on the market due to yet treatment of the residual waste
unresolved core technical issues. is saved energy. Additionally,
Which technology is the most fractions of residual waste that do
suited for residual municipal Residual municipal waste is a not undergo thermal treatment
waste? complex resource, challenging will likely head for landfill,
There are several candidate any treatment because of “burying” that energy.
technologies to handle residual its heterogeneity. This same
municipal waste. On the one characteristic makes energy WtE plants combine a maximum
hand, Waste-to-Energy (grate recovery processes such as energy production from waste,
while minimising pre-treatment
energy losses. On top of that,
the process can be arranged
locally, reducing fossil-fuelled

Increasing the energy efficiency
Around 85% of the energy
contained in waste can be
recovered by Waste-to-Energy
plants’ boilers. About half of this
energy is considered renewable
as it comes from the biogenic
part of waste. If it is converted
into electricity, waste will act as
a dispatchable source which
can feed the European grids
with much-needed reliable and
balancing electricity.

However, grid access is becoming
increasingly challenging, but
waste incineration is better
performed in a steady and
continuous manner. Hence,
electricity production should be
complemented by heat supply
wherever possible, also in order
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