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Veolia UK’s Energy Recovery Facilities achieve new record energy output

The latest data from resource company, Veolia UK Ltd, has demonstrated the importance of Energy Recovery Facilities (ERFs) to the UK's baseload infrastructure through record availability to supply the grid with electricity. By achieving an average of more than 96 percent across 2021 the ten operating plants have delivered around 1.52 TWh of electricity, enough power to supply nearly 460 000 homes.

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Veolia UK Ltd’s Marchwood Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) is one of ten of the Group’s ERF plants operating in the UK. By achieving an average of more than 96 percent across 2021, the plants have delivered around 1.52 TWh of power in 2021 (photo courtesy Veolia).

As the plants release the energy potential of unrecyclable waste by using it as a fuel to generate electricity, the facilities have also avoided around 2.5 million tonnes of waste going to landfills.

Leading the success were the Chineham SELCHP, and the Marchwood ERF which achieved around 99 percent availability, meaning they were delivering electricity 24 hours a day across the whole of 2021.

District heating

Three of the plants also contributed through the delivery of heat to communities and businesses via district heating networks in London, Sheffield, and Leeds using combined heat and power (CHP) technology. These supplied around 2 GWh of heat equivalent to the heating needed for 120 000 homes.

As an estimated 20 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions are generated by domestic heating, due to a low standard of energy efficiency, using this type of non-fossil fuel heating lowers carbon emissions and can help reduce cost, and fuel poverty, in vulnerable groups.

The recent energy market volatility and the ability to deliver stable power have highlighted the importance of reliable sources of energy that can support our modern lives and the UK power infrastructure. As electricity demand grows due to factors such as population growth, adoption of electric vehicles, use of electricity to heat homes through heat pumps, and increased demand of the rapidly expanding internet of things, the UK will need more stable power sources, Donald Macphail, Chief Operating Officer – Treatment at Veolia said.

ERFs are societal critical infrastructure

According to the company, the importance of Energy Recovery facilities to the UK energy infrastructure was further demonstrated during July last year when Veolia’s plants alone supplied more electricity for the UK power network compared to all the UK wind generation assets combined.

Over a period of fourteen hours on July 22, 2021, the company’s facilities actually delivered nearly 25 percent more energy than wind power, and at one point Veolia delivered 111 MWe, against the total wind generation of 58 MWe.

With a combined generating capacity of 180 MWe, the ten ERFs contribute reliable and secure low carbon energy. and have shown their key role in safely tackling COVID-related wastes by treating the 15 percent increase in orange bagged clinical and infectious materials.

Veolia was the first operator of this type of plant in the UK to achieve the high efficiency, R1, standard for all of its Energy Recovery Facilities.

Avoiding landfills and their potentially damaging greenhouse gas emissions is a key priority as we look to stop climate change. Every tonne of residual, commercial and municipal waste that we stop going to landfills reduces the impact, as the methane that arises from landfills has been scientifically assessed as being 28 times more climate-damaging than carbon dioxide. By eliminating waste and generating green electricity and heat, we can achieve greater future sustainability, ended Donal Macphail.

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