Veolia has now become the first operator in the UK to achieve the high efficiency, R1, standard for all of its energy recovery facilities (ERF), the company has announced.
By generating energy from municipal waste the plants have demonstrated a high level of energy efficiency according to EU regulations, and have increased the UK’s landfill diversion rates.
Designed to improve energy recovery performance the R1 formula is set out in the EU Waste Framework Directive and is a performance indicator for the level of energy recovered from waste.
“By generating green electricity and heat from resources such as non-recyclable residual waste we improve resource efficiency, reduce landfill and achieve greater sustainability as part of the circular economy”
The assessment factors include the energy produced by the plant, and the energy contained in the waste, and effectively places it higher up the waste hierarchy.
Veolia currently operates ten plants that take around 2m tonnes of non-recyclable waste and transforms this into electricity for over 300,000 homes. This combined generating capacity of 240MWe takes pressure off the stretched UK electrical grid and effectively avoids using fossil fuels for generation.
Some of these facilities also produce heat for communities through district heating networks, by using combined heat and power technology.
As an estimated 20% of the nation’s carbon emissions are generated by domestic heating, due to a low standard of energy efficiency, using this type of non – fossil fuel heating lowers carbon emissions and can help reduce cost, and fuel poverty, in vulnerable groups.
Richard Kirkman, Technical Director, Veolia UK and Ireland commented: “Access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy has a direct impact on modern life, and is linked to fuel poverty and carbon emissions. To virtually eliminate wastes and produce energy in its place is a win-win situation.
“By generating green electricity and heat from resources such as non-recyclable residual waste we improve resource efficiency, reduce landfill and achieve greater sustainability as part of the circular economy.”