‘Inefficient’ EfW plants must be more carbon-conscious

Energy recovery facilities are not being run efficiently enough and must utilise their heat potential to maximise carbon savings, a leading technology provider has claimed.

Nick Dawber, managing director of gasification (EfW) firm Energos, argued that too many facilities are wasting the heat outputs generated and that operators need to recognise the value of this energy source.

Speaking at a waste-to-energy summit in London last week, Dawber said: “To achieve higher levels of efficiency we need to sell heat, either directly as steam to industrial customers to displace existing fossil fuel supplies, or as combined heat and power (CHP).

“When the ratio of energy used is two parts heat to one part electricity, facilities will achieve up to 50% efficiency, which rises to as much as 85 % if you utilise the full heat potential.”

According to Dawber, a large 400,000 tonnes per annum facility producing around 32MW of electricity would have a surplus of around 70MW of heat that is normally lost to the atmosphere because there are few industrial facilities that have sufficient CHP demands for large-scale energy recovery.

He emphasised the need for a greater number of smaller plants to be developed as these can be located close to potential demand for heat and are appropriately sized to satisfy that heat requirement.

There are more available sites for small, “community sized” facilities, which can sit alongside recycling facilities, and these are more likely to gain higher public acceptance, he added.

Dawber also called on the Government to accelerate the development of district heat networks, as demanded under the EU Energy Efficiency Directive.

Maxine Perella

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