What is the role of Energy from Waste in the UK’s future energy mix?
Besides providing renewable energy, energy from waste (EfW) facilities will play a vital role if the UK is to achieve Net Zero.
Monday April 5th saw Britain’s greenest ever electricity grid, which is a positive sign of what can be achieved. However, what this did not solve is the growing waste management crisis.
Do EfW plants produce harmful emissions?
The UK produces a vast amount of waste, which if sent to landfill produces more harmful methane emissions than it would if it were to be processed at an EfW plant. Methane emissions are up to 72x more harmful as greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide.
The traditional method of simply disposing of residual waste does not fit with a more desired, circular approach to resources and reducing harmful emissions. Waste can be utilised as a resource to fuel EfW plants, and in turn provide electrical and in some cases heat energy; rather than sit in landfill, decomposing, increasing harmful methane levels.
EfW as part of the future energy mix.
It is said 4 tons of waste contains the equivalent amount of energy as 1 ton of oil or 1.6 tons of coal, but the sourcing and processing of such fossil fuels contributes to carbon emissions and they are finite resources. Whereas waste is naturally produced as people live their lives, and in most cases is locally sourced to where an EfW facility is, meaning less emissions from transportation.
New technologies are also being developed to improve operational efficiency and make plants greener such as, using waste to produce aviation & hydrogen fuels, adding carbon capture to plants, and improving the use of the heat energy produced during processing.
Reducing the amount of waste we produce and increasing rates in recycling is understandably steps in the right direction. However, there is still a huge amount of residual waste, which if not utilised will negatively impact on the progress of reducing harmful emissions and achieving Net Zero.
Therefore, energy from waste, or waste to energy, will play an important role in the UK’s energy mix.
Check out a recent Powertherm Project from the Energy from Waste sector here >>