Under the EU Landfill Directive the UK is required to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill sites. This is being achieved by a major increase in recycling, with residual waste increasingly being used for energy recovery.
We continue to focus on delivering vital infrastructure and quality services to provide essential renewable energy, resource recovery and waste management.
Transforming residual waste into vital energy
Energy recovery from waste (both biodegradable and non-biodegradable) accounted for 8% of total UK renewable energy generated in 2012. We believe that by 2020 UK energy recovery from waste could produce 15,000 GWh of the total forecasted UK renewable energy generation (120,000 GWh), accounting for circa 13%. This is particularly significant given predicted capacity shortages in the energy sector.
Energy can be recovered in two ways, either via gas (notably landfill gas and anaerobic digestion (AD)) or combustion in ERF and similar facilities, some of which may be a part of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) schemes.
Historically, we were one of the largest landfill operators in the country, and even here we pioneered the harnessing of landfill gas to generate renewable power and reduce carbon emissions. As technologies have progressed, we have gradually moved our focus away from landfill and are investing in new smart and efficient energy recovery facilities.