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Energy-from-waste growth slows

ef w completion

A slowdown has been revealed in the growth of the energy-from-waste (EfW) sector.

Data from Gloucestershire-based Tolvik Consulting showed that 10.89 million tonnes of residual waste was processed in UK energy recovery plants in 2017. This was up 7.7% from the previous year, but that figure represents a slowdown from from 20% growth in 2016 and 25% a year earlier.

There were 40 fully operational EfW plants in the UK in December 2017 and a headline capacity of 12.26 milion tonnes a year (mtpa).

This was up from 37 operational plants a year earlier and a total capacity of 11.76mtpa.

EfW accounted for 39.1% of the UK residual waste market in 2017, up from 35.4% a year earlier.

Tolvik predicted that EfW would overtake landfill as the most common destination for waste in 2018, measured by mass.

The consultancy said: “Particularly notable, after turbine issues experienced at several larger EfW [plants] in 2016, was the return to the long-term trend of a greater average power exported per tonne of input waste.

“The 2017 figure of 575kWh/tonne was an all-time high and 11% up on 2016.

”The report identified other operational improvements including the lowest ever reported average parasitic load (at 13.4%) and, while still modest, increased beneficial use of heat exported by EfWs in the UK.”

The Environmental Services Association recently called on the Government to support EfW, following fears the UK will be left with not enough plants to process residual waste. 

But consultancy Eunomia has argued that the UK would reach an overcapacity of residual waste treatment facilities by 2020-21.


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