Aerial view of electricity pylons supplying power

How we work

How waste to energy works

When  residual  waste cannot be reduced, reused or recycled, waste to energy provides the most sustainable solution.

The U.K. currently recycles 45% of its waste, with over 40% of the residual waste still being sent to landfill. Even with government targets to increase recycling to 65% by 2035, that still leaves a 6.3 million tonnes capacity gap for waste that cannot be reduced, reused or recycled in the U.K.

That’s where waste-to-energy comes in. Our facilities efficiently convert waste into partially renewable low carbon power for the National Grid, playing a valuable part of the  U.K.’s  circular economy  and waste management solutions. A better alternative for everyone.

What we do

In addition to the safe treatment of non-recyclable residual waste, our waste-to-energy facilities generate heat and convert waste into clean electricity. These processes help decarbonise the heat industry and the National Grid, assisting the U.K to meet its goal of net zero carbon.

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Heat power

Our facilities are heat enabled and we work with local governments and investors to deliver heating and direct wire schemes to them. Our enfinium Kemsley facility, for example, provides steam to DS Smith, supporting their renewable energy requirements.

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Renewable power

The electricity we generate is exported to the grid to power local communities. Made from 45% biogenic waste, our electricity is classified as a partially renewable, low-carbon energy.

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Emissions

Our facilities offer alternatives to landfill disposal and fossil fuel energy generation helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions from waste treatment.

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Green recovery

We invest in new local waste infrastructure in the U.K., driving the economy, jobs and the green recovery post-Brexit and COVID-19.

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Net zero

We are committed to continuous improvement that drives us to a net zero circular economy. Through investment and innovation in the industry, we hope to deliver carbon capture.

How we make a difference

Overhead residual waste cranes moving non-recyclable waste

Sustainable residual waste management

Our facilities process residual (or post-recycled) waste, and are the alternative to landfill or export for this waste that cannot be reduced, reused or recycled. We advocate increased recycling and work with waste suppliers to minimise the amount of plastic waste sent to our facilities. Through this collaboration, we receive fewer plastics and ensure cleaner production  of heat  and power.

Electricity pylons supplying power for homes and businesses

Renewable energy

We transform waste into heat and power every day to create a valuable low-carbon energy source, all while advocating increased recycling and the U.K.’s energy security. Our facility in Kemsley was the first in the U.K. to be awarded a Contract for Difference, helping support the government’s objectives of ensuring the U.K. has reliable, affordable, and clean electricity.

Woman wearing high-vis jacket inside a waste to energy facility

Heat

Waste to energy is ideally placed to meet the heat energy challenges of tomorrow. By 2050, 53% of the U.K.’s heat network will serve non-domestic buildings and industrial plants with high heat demands*. As the needs of businesses and communities constantly evolve, we are discovering new, sustainable and innovative solutions through our own research funded by the U.K. Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

*Source: Policy Connect No Time to Waste report 2020, Pg. 10

Health and safety inspectors assessing a waste to energy facility

Health  and  safety

The health and safety of employees, customers and the communities where we operate is our highest priority. We are proud of our industry-leading safety record, recognising that our strong, uncompromising commitment to safety has been the cornerstone of our success. We work with ‘Safety On Purpose’ to ensure we return home safe and empower employees to do the right thing every hour, every shift, every day.

Group of adults and children wearing high-vis jackets and smiling

Economic benefits

We make a positive impact in the communities where our facilities operate. By creating 400 jobs during the construction of each facility and 45 well paid full-time jobs once operational and through major annual maintenance work, we support local economies in the long term. And by investing in charities, local schools and environmental causes, we are a good partner and neighbour ensuring a better tomorrow for everyone.

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Environmental  commitment

We deliver waste to energy responsibly for our communities and the environment. All our facilities have been awarded permits from the Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales and operate well within the strict limits prescribed by the latest emissions regulations. Every day, we run 12,000 separate health and safety compliance checks using our Environmental Management System, aligned to ISO-14001 requirements, to ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

Inside a waste to energy facility generating heat and electricity

Greenhouse gas / Carbon offset

We are dedicated to delivering a circular economy. Committed to net zero, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions by lowering methane from landfill and generate heat and electricity without burning fossil fuels. Our waste-to-energy process saves more than 200kg of carbon for every tonne of waste*. Despite these reductions, we never stop innovating and are exploring carbon capture technologies which we hope will enable us to eliminate all carbon emissions from the process in the future.

* Source: Policy Connect No Time to Waste report 2020, Pg.9

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Recycling and recovery of materials

Inert ash is a valuable by-product of the waste-to-energy process, which can be recovered and reused. Our facilities collect ash to be processed by a local specialist to recover ferrous and non-ferrous metals for recycling. The remaining inert ash can be used as aggregate by the construction industry. A sustainable alternative, helping to reduce demand on finite quarried resources.

Aerial view of the enfinium Ferrybridge 1 & 2 facilities Aerial view of the enfinium Kemsley facility

Our facilities

We are proud that all four of our facilities rank within the top ten operational waste-to-energy facilities in the U.K, for overall net carbon benefit for every tonne of waste processed.

View our facilities