FAQ’s2017-10-30T14:00:04+10:00

PROJECT FAQ’s

How do you propose to totally exclude plasterboard (mainly composed of Calcium Sulphate and incinerates to Sulphur Dioxide) from the incinerator and how will this impact on the viability of the proposal?2017-08-28T14:57:04+10:00

We expect that at least 90% of our waste stream is non-construction waste where there is little gyprock. Sophisticated sorting technology that is part of this proposal includes automated and manual systems to capture almost all recyclable items from the incoming waste streams, including plasterboard, bricks, glass, ceramics etc. Not only are these things of no thermal value in the waste-to-energy process but they create increased levels of ash if they are not removed, so it is in CRS’ interest to exclude them from the fuel.

Further, many of these resources have value as recycled products, such as agricultural gypsum in the case of plasterboard, which is important to CRS.  CRS partners have recycled thousands of tonnes of waste plasterboard into agricultural gypsum over the past 15 years. We continue to have relationships with leading plasterboard recycler, Regyp. For more information see: www.regyp.com.au/

Finally, the facility’s emissions capturing system would remove Sulphur Dioxide from the flue gas to levels that are below the world’s strictest standards.

How do the feedstock profiles of these [overseas] facilities compare with those of Canberra’s mix of MSW, C&I and C&D waste?2017-08-28T14:53:41+10:00

This is a good question. Our proposal is not to receive large volumes of waste from the Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste sector. As part of our recycling proposition CRS would process a light fraction from the C&D waste streams for recyclables – which is currently landfilled. This very recyclable waste stream is already catered for in the ACT, with recycling rates presently exceeding 80%.

The target waste stream for the CRS centre is waste from kerbside (red lid bin) collection and C&I waste bin collection. The Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) feedstock is essentially this.

The municipal waste stream is not expected to vary significantly between various European cities and Canberra.

Finally, the waste would first pass through a recycling plant and only the residues become fuel for the waste-to-energy component.

Can you name similar waste incineration facilities overseas with much the same nameplate capacity located within an urban area?2017-08-28T14:52:15+10:00

Yes, there are hundreds of similar established and proven centres overseas.

There are three similar centres within 2km of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. There are three in the heart of London. Other centres, of varying size, are listed below.

Vancouver has operated since 1988, recycling metal and producing electricity for 16,000 homes http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/solid-waste/about/wte/pages/04.aspx

Vienna has a thermal waste treatment plant. The designers paid great attention to the aesthetic look of the centre (shown here).https://www.wienenergie.at/media/files/2014/brosch%C3%BCre_spittelau_12772.pdf

Paris – a link to a presentation from 2015 is attached here. Some 50% of Paris District Heating network demand is supplied by three waste-to-energy plants: http://www.lsta.lt/files/events/2015-04-27_28_EHP%20kongresas/33_Hubert_DE-CHEFDEBIEN.pdf

London has the view this is green energy. A link to London Waste website is here.http://www.londonwaste.co.uk/waste-to-energy/

In Italy, a group called a2a is described. They publish a weekly report containing daily emissions data for our waste-to-energy plants and for a number of thermoelectric plants. https://www.a2a.eu/it/gruppo/i-nostri-impianti/termoutilizzatori/brescia

To see a map of various facilities across Europe in 2014, please open this link http://www.cewep.eu/information/data/studies/m_1488

It is recommended you take a look at other energy centres on http://www.cewep.eu/

How is the introduction of container deposit legislation expected to influence the composition of MSW and C&I waste?2017-08-28T14:46:51+10:00

We would expect the percentage of containers would reduce by 80% from existing red bin waste streams. This is based on the SA experience and NSW forecasts. We all agree this would be a great outcome for the ACT. See: http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/waste/container-deposit-scheme.htm  The NSW Container Deposit Scheme organisers estimate that some 80% of manufactured containers will be returned to a coordinator for resale.

Are there any recent baseline studies of the composition of Canberra’s Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), Commercial and Industrial waste (C&I waste) and light residues from Construction and Demolition waste (C & D waste) (cardboard and other packaging, timber and plasterboard offcuts).2017-08-28T14:45:39+10:00

Yes, a great deal of detailed analysis is available on this subject. It has been collected by the ACT Waste Feasibility Study (ongoing). CRS has been an active participant in the Study’s Commercial Reference Group since its inception in 2015. Please see: https://www.tccs.act.gov.au/recycling-and-waste/act-waste-feasibility-study/about

CRS has access to detailed data of all waste streams within the ACT. We can provide that information or it can be obtained from the ACT Waste Feasibility Study.

