On 23rd June 2017, in the context of the European Sustainable Energy Week CEWEP organised a Guided Tour of Brussels Waste-to-Energy Plant. Director Daniel Van Lathem explained how the plant supplies heat to the brand new Dockx Shopping Centre via a pipeline and reported about future plans for the heating network extension.
The Brussels Waste-to-Energy plant used to produce only electricity, but it started delivering heat as well in early 2016. By doing this Brussels joined the most sustainable European cities that have an integrated approach to waste and energy management.
The participants heard that 10% of Europe’s energy to District Heating comes from Waste-to-Energy (WtE) incineration, and in some cities WtE incineration covers 50% and more of the local heat demand. According to CEWEP’s Managing Director Ella Stengler “we should explore further these low hanging fruits towards low carbon energy system and security of energy supply.”
“This includes to go away from landfilling waste that can be recycled or recovered. In EU28 we landfill about 900 million tonnes of waste, which is about half of the volume of the Mount Everest”, she said and quotes a recent report by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre stating that the energy embedded in this amount of waste is 1,409 petajoules1. “This corresponds to ca. 13% of the final energy consumption in households in EU28. At the same time the EU imports 53% of its energy every year at a cost of more than €1 billion a day. This should be changed”, she concludes.