The Waste to Energy system
The Dublin Waste to Energy plant has been designed to provide highly efficient incineration and is classified as recovery in line with EU Energy policy. The Dublin plant will treat up to 600,000 tonnes of waste annually, providing electricity for 80,000 homes and district heating for upwards of 50,000 homes.
Every tonne of waste treated at the Poolbeg plant will provide as much energy as one 200 litre barrel of oil. Over the period of a year the plant could avoid the need to import 600,000 barrels of oil.
The design of the Poolbeg plant also includes measures to minimise its impact on the landscape, including:
- Detailed landscaping and external cladding of the building
- The shape of the building has been designed to enclose the entire waste to energy process within a single structure, thus minimising noise
- The waste reception hall has been designed to be maintained at negative pressure relative to the outside air, preventing odour and dust leaving the waste reception area
- The facility is designed with an enclosed waste reception hall. Quality walls with good damping will minimise noise emissions from waste vehicles inside the reception hall
- A stack height of 100m (approximately half that of the nearby ESB stacks) will ensure that air quality standards are met
- The facility has been designed to achieve very high overall energy efficiency and energy recovery. For example, the facility will draw water from the Liffey Estuary for cooling, thus reducing the energy requirement for cooling and maximising power output.
In addition to these design elements, Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd has incorporated a number of energy efficiency measures into the design of the plant and will continue to identify opportunities for the reduction in the quantity of water used onsite including recycling and reuse initiatives wherever possible, the recovery/recycling of residues and the optimisation of fuel and raw material usage onsite.
Major Economic Gain
- The Dublin Waste to Energy Facility is a major infrastructure project representing an investment of approximately €500m in Ireland by Covanta, which will fully fund the cost of this major facility.
- The facility will create up to 300 jobs during the three year construction period, and up to 100 jobs once operational. It will also provide ongoing economic stimulus throughout its operation to the surrounding Dublin region.
- Construction of the Poolbeg waste-to-energy facility will eliminate the need to export waste to continental EU countries, which is currently happening, and will enable Ireland to become self-sufficient at managing its waste.
- A substantial community gain fund. This money will be invested in a wide range of local community organisations and activities.
- Covanta processes more waste into clean energy than any other company in the world, making it the world’s largest WtE company.
Sustainable Waste Management
Poolbeg will move Ireland away from dependence on landfilling waste, the most environmentally damaging waste disposal method, and will help Ireland to avoid landfill diversion fines.
With landfill capacity running out, seeking alternative means of waste management in Ireland is imperative. The Poolbeg plant will enable Ireland to achieve compliance with EU landfill diversion targets.
Renewable Energy Creation
Once constructed, and operational, the Poolbeg waste-to-energy facility will safely and securely convert up to 600,000 tonnes of waste into approximately 58 megawatts net of clean, renewable electricity. It will generate renewable electricity 24/7 – enough to supply 80,000 Dublin households.
It will also reduce Ireland’s dependence on imported fossil; will eliminate the need to export waste to continental EU countries, and will enable Ireland to become self-sufficient at managing its waste.
This development also fulfills a key step in the waste hierarchy, supporting both recycling and diversion of organic waste (e.g. food waste) toward more productive uses, such as composting and electricity generation through anaerobic digestion.