Energy from waste and biomass

Empowering academy and commerce synergy

Energy from Waste includes technologies used for converting the waste into electricity and heat.  Apart from combustion of solid waste, the term includes any process that uses waste as a fuel to generate energy. Heat from the combustion generates electricity and provides space heating or even refrigeration for use in industrial or domestic buildings.

Energy from Waste is proven and reliable technology which is used in the UK by many local authorities and there is huge potential to provide energy and achieve sustainable waste management. There are currently 24 EfW facilities which process approximately 3 million tonnes of solid waste with power generation of 500 kWh per input tonne.


At the scale of an energy from waste plant it is possible to estimate an average energy available in the waste and the renewable content. An energy from waste solution consists of a number of components: the fuel, the plant, the location etc.

The most common thermal treatment is incineration; less common are Advanced gasification or pyrolysis. The size and site of the plant will influence the type of technology that is appropriate. Smaller sites may suit the Advanced type which can operate at smaller scale.

The potential health implications of novel technologies are our major focus of concern while conducting, evaluating and disseminating high quality science.

Process from waste management planning through to having an operational facility can take many years.

Waste strategy represents important opportunity for the local community to be engaged and determine if energy should be part of their local waste solution.

  • From the UK turnover of the low carbon economy about 15% relate to Energy from Waste (EfW) and biomass. 
  • In December 2016 there were 37 operational EfWs in the UK, with a further 4 in commissioning, providing a total Headline Capacity of 11.76 Mtpa. There was a further 4.08 Mtpa of EfW capacity in construction.
  • This is the equivalent to a £11.9 billion investment in the sector.
  • Total power exported by EfWs in the UK in 2016 was 5,208 GWh – approximately 1.8% of total UK generation.