The recent ACT Government Market Sounding on Waste provided tenderers with data of various types to assist in making assumptions.

How would projected truck movements to and from the proposed Fyshwick Waste Incinerator compare with existing truck traffic to the Mugga Lane tip and any other waste disposal site in Canberra (please specify the location of any such).2017-08-28T14:43:55+10:00

The expected truck movements would be similar to those currently going to the Mugga Lane Tip face with waste for the landfill but excluding trucks going to Mugga Lane with recyclables and green waste. This proposal is to divert tip-face trucks from the landfill to the recycling and renewable energy centre, but not divert green waste, yellow bin or hazardous wastes away from Mugga Lane.

In addition, CRS is presently talking with some large volume road freight users interested in using the new rail access at the site, the results of which would reduce overall truck numbers in the region.

Measuring truck movements in an important part of the work we have to do for the EIS.  An independent traffic specialist (AECOM) has recently been engaged to investigate and report on traffic impacts. Our commitment is to keep the community informed about all transport proposals.

Would any new limits on various pollutants introduced as a result of the proposed Fyshwick Waste Incinerator apply to pollutants already present due to current activities such as wood burning for heating?2017-08-28T14:41:36+10:00

The emissions from the centre would be monitored and regulated.

This is considered separately to the regulation of other sites and facilities, for example, wood burning for home heating.  New regulation is a matter for the ACT Government.

How does the projected level of various pollutants following the establishment of the proposed Fyshwick Waste Incinerator compare with the current level of pollutants attributable to wood burning for domestic heating?2017-08-28T14:39:56+10:00

The EIS will include a comprehensive emissions analysis and health impact assessment. The link to the scoping document is here http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/ni/2017-389/default.asp

We agree and intend to describe such comparisons with background emissions levels and to establish the sources of emissions. Independent scientific advice and examples from similar plants operating in urban areas around the world will be documented to demonstrate our early conclusions that the proposal would not result in adverse health impacts for Canberra residents.

We note that domestic wood burning is a considerable source of pollution, especially dioxins and furans.

What are the current ambient levels of odour, smoke, dust, noise, particulates, greenhouse gases, other gases (eg H2S, SO2), arsenic, chromium, dioxin, and furans at Hume, Fyshwick, Manuka, and Civic, and how are these levels expected to change at each of the localities specified following the establishment of the proposed Waste Incinerator in Fyshwick?2017-08-28T14:38:41+10:00

We are at the beginning of the planning process and have recently commissioned environmental studies as part of preparing the EIS and this includes air studies. The EIS Scoping Requirement is set out by the ACT Government, and this lists the things that the studies must address.

The link to the scoping document is http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/ni/2017-389/default.asp

Baseline air quality findings will be part of the air quality analysis and will be provided in the Draft EIS.

A good example is in Vancouver where they monitor their 25MWe waste to energy plant (which was commissioned back in 1988). There has been no measured effect on the nearby surrounding areas.

It should also be noted that the renewable energy generated from the facility will offset carbon dioxide/emissions from other high carbon content fossil fuels found in power generated in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

What would be the annual saving to the ACT Government of any estimated reduction in landfill?2017-08-28T14:36:50+10:00

CRS does not have this information about the ACT Government budget and current income from waste. This needs to be sought directly from the Government.

We wish to add that such an assessment should include the ongoing costs to maintain the landfill even beyond its closure, including environmental costs that cannot be mitigated (for example methane and leachate).

In terms of waste tonnage generated in 2014 – 2015, The ACT Waste Feasibility Study (ongoing) found:

  1. Total waste generation – 1,042,089 tonnes
  2. Per capita annual waste generation – 2.67 tonnes (highest of all States and Territories – Tasmania is 1.2 tonnes)
  3. Per capita annual domestic Kerbside general waste generation (not including ‘yellow lid bin’) – 184kg
  4. Estimated annual amount of organic waste to landfill – 50,000 tonnes
  5. Estimated annual greenhouse gas emissions from landfill – 70,600 tonnes Co2 (1.8% of ACT total emissions)
  6. The whole-of-life cost per household is between $140 and $150 per annum. This includes the current NOWaste contracts, management costs, capital and remediation costs of waste to landfill and is net of revenue from gate fees.
Would the establishment of this facility threaten the establishment of a similar facility in NSW?2017-08-28T14:35:43+10:00

This CRS centre would be designed to have capacity for the ACT and the surrounding region’s waste. There is some provision in the design of the centre for growth, should the ACT’s population and corresponding waste generation continue to grow. These types of facilities are a function of population, waste management policy and other factors.

