Could refuse derived fuel replace coal in the Czech Republic?

Written by: Petr Ruzicka | Published:

Approximately 30 million tonnes of waste are produced in the Czech Republic annually. Of this, municipal waste comprises 5.2 million tonnes. Petr Ruzicka, sector manager for energy & environment, CzechInvest reports on how refuse derived fuel could make a difference.

In 2013, 42% of generated municipal waste was reused in the Czech Republic, of which 30% was used as recyclable material and 12% for energy purposes. More than half of the generated municipal waste - 52% to be precise - was dumped in landfills.

The new Act on Waste Management and a new Waste Management Plan for the Czech Republic for 2015-2024 were approved at the end of 2014. This plan is directly related to the new Operational Programme Environment 2014-2020, from which it will be possible to draw up to €459m to support new facilities and systems for waste management in the Czech Republic.

All of these factors will bring changes to the Czech Republic's waste management system, such as a ban on landfills from 2024, reduction and prevention of waste generation, maximum use of waste as a substitute for primary resources, and mandatory sorting of biodegradable waste for municipalities from 2015. One of the possible solutions for reducing landfill usage is to use refuse derived fuel (RDF) which provides a means of using a substantial part of municipal waste or non-hazardous industrial waste while meeting industry's rising demand for energy.

As a great example of producing RDF in the Czech Republic is OZO Ostrava Company which uses the most modern fuel production line in the country.

CzechInvest contributes to the improvement of the business environment and assists foreign firms and investors in their search for business opportunities in the Czech Republic, especially in the areas of initiating production, establishing technology centres and commencing operation of business support services centres.

CzechInvest's services include business intelligence; consultancy on available financial support; for investment projects (investment incentives, EU structural funds); identification of green/brownfield sites, production facilities and offices; identification of potential acquisition, joint venture and supply partners; tailormade visits to the Czech Republic; liaison with government bodies and aftercare services.

Case Study of RDF production

OZO Ostrava was among the first companies in the Czech Republic to begin producing and selling RDF.

We have focused on the Czech market since the beginning and have made production subject to the fulfilment of two criteria: proximity to fuel consumers and quality of production.

With respect to the environmental impact of transporting RDF, proximity to consumers is necessary and transport to nearby customers is also advantageous in economic terms.

We must bear in mind that there is not as much funding in the area of waste management in the Czech Republic as there is in countries with a higher standard of living.

Some countries are able to pay for transport of RDF within Europe and citizens of such countries are able to pay these costs.

To achieve the desired quality of the product, we pay a great deal of attention to the selection of waste and treatment thereof and the sorting of unsuitable additives.

We also place strong emphasis on continual laboratory testing of the quality of the fuel that we market under the PALOZO brand. We have introduced harmonised EU standards into our production process, even though this is not required by the current legislation in the Czech Republic.

The quality of our RDF is beneficial to us when fuels that are less expensive are imported into the Czech Republic from abroad. We generally supply PALOZO to cement plants and lime works.

In future OZO Ostrava intends to focus on sorting mixed municipal waste, from which we want to extract usable materials (PET, metal, PE film) as well as combustible materials, and to dump in landfills only inert materials that are no longer usable.

From the sorted combustible materials we plan to produce standardised fuel for use in power generation.

We anticipate the possibility of using RDF in ordinary power generation due to retrofits of power plant technologies in connection with the tightening of emissions limits pursuant to BREF.

The Czech Republic has the potential to produce approximately 1-1.5 million tonnes of RDF per year which is may be sufficient to replace coal in the country's energy mix.

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