Will odours create a problem?
No. Apart from the loading bunker, the ERF is a sealed unit so odour will not escape. Any odour in the bunker is sucked into the facility and used to assist the gasification process.
Should we be concerned about ERF emissions?
Before an ERF plant can begin operating in the UK, it must be approved by the EA (Environment Agency) or SEPA (the Scottish Environment Protection Agency) - and requires a Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) license to demonstrate that it can meet the European Union's strict rules on emissions. Once a facility is built, the EA or SEPA will continue to monitor its operation.
Is EfW/ERF safe?
EfW is considered by the UK Department of Health to be environmentally safe, and to pose virtually no risk to health. The Royal Commission on Environmental Protection (RCEP) says that EfW/ERF offers a long-term, secure and environmentally acceptable Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) for treating residual municipal waste.
In other EU countries where EfW/ERF plays a more significant role in waste management, the process is also considered safe. In fact, a recent report from the German Federal Government says that "without EfW/ERF plants, there would be more pollutants in the air". That's because many pollutants are already in waste and, having entered EfW/ERF plants with the waste, are extracted during the emissions filtering process. According to the Dutch Government, "EfW/ERF plants in rural areas have no damaging effect on agricultural products".
How do we know that ENERGOS EFW plants do not operate with high levels of pollution?
As ENERGOS technology boasts a twelve year track record and actual emissions data illustrates that most emission elements are at less than 10 per cent of EU permitted levels, with NOx at approximately 40 per cent.
What experience does ENERGOS have in building and operating EFW plants?
The ENERGOS technology is proven beyond doubt with over 540,000 operating hours at 8 plants across Europe.
In May 2010 ENERGOS handed over their latest ERF to Borregaard Industries, a Norwegian chemical company in Sarpsborg. The 80,000 tonne per year ERF was built to budget and slightly ahead of time. This is the second ERF supplied to Borregaard Industries, following the initial ENERGOS facility built in 2002.
Where else is EfW/ERF technology used?
Many European countries utilise EfW technology, with Germany and Scandinavia in particular operating a number of gasification type plants. Within the UK there are over 20 'mass burn' incinerators in operation, however, the Government and many local authorities are now considering 'gasification' ERF as a cleaner and more effective way of dealing with waste disposal.
How long does it take to build a typical ENERGOS EFW plant?
Construction time takes approximately 18 months to two years, depending on planned capacity.
EFW plants have very high chimneys, don’t they?
Compared to 'mass burn' incinerators, which normally accommodate chimneys of between 70 and 120 metres, a typical ENERGOS plant requires a chimney of approximately 40 metres, dependent on the particular location. The smaller chimney size is a consequence of its use of much cleaner gasification technology.
Will ENERGOS EFW plants accept hazardous wastes?
No, ENERGOS plants are not licensed to deal with such wastes.
Does ERF waste valuable resources?
If all locally generated waste was treated in an ERF facility, it might be considered wasteful. ERF forms an option under the recovery part of the waste hierarchy on which all waste strategy in this country is based and is preferable to landfill disposal. At the top of the waste hierarchy is waste minimisation, followed by reuse, recycling and composting, but the success of those activities will naturally depend on the public's co-operation. Since there are limits on how much we can landfill in future, recovering energy from the remaining waste will help us meet our EU landfill diversion targets and avoid large fines from the Government.
ERF disposes of residual waste that would otherwise, in most cases, end up in a landfill, without recovering much of the energy that it contains.
How does ERF fit with recycling?
In many cases, our plants provide a way of unlocking the energy in waste that cannot be recycled. This is an environmental improvement over burning scarce fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal. Energy generated from the biomass within residual household waste (i.e. that remaining after household kerbside recycling) is renewable/carbon neutral. This helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions because coal or oil is displaced and methane production from landfill is avoided.
Waste minimisation and recycling are very important, but the fact is that together both of these approaches cannot solve our waste problems. Even by meeting the challenging recycling targets set by central government, the UK will still be left with approximately 50 per cent of its waste needing an alternative form of disposal. ERF is a well-proven technology that can provide the opportunity to treat the waste left after recycling and release the energy value contained within the materials. It is the only realistic way of helping authorities achieve diversion of waste from landfill.
Other countries with high levels of recycling, such as The Netherlands and Germany, also have much higher levels of EfW/ERF than the UK. Evidence over a long period shows that recycling and EfW/ERF can successfully coexist.
Is ERF just another fancy name for incineration?
Unlike today's modern facilities, a number of plants that were developed during the late 1960s and 70s simply burnt or incinerated waste, using mains gas or other fossil fuels. However, modern facilities recover energy from the process and are therefore classed as ERF facilities, as opposed to being simply an incineration plant. ENERGOS ERF plants utilise Advanced Conversion Technology (ACT) and only use a small amount of natural gas to kick start the gasification process.
Is this residual material hazardous?
Bottom ash, which makes up the vast majority of the residual material generated, is not hazardous. APCR is classed as a hazardous material and is disposed of in the appropriate safe manner.
What is residual material?
There are two residual materials. The main one is bottom ash and the second is air pollution control residue (APCR), which is commonly known as fly ash. Bottom ash is frequently used as material in block manufacture or as a blend component for aggregate, used in road building etc.
How does ERF work?
In the most widely used EfW process, waste is burned on a moving grate. Air is introduced above and beneath the grate in carefully controlled amounts to ensure proper combustion. Good combustion means fewer emissions. The hot gases released are directed to a boiler to recover the heat. Around 600 kilowatt-hours of electricity per tonne of waste combusted can be recovered. The combustion gases are then cleaned in several stages to a strict standard set by the Waste Incineration Directive (WID), which are monitored by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency in Scotland (SEPA) and the Environment Agency (EA) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Around 75 per cent of the waste input in to the ERF facility will be re-used as either energy or residual material. This figure could rise to as much as 97 per cent depending on the development of future facilities.
What is an Energy Recovery Facility (ERF)?
ERF stands for Energy Recovery Facility, which better describes modern Energy from Waste (EfW) processes. ERF is now firmly related to Advanced Conversion Technologies (ACT's) or Advanced Thermal Treatment (ATT) - two terminologies that are used to differentiate new clean technology from conventional incineration.
What is energy from waste (Efw)?
EfW is the name often given to the thermal treatment of waste under controlled conditions in which energy is produced. This energy can either be converted to electricity to boost the National Grid and/or, at times, to provide heat in the form of hot water or steam, for use by nearby developments.
The amount of electricity produced depends on the size of the plant. A typical ENERGOS EfW/ERF plant will treat c120,000 tonnes of waste per year and that will provide an electricity generation capacity of c10.5MWe. This would meet the domestic electricity needs of around 15,000 homes.