Waste Incineration BREF 2017: drafting the waste-to-energy future

Date: August; 28; 2017 | Author:
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"The best way to predict your future is to create it". In his quote, Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, alludes to the challenges of predicting the future.

Whereas some things in life are easy to agree about, others just seem to create debate: Emissions from energy plants and its future are some of them.




The EU Industrial Emissions Directive 


The EU European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau 


Best Available Technology


BAT-Associated Emissions Limits


Emission limit value


European association of European Suppliers of Waste-to-Energy Technology

Implementing lower emissions

Some of the proposed new BAT standards can be relatively easy to introduce, whilst others might be of a more challenging nature: In the BREF of 2010 currently in force, BATAELs of the BREF are not legally binding requirements and are obtained from average operational values. Their purpose is informative. In the new 2017 revision, the BAETELS will be legally binding for European waste-to-energy plants - a quite ambitious move:

"The key elements of the 2017 Waste Incineration BREF are very ambitious, and it should be interesting to see the how the concrete implementation with local permitting authorities in the EU is going to take place," says Director of Technology at B&W Vølund, Ole Hedegaard Madsen who is part of the ESWET group of experts that is conducting the first review of the recently proposed 2017 BREF.

He continues: "The waste combustion sector has been the most rigorously regulated industrial sector for many years. One of the consequences of this fact is that the plants included in BREF review’s data collection have quite low emission values (ELVs) in most cases."

When emissions are at such low levels, the uncertainty of the measurement becomes a very important topic. It’s a fact that no measurement is exact. The lower the measured value, the less reliable the result of the measurement is. The uncertainty needs to be dealt with to avoid that monitoring requirements become inconsistent with future emission limit values (ELV).

"Without this, permitting authorities will lack an important piece of information to be able to use the BATAELs as ELVs", Hedegaard Madsen concludes.

Where’s the transparency?

In the proposal for a new BREF, the BATAELS have been defined based on data collection from some 300 plants across Europe. Yet, the selection criteria of which emission levels and emission types is not clear from the proposal.

Ole Hedegaard Madsen says: "It would have been useful having a higher degree of transparency as regards the criteria that form the basis for selecting the BATAELS which – ultimately – lead to defining the ELVs. We also believe that it would be helpful if the vetting criteria for the compiled data set were made public. We believe it would help building transparency and gaining support to the whole process of defining such important standards", he clarifies.

What are the key emission values?

Another significant area is the so-called key emission values: Most values remain at the same or at a reduced level. NOx and mercury (Hg) have been identified as key emission sources and the levels have been significantly reduced. Emission limits have also been introduced for the first time for the "new kid on the block", the highly toxic PCB.

Another new addition to the key emission values is that dust from treatment of slags and bottom ashes now appear among the key values.

The future is in good hands

In response to the question whether B&W Vølund is prepared for the new BREF, Hedegaard Madsen responds: "As early as 2013, B&W Vølund introduced our "NextBAT" technology concept taking steps towards the requirements set forth in the 2017 BREF proposal." He elaborates: "As an integrated technology provider, B&W Vølund is dedicated to monitoring the developments in the revision of the BREF standards. So the future of our customers’ plants is in good hands", he ends with a smile.

NextBAT: Next generation of Best Available Technology
Take steps meeting the new BREF emission limits and achieve higher plant efficiency
A waste-to-energy plant’s level of efficiency in recovering energy from waste is measured by the R1 formula and described in a number of BREF standards. High overall energy efficiency ensures maximum substitution of fossil fuels and thereby reduces the impact of greenhouse gases (GHG). NextBAT® ensures that plant owners achieve a high R1 rate because of our unique technologies:

•   DynaGrate® is the most advanced grate on the market renowned for its maximum burnout permitting a higher efficiency. 
•   Water-cooled wear zone minimizes slag built-up in the combustion zone and permits a higher plant availability.
•   Inconel® in furnace walls provides high protection against corrosion, which also ensures a longer plant lifetime and higher efficiency.

ACC (Advanced Combustion Control) maintains a stable combustion process by controlling the coefficient of resistance and combustion air. A stable combustion process allows for a higher efficiency. 
•   CFD simulation is an effective method for achieving the most efficient design and heat transfer in the boiler.
Sulphur recirculation is a unique technology for decreasing the corrosion rate for superheaters or for allowing higher steam temperature thereby increasing the electricity production.
•  Multiscrubber wet flue gas cleaning system. A wet flue gas system ensures very low emissions which are lower or in line with the proposed 2017 BREF standard.
•  The flue gas condenser recovers an additional 20 – 25% of energy by condensing the water vapor.

Facts about BREF and BAT 
•  The EU Commission determines the framework for industrial emissions and pollution in the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC).  
•  These standards are currently undergoing a revision and have a tremendous impact on how waste-to-energy plants are designed – especially in terms of treating the inevitable emissions from the plants.
  Once adopted, the latest BREF standard revision will have an important impact on the waste management sector. Based on information from the EU Commission, the expected enactment is in 2018. 
All national permitted emission levels in the EU will be based on the new standards with immediate effect but existing plants have 4 years to implement the new standards. 

Landskrona plant
Landskrona plant, Sweden.

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