07 May 2010

Waste-to-energy could supply half of UK renewables by 2020

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Report predicts biomass and energy from waste technologies could supply over seven per cent of UK energy by the end of the decade

The UK could meet half its renewable energy target for 2020 through the use of energy from waste (EfW), landfill gas, anaerobic digestion and second generation biofuels, according to a major new report from Cranfield University.

Biomass-based energy has traditionally played second fiddle in the UK to investment in wind energy, but the new report, entitled Renewable Energy, Landfill Gas and EfW: Now, Next and Future argues that EfW systems alone could theoretically contribute around 11 Mtoe of biogas by 2020, contributing to half of the UK's 15 per cent renewable energy target.

However, report author Kofi Apea Adu-Gyamfi warned that the rapid expansion of waste and biomass-based power would require "considerable" financial support and political backing from government.

The report further warns that the success of EfW depends on far-sighted policies that ensure that investment in feedstock availability matches the emergence of new EfW and biomass power plants in order to prevent feedstock shortages.

Similarly, the study argues that the government must oversee a gradual shift from landfill gas to other form of EfW technology, as waste policies are expected to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste being sent to landfill sites over the next 10 years.

The report also identifies a number of areas for expansion in the use of waste-based power, including the wider use of biomethane as a road transport fuel and the deployment of small-scale EfW deployment at community level.

(businessGreen.com)

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