We do not believe the proposal would have any negative impact on a similar proposal in NSW and note that countries such as Switzerland have over 30 of these types of facilities in operation.

What does CRS expect to be paid to receive ACT waste and ACT sewage sludge?2017-08-28T14:33:42+10:00

CRS is not targeting sewage sludge as part of this proposal. The intake cost for waste coming from the ACT has not yet been confirmed. However, the intake cost for waste is expected to be within the range of the prevailing Mugga Lane landfill gate fee at the time and any proposed ACT Waste Levy.

What does CRS expect to be paid to receive NSW waste and NSW sewage sludge?2017-08-28T14:32:43+10:00

We have only had preliminary discussions with Icon Water in relation to ACT’s sewage sludge scenarios.  We have not considered any other sewage sludge from outside the ACT.

What is the price per kWh that CRS expects to receive from its sale of electricity to ActewAGL? If this is more than the feed in tariff offered to private citizens, is CRS not being subsidised by the ACT Government?2017-08-28T14:30:55+10:00

The price for the electricity offtake is unknown at this stage. The offtake will either be sold to ActewAGL under a power purchase agreement (PPA) or subject to a feed in tariff (FIT). If under a PPA, the price will be determined against relative market comparable pricing for renewable energy loads. If under a FIT, the price will be evaluated by the ACT Government. As indicated in the Market Sounding Document issued by the ACT Government: “To build and Operate or Provide New Waste Services, a FIT may be offered for the renewable portion of any energy generated from waste. It would likely be set at a rate between the prices previously awarded in the Territory’s large scale renewable energy auctions, i.e. $79-$186/MWhr”. At present we believe the price for the energy generated from the facility would be within that range.

What would the extra costs of the proposal be if the facility were constructed at Williamsdale in the ACT [NSW]? Or Tarago in NSW?2017-08-28T14:29:32+10:00

The CRS approach, as happens in Europe, is that we should recycle and manage waste near the point of generation, and produce electricity near the point of consumption. This is the most environmentally efficient way of managing waste and electricity.

Fyshwick lies between two zone substations and is ideally located to connect to the ActewAGL electricity network, which would reduce future transmission network augmentation capital expenditure and help provide security of supply to the ACT network.

Similarly, the facility in Fyshwick would result in avoided electricity transmission losses. Power is typically lost in transmission over distance.

Removing the facility from Canberra would create significant inefficiencies. As the waste needs to be transported this will require extra collection trucks, diesel and road wear. The further away the facility, the more trucks needed as they will lose time every day travelling to and from the facility – as well as extra diesel use and emissions and extra road wear.

In addition, the CRS centre would use well developed but underutilised freight rail infrastructure to export recyclables. Again, the focus is on efficient total environmental outcomes.

 

 

What happens if there is a fire at the facility? What is the worst case in terms of toxic emissions?2017-08-28T14:28:31+10:00

The risk of fire and fire suppression and control systems will be assessed specifically as part of the Draft EIS. Equipment would be installed on site to ensure the risk of fire is as low as possible. As part of normal industrial planning, any fire should be extinguished within minutes.  Our operations are contained inside buildings with established fire management systems.

Our understanding of recent fires in other facilities in the recycling industry (that process yellow bins unlike our proposal) were a result of large volumes of unsorted yellow bin waste stored in outdoor environments – without adequate fire management systems. This proposal will not handle high volumes of plastics as this is not our target waste stream.

Further, due to the imminent NSW container deposit scheme (and hopefully the ACT follows suit), these types of containers may well be greatly and desirably reduced from CRS’s target waste streams.

What is the maximum amount of paper, cardboard and other flammable materials that are to be stored at the facility before incineration?2017-08-28T14:22:50+10:00

As is the case with similar established plants, the CRS centre would be operated on a just-in-time basis. This means no significant quantities of material would be stored onsite for any period of time.

