At this year’s POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe conference in Amsterdam, one of the innovative solutions being used by the European power market that will be discussed at length is Waste to Energy (WtE). With European power being generated through an amalgamation of both renewable and traditional power sources, WtE represents a meeting of both approaches, with by-products of industrial, commercial and domestic consumption being used as fuel, offsetting the carbon emissions of the original power generation or usage.
Biomass is derived from living or recently living organisms. It takes carbon out of the atmosphere while it is growing and returns it as it is burned, thus maintaining a closed carbon cycle with no net increase in atmospheric CO2 levels. It is because of this closed loop that the use of WtE and biogas techniques are rapidly becoming more popular, as waste being used as fuel negates the need to find an outside power source. Another vital benefit of WtE, which separates it from other ‘clean’ energies such as wind and solar radiation, is its baseload power capabilities. WtE has a steady and controllable output, meaning it can be relied upon for a constant energy supply, where other alternative means of generation can fluctuate.
Due to the obvious benefits of WtE, both for carbon levels and energy generation, it is now seen as an important part of waste management and the energy supply network. Currently, there are more than 450 WtE plants operating across Europe, in particular within France, Germany and Italy. Another reason for WtE’s popularity is because it is helping countries to reduce carbon emissions and hit renewable energy targets.
Furthermore, its popularity is also driving the technology to be refined in different ways. Solutions such as pyrolysis and gasification are enabling biogas to be heated with little or no oxygen to form ‘syngas’, a more efficient fuel than the original fuel it was taken from, and has the ability to be converted into ethanol or hydrogen. With these advancements in the process of converting WtE, and the widespread use of the system in European plants, it is little wonder that analysts have predicted that global revenues in WtE plants will reach $29 billion by 2016.
This year POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe has conference sessions, exhibitors and at-show events dedicated to Waste to Energy. Delegates will have the opportunity to learn from some of the most important people in these dedicated fields, with a conference session entitled “Biomass & waste to energy developments” occurring on Tuesday 9th June at 2pm, to be chaired by Ronald Meijer of DNV GL Energy Netherlands. Register now to attend: www.powergeneurope.com/register