Waste incineration plants to produce electricity and heat

IncineratorAlthough common household waste has a similar calorific value to oil shale, over 300,000 tonnes of waste that would be suitable for energy production is taken to landfills in Estonia every year. To make better use of this local resource, Eesti Energia started preparations in 2006 to build a waste incineration unit in Iru.

For municipal waste to be reused even more efficiently, mechanical and biological processing plants are needed all over Estonia.

The Iru waste incineration unit will incinerate up to 220,000 tonnes a year of mixed municipal waste from around Estonia. This will allow us to save nearly 70 million cubic metres of natural gas per year in the future, and it will improve Estonia's energy security and foreign trade balance.  Construction of the Iru waste incineration was planned to start in 2010. The new CHP plant will start producing electricity and heat from waste all year round from 2012. The plant will be able to produce 50 MW of heat and 17 MW of electricity. The waste incineration will supplement the existing power plant in Iru (Eesti Energia 2010).

The project risks running into a substantial bottleneck, as there could not be enough waste to burn in the modern CHP kilns in Iru as Estonia is increasing the level of reuse of waste according to which more than 50% of all waste will be reused (National Waste Management Plan 2010).


Need for municipal waste to be reused more efficiently.

Sustainability effects

The quantities of waste taken to landfills are being reduced. Waste incineration is also important for energy producers, because it is an efficient method for producing electricity and heat together. Energy so produced reduces reliance on fossil fuels.

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