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Waste-to-energy solutions

In Finland as well as in most of the Western European countries waste-to-energy (waste incineration plant with energy recovery) plays very significant role in municipal waste management. Waste-to-energy plants are usually CHP (combined heat and power) plants that generate electricity and district heating. Waste-to-energy plants produce around 1% of Finland’s electricity production and around 8-10% of district heating production, depending on the annual heating demand of properties and variations in winter weather.

Finnish waste-to-energy plants are among the most modern in Europe. In 2021, there are about ten waste-to-energy power plants operating in Finland with a total capacity of approximately 1.9 Mt annually. One of the existing plants is currently expanding. In addition to municipal mixed waste, the plants also incinerate industrial and construction waste. It is estimated that municipal mixed waste accounts for about 70% of the total capacity. In addition, there are about 20 co-incineration plants which have permission to incinerate certain waste as an additional fuel. Most of Finland’s waste-to-energy plant capacity is under municipal control.

Incineration complexes have been built between 2007 and 2016. Emissions are lower than those emitted from plants running on fossil fuel. Waste-to-energy plants are efficient as they have combined heat and electricity production.

None of the incineration plants is directly owned by the municipality, municipal waste operator or waste co-operative, but there are four ways how the ownership is organized:

  1. The biggest plant owner is Fortum Waste Solutions Oy who also treats hazardous waste and generates energy from it.
  2. Municipal energy companies: Kotkan Energia Oy, Lahti Energia Oy, Oulun Energia Oy and Vantaan Energia Oy
  3. Joint ventures owned by the municipal waste operator (municipal waste management organization) and energy company: Riikinvoima Oy, Tammervoima Oy, Lounavoima Oy.
  4. Join venture owned by several municipal waste operators: Wastenergy Oy Ab (owned by six municipal waste management organizations) and Riikinvoima Oy (owned by eight MWMOs and Varkauden Aluelämpö Oy).

Waste-to-Energy stations in Finland:

Location name,
complex and kettle
Capacity tons/year Owners
Kotka Kotkan Energia Oy Ltd. commercial power plant of Korkeakoski, grate boiler (36 MW) 100 000 City of Kotka
Lahti Lahti Energia Oy Ltd. Kymijärvi II Gasifier, a backpressure power plant using recycled waste 250 000 City of Lahti
Leppävirta Riikinvoima Oy Riikinnevan ekovoimalaitos, circulating bed boiler (54 MW) 145 000 Jätekukko Oy, Kuopio 15,8 % Kainuun jätehuollon kuntayhtymä Ekokymppi 3,16 % Keski-Savon Jätehuolto, Varkaus 7,52 % Metsäsairila Oy, Mikkeli 4,36 % Puhas Oy, Joensuu 11,08 % Sammakkokangas Oy, Saarijärvi 2,36 % Savonlinnan Seudun Jätehuolto Oy, Savonlinna 3,16 % Ylä-Savon Jätehuolto Oy, Iisalmi 5,16 % Varkauden Aluelämpö Oy 47,4 %22
Mustasaari Westenergy Oy Ab, waste-to-energy plant, grate boiler (61 MW) 190 000 Oy Botniarosk Ab Lakeuden Etappi Oy, Millespakka Oy, Ab Stormossen Oy, Vestia Oy23
Oulu Oulun Energia Oy, Laanilan ekovoimalaitos, waste-to-energy plant, grate boiler (53 MW) 140 000 City of Oulu
Riihimäki Fortum Waste Solutions Oy (earlier Ekokem Oy Ab) 75 000 Fortum Oyj
Riihimäki Fortum Waste Solutions Oy (earlier Ekokem Oy Ab) Jätevoimala 1, grate boiler (55 MW) 150 000 Fortum Oyj
Riihimäki Fortum Waste Solutions Oy (aikaisemmin Ekokem Oy Ab) Jätevoimala 2, grate boiler (35 MW) 120 000 Fortum Oyj
Tampere Tammervoima Oy Hyötyvoimalaitos, grate boiler 160 000 Tampereen Sähkölaitos Oy, Pirkanmaan Jätehuolto Oy
Vantaa Vantaan Energia Oy Långmossebergenin waste-to-energy plant, incineration boilers 1 (58 MW) and 2 (58 MW) 340 000 City of Vantaa 60 % , City of Helsinki 40 %.
Salo Korvenmäki’s Waste-to-Energy plant , Lounavoima Ltd., grate boiler 120 000 Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto Oy ( (Southwest Finland municipal waste management organization) and energy company Salon Kaukolämpö Oy Ltd.

 

Waste incineration and its emissions are subject to strict regulation in Finland. Incineration is regulated by the Waste Incineration Regulation, which is based on the EU Industrial Emissions and environmental permits for plants and their control ensure that waste incineration plants do not cause significant environmental and health damage. BAT (best available technologies) conclusions have been drawn up at EU level for waste incineration which set e.g. emission levels for airborne emissions and monitoring requirements. BAT conclusions for waste incineration are renewed approximately every 10 years.