There is no commercial incentive, or benefit, or sufficient free space, to store large amounts of recyclables on-site. This means that, allowing for possible operational interruptions, up to 7 days of inventory may be stored. Appropriate storage conditions would be provided, including the use of odour controlled (reduced air pressure) buildings.

This is believed to be the first incinerator to burn human sewage sludge in Australia. How can the proponent guarantee that the facility will not emit obnoxious odours detectable by surrounding lessees and possibly as far as the Fyshwick markets and Kingston Railway station?2017-08-28T14:19:26+10:00

It is important to make it clear that CRS has proposed a recycling, resource recovery and renewable energy plant, not an “incinerator”. Its primary output is recyclable materials and electricity generation to 28,000 Canberra homes, not residual ash.

The facility would significantly increase the percentage of MSW and C&I waste that is recycled and reused and reduce reliance on the Mugga Lane landfill.  Part of the remaining waste that cannot be recycled would be converted to renewable energy. With respect, our project is no more of an incinerator for waste than a car engine is an incinerator for petrol. We propose to take a waste product, that would otherwise be landfilled, remove the commercially recyclable commodities (which ought not be landfilled!) and then properly prepare the residues to become a fuel, and then create electricity all in a controlled and monitored environment.

An incinerator has connotations of volume reduction being the main purpose, or destruction of materials, for example medical waste. It also has connotations of uncontrolled emissions. This proposal does not meet that definition. This is a recycling and reuse and energy production facility, with air scrubbing systems that are extensive and proven. Almost 50% of the infrastructure cost of a modern waste to energy plant is for the emissions capture and air quality management equipment.

It is worth noting that the IPCC, European Environment Agency, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Clean Energy Council (Australia) and the ACT Government’s own consulting advisors (MRA) all recognise that MSW that would otherwise be landfilled, when properly treated in a thermal waste to energy plant, results in net carbon emission reductions and should be considered as a worthwhile carbon emissions abatement strategy.

Regarding sludge, CRS has had preliminary discussions only with Icon Water on the potential for its sludge to be included in the Fyshwick project. As we explain below, we anticipate sludge is unlikely to be a significant feature of our proposal.

Examples of existing incinerators built for destruction purposes (as opposed to electricity generation) are the old Total Care waste incinerator at Mitchell as well as the Icon Water bio-solids incinerator at Lower Molonglo. Icon Water currently processes some 15,000Tpa using their own systems. During the treatment process all of the solid material, called “sewage sludge”, is removed and incinerated in a high temperature furnace. The resulting ash (Agri-Ash) is sold to farmers as a soil conditioner” https://www.iconwater.com.au/LMWQCC.

According to information provided in Icon Water’s Price Proposal they have plans to upgrade the solids handling process and refurbish the incinerator to ensure they can operate efficiently and continue to meet their EPA Licence requirements.

As Icon Water will be upgrading their incinerators, the only possible role for the CRS centre may be as a backup capacity at low volumes (as the Mugga Lane landfill currently is).

What monitoring will be in place to monitor longer term impacts on the population (something along the lines of the Government’s longitudinal study of residents in Mr Fluffy houses might be desirable)?2017-08-28T14:13:57+10:00

Conditions will be set by ACT Government and we will comply with them.

Given these challenges, should the Government consider outsourcing the monitoring program, either to the EPA of a larger state with the appropriate resources and skills, such as NSW or Victoria, or a commercial third party, eg CSIRO, a University or consortium of universities, or some company or consortium of companies that specialises in supplying such services (to mining companies, for instance)?2017-08-28T14:12:41+10:00

This is a matter for the ACT Government to determine.

Given that the proposal would introduce a range of new challenges well beyond anything that the existing EPA has [had] to deal with, would the EPA have adequate staff, resources, skills and knowledge to design an appropriate monitoring program, let alone administer such a program?2017-08-28T14:11:27+10:00

This is a matter for the ACT Government to determine. We envisage the ACT Government will draw upon decades of experience in regards to these types of facilities overseas.

If the independent monitor is to be the ACT Environment Protection Authority, would this body have adequate independence, given that it is part of the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development portfolio?2017-08-28T14:10:05+10:00

This is a matter for the ACT Government. It is our understanding that, to ensure fairness and independence, decisions made by the Environment Protection Authority under the Environment Protection Act 1997 may be reviewed both internally and by the ACT Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Will an independent inspector have the power to shut down the facility if it is considered that any one of these standards has been breached?2017-08-28T14:08:41+10:00

The CRS centre must and will adhere to its regulations and operating licences.  If its operating licence was breached it would be a serious matter for CRS and the regulators. CRS would always work cooperatively with regulators.

