Thursday, August 22, 2013

Waste to Energy a Role Model Sweden

Each Swede produces just over 500 kg or half a ton of household waste every year.  Thanks to the efficient waste management in Sweden, the vast majority of this household waste can be recovered or reused.  Only four per cent is land-filled.  Just over two million ton of household waste is treated by waste to energy in Swedish plants every year.  These plants incinerate a similar quantity of waste from industries as well.  Waste incineration provides heat corresponding to the needs of 810,000 homes, around 20 per cent of all the district-heating produced.  It also provides electricity corresponding to the needs of almost 250,000 homes. International comparisons show that Sweden is the global leader in recovering the energy in waste.

Waste to energy is a well-established source of energy in Sweden.  The first incineration plant started operation during the later part of the 1940s, the district-heating network was expanded in connection with the extensive construction of new buildings following the second world war.  During the 1970s, the major expansion of waste incineration plants started.  Sweden has had strict standards limiting emissions from waste incineration since the mid-1980s.  Most emissions have fallen by between 90 and 99 percent since then thanks to ongoing technical development and better waste sorting.

What a waste
Swedish waste to energy is an environmental, financial, safe and stable contribution to the country’s energy supply.   Waste to energy is a recovery method that provides a significant part of Europe's energy needs.  One example of this is that around 50 million tons of waste are processed through incineration every year throughout Europe.  This corresponds to the heat requirements for the populations of Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  In Sweden alone, waste incineration generates as much energy as 1.1 million cubic meters (m³) of oil, which reduces carbon dioxide (Co2) emissions by 2.2 million tons per year. This is as much Co2 as 680,000 petrol-powered cars emit in a year.

Avfall Sverige

Avfall Sverige Swedish Waste Management   pdf  (how this works)

Öresundskraft AB

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