Waste-to-energy Communication published

The European Commission sees a bright future for the digestion of wastes.

On the 26th of January the Waste-to-Energy Communication was published (link here) as part of the Commission’s Circular Economy flagship strategy.  This non-legislative text addresses the role that the most promising waste-to-energy technologies can have in the future, where anaerobic digestion is highlighted several times. The Communication explains that digesting biowaste is a recycling technique where energy and materials (i.e. digestate) are brought back to use, while in comparison incineration is lower in the waste hierarchy as energy recovery.

The Communication is based on the results of the 2016 Waste-to-Energy Report of the Joint Research Centre, which focused on two priorities: (1) mapping the availability of wastes and residues across the EU; (2) comparing the efficiency and feasibility of several energy recovery technologies. The study concludes that biomethane upgrading from digestate waste (particularly for grid injection) is a highly efficient and sustainable way to process wastes. In addition, the JRC sees great potential in agricultural wastes and residues such as manure for digestion.

EBA actively contributed with its technical advice both to the JRC report and to the Commission’s stakeholder consultation. The publication of this non-legislative communication is timely, as it highlights the importance of waste digestion during 2017 while the European Parliament and the Council consider important legislative files under the Clean Energy for All Package and the Circular Economy Strategy.