The benefit of the renewable energy centre proposal is that we can see everything – all data, incoming and outgoing materials. The site is fully transparent and observable. And we can make decisions quickly. This is a significant difference to landfill and allows, in our view, best possible environmental management.

How often will compliance tests be carried out on emissions, and will results be published in real time? Or will compliance be based on averages over time so that excessive levels are masked by inclusion of lower levels during times of lower incineration?2017-08-28T14:07:32+10:00

CRS would supply these details once the compliance requirements are prepared and finalised. We don’t know yet what data will be required and when.

We do undertake to provide emissions data, continuously, in real time. CRS is committed to working with the community to understand any scientific method or process involved in documenting compliance. We have yet to see the data formats that will be specified.

Can you give a rough estimate of the compliance budget and some insight as to how this was derived – e.g. number of employees, number of monitoring stations, frequency of sampling, costs of analysis, and the timeframes between sampling and response.2017-08-28T14:06:02+10:00

CRS would be required to meet a range of compliance conditions. Until we know these, it is difficult at this stage to program the monitoring and what this will cost.

We agree monitoring will be required and is essential. Real-time monitoring systems will be employed and the data made available to the public with a live streaming website, similar to established facilities around the world. The data will be described against all goals and limits, to help the community understand compliance. Historical data will also be accessible.

By “monitoring stations” and “frequency of sampling” we assume the question means ground level air monitoring stations. Our emissions consultant (Todoroski Air Sciences) will certainly consider this question and provide advice.
This would depend in part on the predicted emission levels.

The project budgets that we would develop would take into account the conditions of any consent, and the assessments and monitoring needed to achieve compliance.

Who will meet the costs of monitoring and ensuring compliance – the proponent, or the ACT taxpayer?2017-08-28T14:04:38+10:00

Traditionally the costs of both monitoring and compliance are met by a combination of the proponent (CRS) and the relevant regulatory authority.  This needs to be further confirmed with the relevant regulatory authority.

Our recycling, resource recovery and renewable energy centre proposal includes continuous, publicly available air quality monitoring data. The data would be streamed live on a website and validated. This provides transparency about air quality.

Will there be a fully independent body charged with monitoring the facilities for odour, smoke, dust, noise, particulates, greenhouse gases, other gases (eg H2S, SO2), arsenic, chromium, dioxin, furans, heavy metal residue in the ash, acid residues in the ash, and compliance with all other agreed performance criteria?2017-08-28T14:03:12+10:00

These decisions are made by the ACT Government and CRS would readily comply with all ACT requirements.

Would the establishment of the proposed Fyshwick Waste Incinerator increase or decrease truck traffic through inner south Canberra, and by how much?2017-08-28T14:00:56+10:00

Please see questions answers below. The proposal for a recycling, resource recovery and renewable energy centre would divert many of the trucks from Mugga Lane to Fyshwick. Details of the traffic impact will be provided for community comment in the traffic study section of the draft EIS.

What is the largest estimate of such truck movements, assuming no supplier chooses to deliver or remove material by rail?2017-08-28T13:54:32+10:00

In addition to our response on Question 1, CRS would be responsible for exporting the recyclables and then the recovered resources from the centre. A rail line runs through the site, and thus we expect a large proportion of this would be done by rail as the re-use markets are outside the Canberra region.

The commodities market for recyclables is largely outside of Australia, with the exception of cardboard and paper recycling within Australia.

Recyclables would be compressed, baled and containerised for export or shipment. The use of rail, once the infrastructure is established, is far more efficient and at lower costs than road. We have a very strong incentive and commitment to rail transport, its rejuvenation has the support of the NSW Government and initial discussions with the Canberra business community about its economic importance have been very positive.

The scoping requirements document from the ACT Planning Department asks for compliance with the European Emissions Directive 2010/75/EU, which is the strictest standard in the world. It can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/framework/energy.htm.  CRS proposes to import proven technology from elsewhere in the world that complies with this strict standard.

The ACT EPA already has a range of emissions regulations and the Draft Separation Distance Guidelines for Air Emissions 2014.  Whether the ACT Government decides to adopt separate legislation is a matter for the ACT Government.

