Waste-to-energy plant brings multi-benefits

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Posted on: 8 May 2012

An advanced waste-to-energy plant in Finland converts municipal waste into heat and electricity – efficiently and in an environmentally friendly way.

8 May 2012 Advanced waste-to-energy plant brings multi-benefits An advanced waste-to-energy plant went into commercial operation today in Finland. The plant, owned and operated by Lahti Energia Oy, an energy company of the City of Lahti, utilizes new gasification technology for converting municipal waste into heat and electricity - in an environmentally friendly way. In addition, it cuts use of fossil fuels thus reducing emissions from energy production. The CHP plant locates near the city of Lahti in South Finland. Utilizing the next-generation gasification technology, the plant produces 50 megawatts of electricity and 90 megawatts of district heat. In the gasifier, waste is turned into combustable gas, which is cooled and cleaned and then combusted in a high-efficiency gas boiler to produce steam for a steam turbine. The overall efficiency of the Kyvo 2 plant reaches approximately 87 or 88 percent. The electrical efficiency ratio can be raised to 20 to 30 percent. This is double the electricity generation capacity of grate incineration - the technology currently in use - that also has environmental risks. The new plant is able to keep to the limits of the EU waste incineration directive solely by means of a dry gas purification technology. “Our new plant will increase the total efficiency of the available energy production in the Lahti city area and also ensure sufficiency of electricity and especially heat for increasing needs in this area," says Janne Savelainen, Managing Director of Lahti Energia. “This is the world’s first energy-from-waste power station to operate with gasification technology,” he says. “The amount of waste needs to be reduced and recycling and reutilization of material needs to be maximized.” “From the materials left over, it is in everyone’s interest to separate that part which can be burnt and use it as efficiently as possible in energy production, just like Lahti Energy does,” Savelainen stresses. Power plant equipment and systems are supplied by Metso and Siemens. The entire investment cost of the plant is about EUR160 million. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is financing close to half the investment with the remainder being provided by the Nordic Investment Bank, the Finnish government and Lahti Energy. Lahti – a forerunner in gasification According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Finland is a world leader in combined heat and power technology (CHP). About a third of all electricity is produced in such plants in Finland, compared with 10 percent or less in Europe as a whole. Lahti Energia Oy has been one of the first energy companies in the world to use gasification as a method for combustion. Since 1998, its old power plant has gasified over one million tonnes of wood-based fuel and waste sorted at source, replacing 700,000 tonnes of coal. Late 1990s, the company became an international center of excellence in CHP technology. Lahti Energia Oy has been one of the first energy companies in the world to use gasification as a method for combustion. Since 1998, its old power plant has gasified over one million tonnes of wood-based fuel and waste sorted at source, replacing 700,000 tonnes of coal. Now, the company is the leading global operator in the gasification of waste. The new plant will use 250,000 tonnes of waste per year. This is about 10 percent of total municipal waste suited for incineration in Finland. With this new waste-to-energy power plant Lahti region is on track to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels by 50 percent, further translating into decreased annual carbon dioxide emissions. Thanks to the innovative features, the new power plant has become an EU showcase and gains increased visibility and continuous interest from abroad. Developing entire waste chain Europe recycles less than half its waste. One third of waste that ends up in landfills is biomass-based and can be utilized as clean energy, which supports EU’s climate goals. After 2016, only treated waste can be taken to landfills, according to the EU waste directive. This requires prevention of waste generation, increase in recycling, and incineration of fibres to generate energy. Lahti Energia together with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has coordinated a demonstration project developing the entire waste management chain, clean and effective gasification and power plant process concepts, and an ash treatment system. The LahtiStreams project is part of EU’s 6th framework program. At the moment, as much as 94 percent of waste generated in the Lahti region is recycled and reused. Recovery of valuable metals is an important part of this process.
Posted: 08 May 2012

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