Climate Change Committee (CCC) report warns of rising EfW emissions

The CCC's annual report to Parliament warns of increased emissions from EfW plants as the energy from waste sector expands
Climate Change Committee (CCC) report warns of rising EfW emissions
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The CCC's annual report to Parliament warns that the "continued growth in the use of Energy from Waste (EfW) plants is undermining efforts to reduce emissions within the waste sector."

The committee stress the need to limit the growth of the EfW sector, which, according to a report by Tolvik consulting, will reach 18% in EfW capacity by 2027, based on plants currently under construction. 

The figures for EfW emissions outlined in the government's Carbon Budget Delivery Plan (CBDP) have already been surpassed, causing the committee to urge for "a comprehensive systems approach to control and reduce EfW emissions...including a moratorium on additional EfW capacity until a review of capacity".

The document outlines several recommendations to government including the need to: 

Implement a whole-systems approach to address Energy from Waste (EfW) emissions, including setting out the implications of rising EfW use for waste decarbonisation and confirming plans to include EfW within the UK ETS. A moratorium on additional EfW capacity should be introduced subject to a review of capacity needs and how they align with Government emissions pathways. Further clarity is also needed on how decisions on allowing further EfW plants will be made.

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Our purpose is to advise the UK and devolved governments on emissions targets and to report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

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Go to the profile of Alf Robertson
10 months ago

I am puzzled by the seeming lack of awareness that EfW reduces emissions. The alternative, which has been the historic norm in the UK, of landfill tonne for tonne of waste, produces more emissions than EfW. We think of waste as a problem, but Scandinavians think of waste as a resource. We should do the same, but sadly many are still living in the past and cannot think of waste as a resource to be carefully managed for the benefit of society, while thinking of emissions in the same way - as a resource rather than a problem, seems to be beyond their imagination. At Agile Energy we do this: take in raw residual waste, process it to remove any remaining recyclates, produce steam with the fuel that is left and export electricity to the grid, use the waste heat for affordable reliable district heating, produce hydrogen at off peak times, capture the CO2 from the flue gas and produce liquid fuels by combining the CO2 and the H2.

And the CCC want to stop our industry doing this? Who is advising these people? Do they only understand the stick when it comes to motivation? Here is my alternative statement:

"Implement a whole-systems approach to address Waste Management, including setting out the implications of continuing to waste resources by landfilling instead of a properly designed whole systems approach to utilize waste and emissions at Integrated Recycling and Resource Recovery Facilities (IRF's) for waste decarbonisation and confirming plans to capture and convert carbon emissions into circular economy low carbon-based products and fuels." 

Alf Robertson

Managing Director, Agile Energy Recovery Limited