Energy recovery : between energy production and waste reduction

The world is currently experiencing an “overdose” of waste. According to the statistics provided by the World Bank in 2018, humans produce nearly 2,01 billion tonnes of waste each year [1], which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. What if we used the waste as a resource to produce energy as an alternative to fossil fuels?


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Today, waste represents an important source of renewable energy and there are many ways to transform waste into energy. By being transformed into energy during a thermal or biological treatment, the waste becomes a new resource to be used for new uses. This is called the energy recovery from waste. Thus, using old technologies such as incineration and methanization, but also more recent and experimental methods such as pyrogasification, waste can be recovered into electricity, heat, heat and electricity combined, gas or fuel.

Energy recovery from waste, as an alternative to fossil fuels and landfill, plays an important role in the development of environmental and energy transition, in our country, in Europe, and in the world and it therefore contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, this process is also part of circular economy approach, while integrating and respecting the hierarchy of waste treatment methods. Energy recovery processes are strongly encouraged by public policies in Europe and especially in France. They are, however, confronted with several obstacles, as they represent several negative externalities at the environmental, health and climatic levels. Debates on these externalities fuel controversies and are the subject of protest movements led by various actors, which hinder the development of emerging treatment methods such as pyrogasification. 


A propos de Charlène MERCK