Renewables at a crossroads
25th September 2015
Winds of change in Europe
25th September 2015

Indaver: creating strategic infrastructure


Indaver in Ireland: a success story. Indaver Ireland delivers high-quality and cost-effective services in the specialised market of hazardous and non-hazardous waste. It offers sustainable waste management solutions and is responsible for building and operating Ireland’s first municipal Waste-to-Energy Facility in Co. Meath.

Meath Waste-to-Energy Facility: benefitting the environment and the community
The Meath Waste-to-Energy Facility completed its fourth successful year of operation in August 2015. It treats 235,000 tonnes per year of residual waste and generates 18MW electricity from this waste, enough to power the equivalent of 22,000 households.

Through improvements in efficiency and throughput, the operations team has steadily increased the generator output and recently obtained a connection agreement to extend the maximum export capacity by 3MW. All of this helps to optimise the amount of energy recovery from the waste processed.

Generating renewable energy
In many ways, the Meath Waste-to-Energy Facility operates like a conventional power plant by using solid fuel to raise steam in a boiler which is converted to electricity. However, approximately 50 per cent of the electrical output is renewable, as it is sourced from the biomass in residual waste such as textiles, and non recyclable cardboard.

Two complicating factors are the heterogeneity of the waste, and the requirement to stay within the stringent emissions limits set out in the Industrial Emissions Directive. The Meath Waste-to-Energy Facility is specifically designed to handle fluctuations in fuel quality while remaining within these limits. The flue gas treatment system, the largest investment in the facility, is of extremely robust design, and specialised materials are used in the furnace and boiler systems. Energy recovery at the facility is carefully staged so as to manage a controlled cooling of combustion gases.

Because of tight controls and commercial drivers, the Meath Waste-to-Energy Facility is designed to operate continuously with a high predictability of energy generation. The typical operating capacity factor is over 93 per cent, which is very high for a renewable plant.

Aerial View May 2015

Benefits of using waste as a fuel
• Contribution to sustainability of supply
As noted above, almost half of the electrical output from a waste to energy plant is renewable. In addition, these facilities can provide essential support services to the electricity system, and facilitate the operation in the system of other renewable plants such as wind farms. As they operate continuously in a hot condition, they can be configured to operate with ease in power control over a very wide range of export values (down to as low as 5 per cent of registered capacity) and provide extremely fast ramping rates where required.

Indaver’s Meath facility is believed to be the first waste-to-energy plant in Europe to meet the stringent criteria set out by the transmission system operator to manage the transmission system on the island of Ireland. This helps to facilitate the increasing penetration of wind and move Ireland towards its renewable energy targets.

• Better security of supply
Waste-to-energy uses a valuable indigenous energy source and improves fuel diversity. As noted above, residual waste is being increasingly valued across Europe for its low cost energy content (i.e. to power district heating systems) and as a result, residual waste is now being exported from Ireland to northern Europe for energy recovery. However, with increased waste to energy capacity in Ireland more of this valuable resource can be exploited within the country, contributing to Irish energy security and sustainability goals.

• Improved competitiveness
Waste-to-energy facilities operate in the electricity market as price taking generators. This contributes to a lower average energy price, enabling consumers to benefit twofold, from both reduced energy prices and from the provision of efficient waste treatment services.

Plan-led development in Ringaskiddy Co. Cork
National waste policy now clearly identifies the need for additional thermal recovery capacity in Ireland. Though the eastern-midlands region is well-provided for, there is a significant gap in waste management infrastructure in the southern region. Given Indaver’s success in Meath, we propose to fill this gap by building a sister development, the Ringaskiddy Resource Recovery Centre in Co. Cork.

Like the Meath facility, the Ringaskiddy Resource Recovery Centre will produce renewable energy from waste. The development Indaver proposes will help Ireland to become more self-sufficient, and to meet its waste and renewable energy targets that are set out in European and national policy. The Ringaskiddy Resource Recovery Centre will help reduce reliance on landfill, the least preferred option on the waste hierarchy, and will also reduce reliance on the export of our waste abroad. The current practice of exporting residual waste for recovery abroad represents a loss of a valuable indigenous energy resource.

Recovering resources from waste plays an important role in moving away from an unsustainable, linear economy. Indaver has a holistic waste management philosophy, and we are proud of our contribution to a society in which materials form a sustainable, closed cycle: a circular economy.

The proposed Ringaskiddy Resource Recovery Centre will treat household, commercial and industrial hazardous and non-hazardous waste. It will treat 240,000 tonnes of waste per annum, generating 18.5MW electricity.

Leading the field in learning & research in Ringaskiddy
In addition to recovering resources from waste, the Ringaskiddy Resource Recovery Centre will be a centre for learning and research. It will include a high-tech, multi-media training facility. There is a local emphasis on research in Ringaskiddy, which will provide an excellent opportunity for Indaver to develop existing research partnerships with University College Cork, and to develop new partnerships with neighbouring institutions. The particular cluster of industries in Ringaskiddy provides the ideal environment to foster research in renewable energies.

Local community benefits
Significant, long-term social commitment forms an integral part of the proposed project, which will have several economic, social, and amenity benefits for the local community. The project will support the local economy, and will also provide opportunities for both direct and indirect high-value local employment. Further, Indaver will set up a Community Fund that will function for the duration of the Centre’s operation, and approximately €300,000 will be available for local projects every year. This Community Fund will be governed by a Local Liaison Committee, giving the Ringaskiddy community a high degree of control over the type of projects that receive funding.

Indaver Group
The Indaver Group is an international player in Europe, with facilities and operations in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands. Each year, Indaver manages more than 5 million tonnes of waste, the majority of which is either recovered as energy or recycled. From this waste, Indaver produces enough energy from the thermal treatment of waste to supply power for around 240,000 households per year. Having been in business in Ireland for more than thirty years, Indaver’s trademark is delivering high quality, cost effective services in the municipal, industrial and specialist waste market across Ireland.

For further information:
Claire Downey
Tel: +353 1 697 2845 / +353 87 978 1185