The recovery of Energy from Waste has a major part to play within the waste hierarchy
Once the preferred options in which waste materials are reduced, re-used or recycled have been exhausted, treatment via Energy from Waste (EfW) provides a process of generating energy in the form of electricity and/or heat. Energy from Waste remains one of the best available techniques for recovering residual energy by processing non-recyclable waste into a fuel source.
A one of the UK’s leading providers of waste management and environmental services, Grundon was quick to recognise the value of adopting Energy from Waste technologies.
Energy from Waste facilities divert significant volumes of non-recyclable waste from landfill and use it to provide a sustainable option for energy recovery.
The large volumes of energy that they generate helps to reduce the dependence on unsustainable fossil fuels, whilst providing an environmentally friendly alternative to disposing of waste at landfill.
Energy from Waste facilities make a vital contribution to both the sustainable energy generation capacity in the UK and the security of energy for the nation.
At Grundon, we have access to a network of Energy from Waste facilities, providing our customers with an environmentally friendly and cost-effective treatment route for the disposal of their general waste.
A prime example of this is our Lakeside Energy from Waste facility, located in Colnbrook, close to Slough and Heathrow Airport. The facility is a joint venture with Viridor, has been fully operational since January 2010.
The Lakeside Energy from Waste facility currently process around 450,000 tonnes of non-recyclable general waste a year from local authorities and businesses, enabling them to divert 100% of their waste from landfill.
The facility generates 37MW of sustainable power, enough to provide green electricity to 56,000 homes, which is equivalent to a town the size of Slough.
The Lakeside Energy from Waste facility has been designed with the potential to also export surplus heat, making a combined heat and power (CHP) plant.
It also remains one of the most efficient and modern facilities of its type in the UK, operating under strict environmental controls and a permit administered and monitored by the Environment Agency.
How does the Energy from Waste Process work?
General waste, also known as residual waste as it is the waste left over once the recyclable materials have been removed and recovered, is tipped into a bunker in the Energy from Waste plant.
Prepared for combustion
Large cranes are used to lift the waste and feed it into the combustion chamber. Each crane can grab up to 7 tonnes at a time, which is equivalent to the weight of a fully grown Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The combustion chamber incinerate the waste materials and operates at 1,000 degrees centigrade. This is comparable to the temperature of lava when it erupts from a volcano
The heat that is generated through the incineration process is used to power a steam turbine, which in turn generates green electricity which is distributed to the National Grid.
All exhaust gases are filtered and cleaned before they leave the stack, ensuring that all emissions comply with all UK and European pollution control standards
Our Lakeside Energy from Waste facility is proud to boast zero waste to landfill credentials.
Energy from Waste facility emissions are regulated through the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control regime and are currently monitored by the Environment Agency. All emissions from the stack must comply with the most stringent UK and European pollution control standards.
Thanks to a pioneering arrangement with Carbon8 Aggregates, Lakeside has been recycling 100% of its Air Pollution Control residues (APCr) – the residual lime left behind after the rigorous filtering and scrubbing of the facility’s exhaust gases.
As the Energy from Waste facility recovers sustainable energy through the incineration of residual waste, it uses an award-winning, patented procross know as Accelerated Carbonation Technology (ACT) to transform the APCr into a high-quality lightweight aggregate called C8Aggregate (C8Agg).
Because the ACT process permanently captures more carbon dioxide (CO2) than is generated during its manufacture, meaning that C8Agg is the world’s first truly carbon negative aggregate.
Carbon8 is one of only a few UK companies to hold a UK Environment Agency ‘End of Waste’ agreement, which classifies its finished aggregate as a ‘product’.
Any ferrous and non-ferrous metals, typically 3-5% by volume, are extracted from the inert Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBC) which results from the combustion process. These metals are sent onto specialist recyclers where they can be turned into new products.
The IBC can also be recovered and used to make a recycled aggregate which is used as a substitute for naturally extracted aggregate in road building and highways maintenance. Every year over 80,000 tonnes of IBC recovered from Lakeside is recycled, further reducing the environmental impact of the facility.
Thanks to our pioneering arrangements with Carbon8 Aggregates and other recycling partners, it is thought that Lakeside Energy from Waste became the first facility of its kind in the UK to meet the 100% diversion from landfill target.
The treatment of waste via Energy from Waste facilities complements Grundon’s existing network of Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs). This enables us to recover and recycle recyclable materials at our MRFs, whilst offering the most cost effective and Best Practical Environmental Option (BPEO) for the minimisation and treatment of general waste – also known as residual or non-recyclable waste.
The Energy from Waste process is compatible and complements our focus on achieving high levels of recycling.
Our customers benefit from sending their general waste via Energy from Waste, as it provides a cost effective solution which not only meets the Waste Framework Directive requirements by diverting 100% of theirs waste from landfill, whilst minimising their exposure to paying the continually increase levels of Landfill Tax.
This helps our customers to meet their own landfill diversion targets, avoid the rising costs of Landfill Tax and also the significant fines arising from the non-compliant disposal of waste.
It reduces the amount of harmful greenhouse gases, such as methane, created by disposing of general waste at landfill.
The Energy from Waste process displaces the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by the burning of conventional fossil fuels, in addition to the environmental impacts caused through their extraction.
It also reduces the reliance on non-renewable energy resources, especially those imported into the UK from mainland Europe. By providing a sustainable solution for the treatment on non-recyclable waste and using it as a fuel source for the recovery of energy, the Energy from Waste process helps to guarantee energy security for the UK.