Business Talk

Let's talk about: Waste-to-Energy (Part 4)

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Matthias Horn, Head of Business Unit Steam at Mitsubishi Power Europe GmbH talks about what sets the company apart and future developments of the waste-to-energy sector.

What products in waste-to-energy do you specialize in?

For waste-to-energy projects, Mitsubishi Power Europe is specialized in engineering, delivery, and construction of thermal units including combustion systems and boilers with our own technology. Furthermore, we provide turn-key solutions for all parts in a waste-to-energy plant with our longstanding network of partners. Additionally, we offer Long Term Service Agreements (LTSAs), maintenance works & 24/7 service, and plant optimization.

What sets your products apart from others?

Mitsubishi Power Europe has a longstanding history in building reliable products with extensive lifetimes and high availability and efficiency in combination with our trusted service capabilities. Our products are currently already reaching lower emission values and higher performances values than required by the European Green Deal. Our mission is to offer secure, sustainable, and affordable energy from different types of waste and fuels on the way to a decarbonized energy future. Not only with respect to newly built facilities but also regarding our service activities over the lifetime of our equipment.

Where do you see the biggest market growth?

We see two different markets in Europe. On the one hand, we see a lot of newly built projects as turn-key solutions in the East of Europe. Here, there is a particular need to build new waste-to-energy plants in order to reduce the landfill according to the EU requirements. On the other hand, we see a lot of rehabilitation and replacement projects of existing plants in Western parts of Europe. This is due to the advancing age of the waste to energy plants e.g. in France, Germany, and Austria which have to be replaced in order to secure the amount of combustion capacity and to meet the current emission standards.

Furthermore, we see a new market in the demand of combustion capacities for sewage sludge and other special waste streams (e.g. asphalt) in Western Europe in order to comply with the EU directives, especially for recycling of phosphorus in the sewage sludge. When it comes to the corresponding technology, Mitsubishi Power Europe has developed a leading rotary kiln system for the combustion of the sewage sludge in combination with a waste to energy plant in order to secure the high-temperature treatment inside the WtE boiler of the gases from the sewage sludge combustion.

How do you see the future of waste-to-energy?

The demand for incineration capacity is raising every year as the amount of waste is still raising. Avoiding and recycling waste will not eliminate or compensate for the need for waste combustion.

In addition, more and more countries need to implement incineration capacities to avoid landfills and to secure the hygienization of the waste streams.

Another important topic will be the Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCU and CCS) for waste-to-energy plants in order to fulfill the 0% Carbon emissions by 2050. This technology will also become relevant for the CO emission trading system. Mitsubishi Power as one of the world's leading companies for CCU systems is already offering such systems for different newly built plants.

How do you see the role of waste to energy in a circular economy?

The European Union produces more than 2.5 billion tons of waste every year. It is currently updating its legislation on waste management to promote a shift to a more sustainable model known as the circular economy. But even within a circular economy, there will still be waste streams that cannot be recycled and reused anymore. These waste streams have to be combusted. We see this combustion also as part of an extended circular economy, while the produced power and steam of a waste-to-energy plant can be reused for district heating and the slag can be reused for brickworks and road construction.

Mitsubishi Power is active in various fundamental projects and developments to push the circular economy and to lower CO2 emissions as well as to reduce the material streams out of the waste to energy plants in order to secure sustainable and affordable energy for the future.