Energy can be recovered from waste using a number of technologies once the economically recyclable material has been removed from the waste stream, in line with the Government’s Waste Hierarchy.
Waste to energy ensures this residual waste is utilised to provide power, heat and even transport fuels, while diverting it from landfill.
Harnessing energy from waste has many benefits:
It helps the UK reduce its dependency on energy imports.
It provides a waste management solution that recognises residual waste as a resource for energy production.
When used for electricity generation, these technologies have a steady and controllable output, sometimes referred to as providing “baseload” power. Such sites also have the potential to provide heat through district heating networks.
It has very good sustainability and greenhouse gas saving characteristics, as it makes further use of materials that have already been discarded and would otherwise produce greenhouse gas emissions while decomposing in landfill.
ACT / Gasification and Pyrolysis
Waste to Energy also includes innovative Advanced Conversion Technologies (ACTs), such as gasification and pyrolysis. This thermo-chemical process heats waste, including its biomass content, in an oxygen deficient environment to create a SynGas and oils. These products can be used in power and heat generation, or be further processed to produce green chemicals and renewable transport fuels. In this way ACT could help decarbonise difficult to treat sectors like aviation and shipping.
The REA runs a dedicated Gasification & Pyrolysis Sub-Group of the Energy from Waste Forum.