Will there be a fully independent body charged with monitoring the facilities for odour, smoke, dust, noise, particulates, greenhouse gases, other gases (eg H2S, SO2), arsenic, chromium, dioxin, furans, heavy metal residue in the ash, acid residues in the ash, and compliance with all other agreed performance criteria?2017-08-28T12:24:37+10:00

These decisions are made by the ACT Government and CRS would readily comply with all ACT requirements.

What is the smallest estimate of truck movements needed to service the facility, including both deliveries of waste and sewage sludge, and removal of ash and recyclables?2017-08-28T12:09:37+10:00

Measuring truck movements will be determined in a key study to be completed in the Draft EIS. (Please note we have not confirmed that sludge will be part of the project and our primary focus is on transportation of household waste (red bins)/ municipal solid waste (MSW) and commercial and industrial waste (C&I) currently going to landfill in the ACT.)

An independent traffic specialist has been engaged to investigate and report on traffic impacts. Our investigations will confirm volumes and assumptions. At the moment over 300,000 tonnes of waste goes directly to the Mugga landfill annually and it is transported by a number of different contractors. Some would travel to the CRS recycling and renewable energy centre, some would not. Yellow recycling bins, for example, will continue to go to Mugga Lane.

The general public and other vehicles taking recyclables and green waste to Mugga Lane, Mitchell or West Belconnen would not visit the proposed CRS centre. The trucks taking the red bin waste residues from the transfer stations to Mugga Lane would divert to the CRS centre – to increase recycling, resource recovery and generate electricity. The general public would be encouraged to use the existing drop-off arrangements at Mugga Lane, Mitchell and West Belconnen.

What is Waste-to-Energy – Incineration?2017-04-28T14:14:44+10:00

Waste-to-Energy plants burn household and similar waste that remains after waste prevention and recycling.

From this waste the plants generate energy. This can be in the form of steam, electricity or hot water. The electricity is fed into the grid and distributed to the end-users, the hot water, depending on local infrastructure can be sent to a nearby district heating (or cooling) network to heat (or cool) homes, hospitals, offices etc., and the steam can be used by the nearby industry in their production processes.

Waste-to-Energy is a hygienic method of treating waste, reducing its volume by about 90%.

In a Waste-to-Energy plant apart from the waste itself no additional fuel is needed to maintain the combustion process. Additional fuel is only used for the start up and shut down phases.

Modern Waste-to-Energy plants are clean and safe, meeting the most strict emission limit values placed on any industry set out in the European Waste Incineration Directive

What is the role of Waste-to-Energy?2017-04-28T14:16:20+10:00

Waste-to-Energy fulfils a number of different yet important roles:

Firstly it helps reach the targets set in the EU Landfill Directive that aims to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste being landfilled. The deadline for reducing landfilling by 50% was in July 2009[1]and European Member States that miss these targets face hefty fines.

By treating household and similar waste that remains after waste prevention and recycling Waste-to-Energy plants help avoid the methane, a very potent greenhouse gas (GHG), that would have been created if the waste was landfilled.

Waste-to-Energy and Recycling are complementary waste treatment methods. Household and similar waste should be sorted at source and the clean materials should be sent to high quality recycling. The remaining waste, that cannot be recycled in a technically or economically viable way, should be used to generate energy. In order to divert waste from landfill both Recycling and Waste-to-Energy should be part of a “joined up thinking” approach to sustainable waste management.

The energy produced in Waste-to-Energy plants also contributes to climate protection and security of energy supply, by replacing fossil fuels that would have been used to produce this energy in conventional power plants.

A significant part of the waste treated in Waste-to-Energy plants is biogenic – biomass – which means that about half of the energy produced by Waste-to-Energy plants is renewable energy. This is also the case when bio-waste is separated at source, as there is still a significant amount of biogenic waste which is too polluted for high quality composting.
[1]Member States who landfilled more than 80% of their municipal waste in 1995 could apply for derogation on the application of the Landfill Directive by up to 4 years: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom. For these Member States the deadlines are 50% by 2013 and 65% by 2020.

What about the health of people living near these plants?2017-04-28T14:19:48+10:00

The Waste-to-Energy industry has made huge strides over the last 20 years to reduce emissions. This progress has been further driven by the introduction of the European Waste Incineration Directive (WID) in 2000, which sets the stringent emission limit values that plants now achieve. It is worth noting that these emission limits are the strictest placed on any industry.

