Frankfurt, Germany - The country's first solid waste incinerator and electricity generating system has been brought on stream at a German plastics processor's site, helping to cut its waste disposal and energy costs.
The unit, installed at Odenwald-Chemie GmbH in Neckarsteinach, 15 km east of Heidelberg, is expected to pay for itself within five years, according to a statement issued by the FSK (the German plastic foam makers association). It should cut the amount of waste by about 600 truckloads a year, while saving almost two thirds of the firm's oil consumption for heating and production processes, said Hans-Peter Auger, the firm's ceo. This represents a saving of almost 20 tonnes of CO2, the FSK statement added.
Odenwald-Chemie's product range includes open-cell polyurethane foams and polyethylene microfibre fleece materials for the automotive, building and construction and other industries. Emission measurements have also shown that the emissions from the combustion of in-house polyethylene production waste are lower than in normal pellet combustion, the FSK said.
Michael Feist of Odenwald-Chemie GmbH suggested that similar systems could be used with other plastics and certain types of post-consumer waste as , and believes this is beneficial in both environmental and energy policy terms.
Roland Schneider, environmental specialist of Automotive Fehrer, a large processor of polyurethane, cautioned that are not all plastics are suitable for solid fuel combustion. Other plastics may be need more elaborate combustion and air pollution controls, he said.
Representatives from the FSK's Working Group Recycling and Recovery visited the newly built solid fuel combustion system, following up on a visit two years earlier to a large-scale facility for incineration of solid waste for Conti, the German tyre and rubber products manufacturer.
They aimed to assess the role of solid fuel combustion with efficient energy recovery in the light of rising energy prices and the German government's environmental policy, which targets the reduction of crude oil consumption to produce energy through the combustion of solid materials such as plastics that have already done 10 or 20 years in valuable service, the FSK statement explained.
This objective is included in the position of the FSK, which implements the European Waste Framework Directive, the statement continued. The group supports the concept of recovery and recycling, where it is feasible, commercially viable and technically efficient, but wants efficient combustion to be allowed by law.
Shipping production and consumer waste around Europe and worldwide, to deliver them to a recycling process, cannot be correct, said Hans Schloz, ceo of the FSK. Transport and energy costs during the recovery process should be included in the balance sheet. If you do, he suggested, some recycling will not be environmentally friendly!
For more information on the subject are available at the FSK (069-299207 0 / [email protected]).