How can waste to energy solutions contribute to the circular economy

Waste to energy solutions provide a convenient solution to both environmental loading and energy production, especially in distributed energy models.

In order to be fully sustainable, we have to truly address waste challenges. The ultimate solution is the reduction of waste at source, meaning less waste production. Business models are based on the availability and type of waste, energy needs, and technology solutions. However, care should be taken in applying off-the-shelf solutions to particular projects, meaning each project should be evaluated on a stand-alone basis. The world has seen a wide range of initiatives and collaborative efforts to minimize the impact of waste on sustainable development and use it as a resource to bring about further benefits for humanity.

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The example of UAE

In 2021, the UAE government launched the Circular Economy Policy to ensure proper and efficient use of natural resources and products, as part of its efforts to promote environmental health, support the adoption of clean production methods, and achieve the country’s vision to be a global pioneer of green growth and sustainable development. The policy is expected to support the country’s economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, while mitigating environmental impact.

There exist a variety of business models for waste to energy solutions. A number of countries are providing electrical production subsidies as incentive for putting up WtE plants. Community-based businesses also exist for small applications while build-operate-transfer or build-operate-own-transfer schemes are being undertaken on large infrastructure projects.

The Abu Dhabi Waste Management Center (Tadweer) is constantly working on launching initiatives and developing projects that turn waste liabilities into economic assets, in line with the UAE’s Circular Economy Policy. Tadweer and EWEC’s waste to energy solutions plant also supports the country’s Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to increase the contribution of clean energy from 25 per cent to 50 per cent by 2050 and reduce carbon footprint of power generation by 70 per cent, thus saving Dh700 billion by 2050.

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More specifically, Waste to Energy solutions contributes to the circular economy by:

  • Providing a hygienic service to the community by treating non-recyclable combustible waste and pollutants, which would otherwise end up in landfills.
  • Providing secondary raw materials from incineration residues, a process known as material recovery.
  • Recovering energy from waste and providing a local and reliable source of renewable electricity, heat, hydrogen and fuels, substituting fossil fuels and strengthening the EU’s energy security.
  • Recovering the emitted carbon from its processes through carbon capture technologies and producing further products and fuels.

This comes in line with the UAE’s forward-looking vision to ensure the country’s sustainable economic development.

Also read How waste solutions can help reduce carbon emissions

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Waste can represent an important 24/7 base power, especially if used in a small or medium sized plant. To find the optimal solutions Universal Kraft works with different technical partners, all from patented pyrolysis EPGS, with compact, scalable, efficient and flexible solutions, converting a variety of different wastes into energy. Our main interest is to bring waste into a circular context in smaller communities, in combination with sustainable actions. As solid waste and organic compounds in industrial wastewater and residue water are some of the feedstock that offer untapped energy potential.

Waste is not just a problem, waste can be a solution where non-recyclable waste is turned into a valuable resource for the whole society.

Discover our Waste to Energy Solutions projects here.

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