We would like to put peoples’ minds at rest that it is safe to live near Waste-to-Energy plants so please see this [link] for a list of studies by eminent scientists and national environment agencies and ministries from across Europe. They all confirm that it is safe to live near a modern, well run Waste-to-Energy plant operating Best Available Techniques.

The best way to learn about having a Waste-to-Energy plant as a neighbour is to ask somebody who lives near one. The next best thing is to visit one yourself. Many plants offer open door days – please contact us for more information info@cewep.eu.

One famous example of a Waste-to-Energy plant is in the centre of Vienna – called Spittelau. This plant is so well known as a landmark in the city that it attracts tourists from around the world in its own right. The Spittelau plant provides the nearby hospital with heating and cooling.

How do plants prevent emissions?2017-05-03T15:15:34+10:00

Municipal waste – household and similar waste, such as office waste – is made up of many different substances, which often contains pollutants. When these materials are burnt in Waste-to-Energy plants they are released from the waste in a controlled way.

The flue-gas cleaning system is one of the most important parts of a Waste-to-Energy plant, as it enables the plant to guarantee the very low emissions that are achieved today. It is a complex set of chemical reactions which aim to neutralize and minimize the emissions.

The residues from the flue gas cleaning system are captured using advanced and proven technology, and different Waste-to-Energy plants have different designs to clean the flue-gases.

During the combustion process hot flue gases are released in the furnace and their heat is transferred to water inside the boiler tubes which produces steam for energy generation.

The gases then enter the flue gas cleaning system, and are cleaned in a number of stages:

  • Dust is caught and separated
  • Heavy metals are extracted
  • Sulphur is removed
  • Acid components of the flue gases are removed
  • Organic pollutants, such as dioxin are destroyed

 

Please follow this link to an animation on how a Waste-to-Energy plant works [link]

The flue gas cleaning system represents a significant part of a plant and it accounts for up to 50% of the construction costs of a Waste-to-Energy plant.

The emissions are very closely monitored in every Waste-to-Energy plant and centralized in the control room. A number of plants even have this information live on their web-site so that neighbours living close to the plant can see that the emissions are as low as possible [link to live emissions data  from the ISVAG Waste-to-Energy plant in Belgium].

Perhaps a surprising fact about modern Waste-to-Energy plants is that what can be seen coming out of the chimney at the end of the process is mostly water vapour.

What happens to the ashes? Where do they go?2017-04-28T15:48:50+10:00

The residual waste treated in Waste-to-Energy plants is burned under controlled conditions, reducing the volume of the waste by about 90%.

In a Waste-to-Energy plant the bottom ash is collected at the end of the furnace’s grate. It consists of non-combustible materials, and is the residual part from the incineration of waste. Even if the waste was sorted before hand, there are metals found in it. Both ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals can be taken out of the bottom ash and recycled. After the metals are taken out, the rest is ashes, like gravely sand. This is stockpiled before being used in road construction or as a covering layer on landfill sites.

The residues from the flue gas cleaning system amount only to 3-4 % of the mass of the waste entering the plant. These residues are collected after the filtration process and must be carefully stored to ensure no escape of the material into the local environment. The material is then transported in sealed containers to landfill sites.

What about the energy produced in Waste-to-Energy plants – is it renewable?2017-04-28T14:24:35+10:00

Waste-to-Energy technology is one of the most robust and effective alternative energy options to reduce CO2 emissions and to save limited fossil fuel resources used by traditional power plants.

Currently, Waste-to-Energy Plants in Europe can supply 17 million inhabitants with electricity and 15 million inhabitants with heat. This is based on 88 million tonnes of remaining household and similar waste that was treated in 2014 in Europe.

Depending on the fuel you replace – gas, oil, hard coal or lignite – between 9 – 48 million tonnes of fossil fuels emitting 24 – 48 million tonnes of CO2, would not need to be used by conventional power plants to produce this amount of energy.

According to EU legislation the biodegradable fraction of municipal and industrial waste is considered biomass, thus a renewable energy source [Link to the EU RES Directive]. The energy output from Waste-to-Energy plants is about 50% renewable.

