Sweden in the Lead

Energy from household waste is an environmentally friendly energy source that is being used more and more for energy generation. The most obvious advantages with energy generation based on household waste are the resulting carbon neutral district heating, and/or cooling, electricity and process steam. However, very few companies have the knowledge and the technology to develop facilities that take advantage of the energy from household waste in an environmentally optimal way. Sweden has during more than 50 years been developing technology and gathered experience within this area and is now regarded as the leader for energy generation from household waste in a sustainable way.

Already now the Directive for renewable energy within the EU has set the objective that renewable energy resources shall generate 20% of the energy used within the EU by the year 2020. Regarding household waste the EU passed 1999 the Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) that demands that countries within the EU shall reduce the amount of biologically degradable household waste in landfills to 35 % of the level they had in 1995. The same type of focus is found in other countries e.g. the USA. Even more concerning, there is a hidden third challenge: Although Europe appears to be cutting down on both energy consumption and the amount of solid waste it produces, these developments are most likely due to our weak economy, not a change in either our behavior or technologies. (Source: Eurostat)