What Is Energy From Waste?

What Is Energy From Waste?

Historically, the UK had been very dependent on landfills and most of the early incinerators were for disposal only, which only reduces the volume of waste. However, most landfills were unattended and unmanaged which caused land and air pollution to the environment. There are more than ten toxic gases produced from landfills, with methane being one of the most dangerous. Other air pollutants that are emitted from landfills include dust, particulate matter, and other non-chemical contaminants.

In order to aim for a sustainable future, a new generation of energy from waste plants had been developed to meet the new strict emission standards and to provide low carbon energy. These energy from waste plants are facilities that convert solid waste into usable electricity and heat that can be used in domestic, commercial, and industrial applications.

How Are Energy From Waste Plants Better For The Environment Than Landfills?

With over 300 energy from waste plants in operation in Europe, they are an essential part of the commitment to the sustainable management of waste. Energy from waste facilities that are well-managed is cleaner and safer, with increased efficiency and reliability.

The EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) introduced strict legislation on controlling the development and operations of energy from waste facilities. As a result, before any facility can operate in the UK, it must obtain an environmental permit from the Environment Agency. They will assess and monitor the energy from waste plants based on the EU’s IED legislation.

According to data in 2017 from the UK National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, it estimates that nearly a third (32%) of the UK’s Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions are produced by cars, vans, and lorries. In comparison, all of the UK’s 40+ energy from waste plants combined only produce 1.2% of the NOx emissions that deal with non-recyclable waste.

With these waste to energy facilities, waste no longer needs to be buried in the ground and it can be converted into usable energy, such as electricity or heat. This energy can then be transported locally or fed to the national grid network. This is an alternative way of creating energy rather than using oil or coal, which is reducing the dependency on finite resources.

Image of an energy from waste plant.

Controlling The Emissions Of Air Pollutants

The combustion of materials causes chemical reactions with the materials being burnt. As a result, various compounds such as nitrogen dioxide, VOCs, and particulate matter are released into the atmosphere which can be harmful to health and the surrounding environment if they are not properly managed and reduced.

With waste to energy plants, almost half of any facility will be managed by an air pollution control system which usually has a two-stage process.

  • First, these systems can reduce the level of gases and particles that are created by controlling the gases inside the plant’s furnace.
  • Secondly, it captures, filters, and cleans the gases through an intricate gas treatment process.

The remaining pollutants are small quantities of compounds that should be within the pollution limits set by the Industrial Emissions Directive and the Environment Agency, therefore, reducing the impact on health and the environment. In some circumstances, the level of pollutants in the air around these facilities is lower than in the surrounding area, which improves the local air quality.

How Is Energy From Waste Improving & Developing?

Waste is a major concern for all of us as it’s continuously building up. There needs to be an effective way to reduce the volume of waste while minimising the effects and risks. Waste to Energy is a globally important industry and it is a topic that affects countries all over the world.

A premier conference called ‘Energy From Waste’ is taking place in the UK on 4th – 5th March 2020. This conference enables senior-level decision-makers from various relevant sectors, such as waste, energy, technology, and project development to explore the latest developments in this worldwide industry.

This conference unites attendees from over 20 countries and it provides exceptional opportunities to connect with investors, policymakers, technical experts, and innovators who can push for change and growth in the Waste to Energy sector.

The conference covers a wide range of important topics which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Operational efficiency and exploring the developments in capacity, volumes, trade, and gate fees.
  • Carbon capture, storage, and delivery of complex projects.
  • EPC delivery and its future.
  • Advancements in waste-derived transport fuels and substitute fuels.
  • Assessment of the future of energy, heat, fuels, and resources with industry leaders.


Our dedicated team would love to hear from you – whether you want to ask us about our products, or discuss a bespoke need, feel free to get in touch.

Contact AAC Eurovent for Odour Control & Carbon Filter Systems

At AAC Eurovent, we provide high-performance solutions for reliable odour control and VOC abatement in Waste to Energy plants. Our AAC 2-Pass Swiftpack System is a duct-mounted system that incorporates the AAC Plastic Refillable range of carbon filters. This system is designed to deliver reliable performance in odour control and VOC abatement for waste to energy plants. The 2-Pass capability of this carbon filter system enables various types of media to be used which enables effective removal of general gases and odours, as well as specific gases like ammonia.

Why Is Energy From Waste (EfW) Important?

The UK has seen a lot of development in terms of how we dispose of waste. In recent times, a new generation of Energy from Waste plants had been introduced which fulfils more purposes than just being a disposal-only point. The UK had been dependent on landfills to dispose of residual waste (waste that cannot be reused or recycled), but there are now new methods of disposing of this waste in order to generate usable energy.

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