High Efficient Technology


A High Efficient Waste-to-Energy (WtE) plant is a crucial part of a sustainable waste management chain. It provides a safe sink solution for all waste that otherwise would end up in landfills. Landfills (even sanitary landfills) are a long-term threat to the society, due to greenhouse gas production and leaching.

WtE is not a replacement for recycle and reuse initiatives, and not in competition with that, but rather an essential starting point for sustainable waste management. Its function lies at the end of the life cycles of products where it treats the residual waste which cannot be recycled, but has an energetic value for replacing fossil fuel.

Most efficient

The technology from AWECT, which was developed by AEB Amsterdam, is the most efficient in the world. It can generate 900 KWhof electricity from 1 ton of waste(@ LHV of 10MJ/kg). The emission levels can be as low as 20-40% of EU directive emission levels, making it very clean and partly renewable energy.

High efficiency Waste Incineration built in Amsterdam has been in full scale commercial operation since 2008. It is the largest renewable energy production plant in Amsterdam. The cumulative throughput of AEB HE-plant has been over 5.5 million tons of waste since commissioning. The availability of the plant is proven to be over 92%; as for the boiler/steam part, it is even over 95% .

Generate electricity

An incineration plant burns waste at high temperatures to generate heat. The heat makes steam which drives turbines to generate electricity. In this way, a WtE plant turns municipal and industrial solid waste into electricity and/or heat. The mass reduction of this process is more than 99%. The leftover materials, such as bottom ashes, can be reused or disposed in a safe way.

The technology should be evaluated on availability, efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. The more energy you can produce from residual waste, the more cost-efficient the solution will be for all stakeholders, and the more greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced. The technology provides baseload power to the electricity grid that is crucial in the renewable energy mix with wind and solar, replacing coal fired power plants.

Environmental Impact

Greenhouse Gas saving

Our High Efficiency Waste-to-energy technology is defined by the European Commission as the best performing at the moment. European Commission also states the most efficient waste-to-energy techniques maximize the contribution to climate and energy objectives.

High Efficiency Waste-to-Energy technology decreases greenhouse gas emission in 2 main ways:

Open dumpsites and landfills are top sources of methane; methane is problematic because its impact is 34 times greater than CO2over a 100-year period (UNFCCC). In addition to emitting pollutants like methane, landfills also bring health risks to adjacent communities. Because  of  expanding urbanization, these landfills often end up in  densely populated areas.

Alternative energy replacing fossil fuels: The burning of coal, natural gas, and oil for electricity and heat is the largest single source of global greenhouse gas emissions (US Environmental Protection Agency).

Emissions

As shown in the figure, the emission of the reference plant in Amsterdam is much lower than EU standard, which exactly aligns with the design goal: As low as reasonable achievable.

Biomonitoring Study

Emissions from WtE facilities usually are a big worry for the direct neighbours of such a facility.  In the Netherlands there has been an extensive biomonitoring program executed by the Wageningen University that has run for over 10 years. In this study crops that are known for accumulating hazardous substances easily were planted near WtE facilities and closely monitored. Their conclusion is that there is no significant accumulation of these substances in those crops, indicating that it is safe for people and cattle to be near these facilities if they comply with the EU emission standards.

For full study, please refer to: Wageningen University; van Dijk, et al; Long term plant biomonitoring in the vicinity of waste incinerators in the NL 2015

Circular Economy

Circular Economy goes beyond reuse, repair and recycle as it means a total paradigm shift on how we produce and consume. HE WtE is in many ways the best start towards an economy with less waste.

Therefore, as indicated by European Commission in its document The role of waste-to-energy in the circular economy, waste to energy, together with prevention, reuse and recycling on waste hierarchy, is an indispensable element in building a circular economy. For successful implementation of Waste to Energy it is essential to improve your whole waste management system, so there for the start for building your CE.

Read more about our contribution to a circular economy? Click here