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Market sees stockholding of secondary fuels

Market sees stockholding of secondary fuels
"A reduction in waste volumes in Europe, in addition to ongoing transport challenges, makes it harder to predict the access to secondary fuels this coming winter season. The market is encouraging industry players to increase stocks of RDF and SRF," says Geminor CEO Kjetil Vikingstad (photo courtesy Geminor).

According to secondary fuels supplier Geminor A/S, the current perfect storm of market conditions make it increasingly difficult to predict access to fuels in the coming winter season for just in time supply. Instead, the market is encouraging industry players to increase storage capacity and stocks of RDF and SRF.

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Norway-headed Geminor A/S is an international recycling company focusing on refuse-derived fuel (RDF), solid recovered fuel (SRF), recycled waste wood, hazardous waste for energy recovery, and paper & cardboard, plastic, and other types of waste for material recycling in the European market.

With logistic hubs and a presence in the Nordics, the UK, Germany, France, and Poland, the Group handles over 1.7 million tonnes of material annually, providing it with a unique overview and insight into secondary fuel flows in northern Europe.

Coming availability challenges

According to the company, a “turbulent economy and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine” are leading to a drop in available commercial and household waste across Europe.

At the same time, reduced transportation capacity all over the continent is extending the challenges for the waste-to-energy (WtE)- and secondary fuel industry.

Compounded by seasonal variations, which normally lead to a reduction in waste volumes during winter, there is a growing concern over on-demand availability as the sector draws closer to the 2023 season.

Challenges will most likely continue for off-takers in the WtE sector, explains Per Mernelius, Country Manager for Geminor in Sweden.

Stocking up with baled material

Mernelius emphasized the importance of having access to stocked volumes in the winter months.

Many industry players have noticed the unusual market situation for secondary fuels, and are aware of the coming logistics challenges which most likely will continue into the coming winter. Many see the need for more predictable deliveries, as well as a buffer of baled RDF, Per Mernelius said.

According to Mernelius, the firm is “doing all we can to stem a potential lack of secondary fuels this coming season.”

Our goal now is therefore to grind and bale as much waste as possible where this is possible during the summer. In our HUB in Landskrona, Sweden, we want to store as many as 10 000 tonnes of ballet RDF from Italy, Germany, and the UK. In Oxelösund, we will store around 6 000 tonnes of SRF from the UK. We will do what we can to utilize the existing transport capacity and secure surplus waste this summer, Per Mernelius said.

Denmark follows suit

In Denmark there is also an increased interest in long-term planning and storage, explains Country Manager for Geminor DK, Kasper Thomsen.

Our off-takers in Odense and Esbjerg have chosen to take in 7 000 and 5 000 tonnes respectively over the summer to build up a stock for the coming winter. This is a direct consequence of the lack of waste that the industry experienced in Denmark last winter, Kasper Thomsen said.

A stack of baled waste
A stack of baled RDF bound for Norway represents the first-ever export of waste fuels from Poland (photo courtesy Geminor).

At the same time, we will increase our own stock with RDF in the HUB in Aalborg, primarily by around 5 000 tonnes from Italy, said Kasper Thomsen.

Geminor’s CEO Kjetil Vikingstad expects waste players across Europe to increase the storage of secondary fuels and other fractions.

For some time we have had a waste market based on “last-minute” delivery, but during the last two years, downstream players have noticed that waste volumes are not as easy to get hold of in the winter season. The seasonal variations in volumes are getting more noticeable, also because of the reduction in waste exports from the UK, Kjetil Vikingstad said.

Increased storage leads to better stability

The waste industry is better served with a stable and predictable supply of secondary fuels, which also provides more stable market prices. It is easier to achieve this by increasing storage capacity for the winter months, concluded Kjetil Vikingstad.

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