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Making the Most of Waste to Energy Opportunities

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Making the Most of Waste to Energy Opportunities

Making the Most of Waste to Energy Opportunities
September 06
09:26 2013
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The use of alternative fuels is growing. With take-up in Europe demonstrating what can be achieved, and driven by developments in carbon-neutral technology, more Irish organisations are recognising the value of bio-fuelled, cogenerated on-site power.

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants are often fuelled by natural gas, which is clean, consistent in quality, and often cheaper than alternative fuels. However, a CHP plant can also operate on biogas, landfill gas, liquid gas, propane, biomass, diesel and bio-diesel. The commitment of countries such as France, Germany and Italy to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency levels has led to the growing use of ‘waste’ and biomass fuels. On-site CHP and waste-to-energy CHP, in particular, are a viable route to similar energy efficiency, cost reduction and environmental improvement for Ireland too, because natural energy and carbon efficiencies embodied in gas or oil-fired CHP are enhanced with the use of a carbon-neutral fuel.

The growth of waste-to-energy and bio-fuelled CHP in Europe are being driven by the escalating price of fossil fuels, the need to recycle and the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The ‘spark gap’ (between gas and electricity prices) has driven more organisations to turn to more efficient and cost-effective means of on-site energy generation. Coupled with this is a growing awareness of waste management as a key business operation, fundamental to cost efficiency. Minimising waste to landfill by utilising on-site by-products to fuel cogeneration plants provides a solution that reduces reliance on carbon fuels and simultaneously diverts a waste stream from landfill.

Now the environmental performance of on-site generation through CHP plants is being enhanced by technologies that enable the use of discarded materials to be burnt in the process of generating electricity. This is providing a viable option for seeking to improve environmental performance and deliver energy cost efficiencies.

While CHP has been widely recognised by the large scale industrial and healthcare sectors inIrelandfor some time; the market is now evolving to generate heat and power on-site, not only from biogas created through Anaerobic Digestion, but also from landfill gas, bio-liquid and biomass.


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