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What is waste for one person is a valuable source of energy for REMONDIS. With the world’s supplies of fossil fuels shrinking and the volumes of recyclables and waste growing, one of the big ecological challenges of our times is to make the most of the energy contained in this waste. REMONDIS Thermische Abfallverwertung GmbH (formerly EVZA GmbH) has been operating a state-of-the-art plant in Staßfurt, in which waste is used to produce steam and electricity, since May 2008. The annual inspection of the plant took place in September according to plan in order to ensure that the facility continues to operate at its normal high standards. This involved inspecting and servicing both incineration lines, the waste gas cleaning systems and the steam circuit – a complex process involving a total of around 3,500 individual tasks.
There was, however, more work to do this year: the power generator was due for its major service. After 60,000 hours of operation, the generator, gearbox and turbine had to be dismantled, taken apart and sent to the production plant for inspection.
No major problems were discovered during the overhaul of the Staßfurt plant.
An initial assessment of the state of the generator was made whilst it was being dismantled. This revealed that the condition of the individual sections was as to be expected with no major damage. A fact that can be put down to the careful and responsible way the facility is treated by the staff at Staßfurt. “The good condition of the whole of the plant reflects the great way the maintenance and operations departments work together,” explained Dr Jörg von Smuda, managing director of REMONDIS Thermische Abfallverwertung GmbH.
The generator’s individual parts were sent to the production plant to be inspected and were back in Staßfurt by the end of October. Operations at the waste treatment plant continued throughout the whole of this period. The facility has been set up so that it can continue to supply steam to the neighbouring chemicals business without producing electricity. As a result, the waste delivered to the plant can be processed as normal during the inspection period. Once the generator had been reassembled at the end of October, it was started up again and is now fully operational.
Reduce, reuse, recycle, energy recovery, disposal – this is the 5-step waste hierarchy set out in waste management law. Despite the many and extensive recycling processes available, there are always a few waste fractions left over that cannot be used for materials recycling. More than 50 percent of such fractions contain so-called biogenic substances which have a high calorific value. Residual waste from private households or from commercial and industrial businesses and sewage sludge from wastewater treatment processes are efficiently treated here using state-of-the-art technology and used to generate electricity and steam.
The biogenic substances in residual waste have a high calorific value.
Each year, a total of 380,000 Mg of waste can be transformed into energy at the Staßfurt plant. Each treatment line can process up to 22.5 Mg of waste an hour. REMONDIS Thermische Abfallverwertung GmbH uses the energy from the waste to generate electricity, with up to 170,000 MWh being fed into the national grid every year. Moreover, up to 360,000 MWh of heat is generated and supplied to a neighbouring plant which uses it to manufacture key chemicals.
REMONDIS is, therefore, actively contributing towards preventing climate change at its Staßfurt plant as well. On the one hand, using waste to generate energy means fewer fossil fuels are needed. On the other hand, with around 50 percent of the contents being biogenic, a part of the electricity and heat production process is carbon free.