Climate change and the increasing scarcity of fossil resources are the major challenges of the 21st century. They are making it essential to develop new, more environmentally friendly sources of energy.
Waste and wastewater now represent a resource that can be recovered as energy in the form of heat, electricity or fu
Keeping track of waste
Étienne Petit, Veolia’s CEO in Germany
“The energy transition is a global issue, championed as a priority by countries already highly advanced in the field of resource management optimization.”
Turning waste into green energy has many advantages. First of all, it makes it possible to side-step the constraints linked to its storage, at a time when regulations in this area are becoming increasingly stringent, especially in Europe and the United States. “The energy transition is a global issue, championed as a priority by countries already highly advanced in the field of resource management optimization,” explains Étienne Petit, Veolia’s CEO in Germany. “As landfill sites have been prohibited since 2005, Germany began considering the recovery of waste and its use as an energy resource at a very early stage,” he states. Most European countries have taken this stance, encouraged by 2008’s framework directive. “Waste-to-energy has become an obvious approach. The United Kingdom has put in place financial incentives to encourage local authorities to recover their waste,” adds Pierre Mauguin, Energy Recovery Business Unit Coordinator in Veolia’s Technical and Performance division.
Going with the flow
360 meters long and almost 75 meters high, this masterpiece with delicate curves in the form of a double wave blends in seamlessly with the surrounding hills of Hong Kong and overlooks Deep Bay, just opposite Shenzhen. It is the largest sludge treatment facility in the world.
Sewage sludge from wastewater t reatment can a l s o be transformed into energy. “Until now, sewage sludge was used for spreading. This is going to be prohibited,” states Étienne Petit. Today, this sludge can be treated to produce RDF (Refuse-Derived Fuel), a high calorific value fuel. “It is an important energy source in Germany for cement works and power plants,” highlights Étienne Petit. Some seven million metric tons of RDF are used in the country each year. Another example in Hong Kong, where Veolia runs the largest sludge treatment facility in the world , T-Park: sludge incineration produces up to 14 MWh of electricity per year. This exceeds the plant’s energy needs, hence the decision to plow back the surplus into the public electricity network…