Resource Use

Viridor partners with Vattenfall to distribute heat from EfW to houses

Viridor and heating provider Vattenfall have announced a planned collaboration that will allow heat to be transferred from Viridor’s energy from waste (EfWs) to homes and businesses.

The heat will move through pipes created and operated by Vattenfall and will be distributed in the areas surrounding the EfWs. The two companies hope that this will create a closed-loop energy system that turns the community’s collected recycled waste into heating for the same area.

In Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, Vattenfall has already been working with several EfW companies to distribute heat in this way.

Viridor runs 11 of the UK’s EfWs and plans to expand further. It aims to bring this heating to areas of urban regeneration, fitting in with the UK Government, Scottish Government and Welsh Government's commitments to providing district heating in these areas.

The Government’s Heat Networks Investment Programme and the proposed Green Heat Networks Fund are specifically aimed at partnerships between waste heat sources and heat network operators.

Installing the heat moving pipes can initially be expensive but in the long term, offers the potential for local authorities to combat fuel poverty, improve energy security and cut down on the use of conventional fossil fuels.

Noah Nkonge, Head of Partnerships at Vattenfall Heat UK said: “Working together with Viridor, we’re looking to bring all the right people and organisations to the tableso we can reduce emissions and provide reliable, affordable heating for homes and businesses in cities across the country.”

Richard Pennells, Viridor’s Managing Director of Energy, added: “This announcement underlines Viridor’s commitment to ensuring that all waste becomes a useful resource which contributes to the UK economy.

“Our [EfWs] put non-recyclable waste to work within sophisticated combined heat and power plants. We are excited about this new collaboration with Vattenfall which combines two leading businesses in their sector to create meaningful change in towns and cities across the UK.”

Minister of State for Business, Energy, and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Heat networks are playing a vital role in decarbonising the way we warm our homes and businesses and that’s why the Government has committed £320 million of funding through the Heat Networks Investment Project.

“The UK continues to lead the way in transitioning to a future with net zero carbon emissions and I’m delighted to see Vattenfall and Viridor working together to deliver innovative, low carbon heating.”

EfWs - or Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facilities – have proven to be rather controversial in recent years.

The UK think tank, Policy Connect, argued in July that they were the solution to the country’s national waste problem despite the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), previously calling for the department to stop investing in EfW as it could harm innovation.

Greenpeace reported that EfW facilities were times more likely to be built in deprived areas and that facilities were disproportionately found in BAME communities. This sparked the Environmental Services Association (ESA) to respond with ‘stop demonising EfW’.