28 May 2020 by James Langley

Residual waste processed at EfW plants jumps 9.9%

The tonnage of residual waste processed at energy from waste (EfW) plants in the UK increased by 9.9% from 2018 to 2019, according to a report released by consultancy firm Tolvik.

In its annual report on EfW statistics from the UK, released yesterday (My 27), Tolvik said a total of 12.6 million tonnes of residual waste was processed across the country’s 53 operational plants in 2019.

The amount of residual waste processed by EfW plants in the UK increased by 9.9% in 2019

These plants produced 6,700GWh of electricity during the past year, around 2% of the total power generated in the UK.

The introduction to the report reads: “Tolvik’s sixth annual report on the UK energy from waste sector brings together data from a range of sources into a single document.

“Thanks to excellent co-operation between the Environment Agency, Environmental Services Association and individual EfW operators, there has been significant progress in the standardisation of reporting via the annual performance reports prepared by operators which has greatly facilitated the preparation of this report.”

Last year Tolvik reported UK EfW plants had processed 11.49 million tonnes of residual waste, itself an increase of 5.6% on 2017 (see letsrecycle.com story).

The full 2019 report can be downloaded here.

Residual waste

For the purposes of the report, Tolvik defines mixed waste as non-hazardous, solid, combustible mixed waste which remains after recycling activities. This definition is a little broader than that for municipal waste, Tolvik says.

Viridor surpassed Veolia as having the greatest share of the EfW market in 2019 (picture: Tolvik)

The 12.6 million tonnes processed by EfW plants in the UK represents 45.5% of the overall UK residual waste market, the consultancy firm suggests.

In 2019 Viridor passed Veolia in having the greatest market share by operator based on input tonnages, Tolvik claims. The waste management company processed more than 2.7 million tonnes of residual waste, representing a 22.1% share of the market.

Other companies to have a significant share of the market included Veolia (18.6%), Suez (17.6%) and FCC Environment (11.8%).

2019 saw the total tonnage of residual waste sent to EfW plants in the UK exceed the tonnage sent to landfill for the first time, Tolvik says.

Plants

The consultancy firm says at the end of 2019 there were 53 EfW plants operational or in late commissioning and 11 EfW plants in construction. One further plant has been “mothballed”.

Tolvik says total headline capacity of EfW plants which were operational or in construction during 2019 increased by 1.6 million tonnes when compared with 2018.

The report attributes this overall increase to three projects reaching financial close during 2019 and increases in consented capacity achieved at some existing facilities.

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