Waste-to-Energy plants in Europe supply a considerable amount of renewable energy, some 38 billion kilowatt-hours in 2006, and by 2020 this amount will grow to at least 67 billion kilowatt-hours, but potentially reach 98 billion kilowatt-hours. This will be, in the latter case, enough to supply 22.9 million inhabitants with renewable electricity and 12.1 million inhabitants with renewable heat. However, to achieve the latter, a more ambitious waste policy must be delivered in Europe, i.e. replacing landfilling through a combination of recycling (60%) and Waste-to-Energy (40%), as well as increasing energy efficiency through improved infrastructure for heating and cooling, and better grid access for energy from Waste-to-Energy plants.

If unpretreated waste is not landfilled anymore and recycling, as well as efficient energy recovery (Waste-to-Energy), is increased, then around 114 million tonnes CO2 equivalents could be avoided by 2020 in EU-27 [Study by ifeu/Öko-Institut on behalf of UBA/BMU/BDE, „Klimaschutzpotentiale der Abfallwirtschaft“, January 2010]. This calculation is based on household and similar waste, but if commercial waste is taken into account then the amount of avoided CO2 equivalents would be even higher.

In order to move away from Europe’s high dependence on fossil fuels we should explore the cost-effective and available sustainable energy option: Waste-to-Energy. 

What about jobs?2017-04-28T14:34:16+10:00

Waste-to-Energy plants create many jobs (operate 24/7 with multiple shifts per day) – not as many as more manual forms of waste management – but well paid, highly-skilled jobs in good, clean working conditions.

 

What about recycling?2017-03-15T12:09:37+10:00

Waste-to-Energy has a positive influence on recycling rates. It is well known that the European Member States that have the highest rates of recycling also include Waste-to-Energy as an integral part of their waste management systems, and have lower rates of landfilling. Consequently, Member States with lower rates of recycling tend to have less Waste-to-Energy treatment and higher rates of landfilling. Please follow this [link] to a graph based on data from EUROSTAT (European Statistical office) where this can be seen.

As much waste as possible should be recycled. However, the quality of the sorted waste going to recycling should be such so that no dirty or polluted waste re-enters the new recycled material. The remaining waste which cannot be recycled in an environmentally or economically feasible way should be sent to Waste-to-Energy plants where its energy content can be used.

Even the most progressive European countries cannot recycle all of their waste. Austria, Germany and Belgium are among those who recycle the most – more than 55% of their municipal waste – but still send their residual waste to Waste-to-Energy plants. Only a small fraction of their waste is landfilled.

It is worth bearing in mind that residues from recycling processes often also need to be thermally treated.

Why not landfill it?2017-04-28T14:25:26+10:00

About 40% of Municipal Waste in Europe is still landfilled, even though landfill gas (methane) contributes significantly to global warming (25 times more significant in mass than CO2).

The European Landfill Directive sets strict diversion targets for the landfilling of biodegradable waste. The deadline for reducing landfilling by 50% was in 2009[1] and European Member States that miss this deadline face hefty fines. By 2016 the biodegradable waste being sent to landfills must be reduced by 65% (based on the amount landfilled in 1995).

Landfill not only takes up land that could be better used for other purposes, it buries waste that can be a source of energy – it also significantly adds to global warming.

[1]Member States who landfilled more than 80% of municipal waste in 1995 could apply for derogation on the application of the Landfill Directive by up to 4 years: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom. For these Member States the deadlines are 50% by 2013 and 65% by 2020.

Who is CEWEP?2017-04-11T17:31:58+10:00

CEWEP is the Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants CEWEP is the umbrella association of the owners and operators of Waste-to-Energy Plants, representing some 400 Waste-to-Energy Plants from 22 countries. They make up more than 80% of the Waste-to-Energy capacity in Europe.

Waste-to-Energy Plants (waste incineration with energy recovery) thermally treat residual household and similar waste that cannot otherwise be reused or recycled in an environmentally or economically beneficial way, and generate energy from it.

Recycling and Waste-to-Energy are complementary waste treatment methods. Together they are instrumental in order to divert waste from landfills and reduce Greenhouse gas emissions. This avoids the creation of methane in landfills, a potent greenhouse gas (25 times more significant in mass than CO2).

Waste-to-Energy Plants also help to ensure quality recycling by treating the waste that is not good enough for recycling.
Membership of CEWEP underlines a Waste-to-Energy Plant’s commitment to ensuring high environmental standards, achieving low emissions by operating Best Available Techniques and maintaining state of the art energy production from not otherwise reusable or recyclable materials.

The plants represented by CEWEP are operated both by municipalities and private companies. Members are mostly national associations, but also individual plants.