The choice of technology depends on the type of fuel used and the scale of operations. BREH has a comprehensive data base on technologies and chooses the most appropriate technology for the circumstances. Whatever the circumstances the chosen technology will comply with the most stringent environmental standards, be economic and reliable.
The chosen technology, whether it processes biomass or residual non-recyclable carbonaceous wastes, must also operate very efficiently with recovery of energy through electrical power generation and heat, be that for local district heating, industry or the provision of cooling or refrigeration.
The technology adopted for the projects in the Baltic States achieves very high emission standards substantially better than that from a conventional biomass boiler and well within European Union permitted emission levels.
The Baltic States have ample forest and biomass resources which can be used as a source of green energy through such a plant.
However, the Baltic States projects will operate principally on residual waste from Municipal Solid Waste, which typically has 60-70% biodegradable content, and this proportion is classed as renewable. Putting this biomass to landfill, especially as it is usually contaminated with plastics and harmful chemicals, creates long term potential for pollution of the ground and water. Landfill is also a major source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas which is released over decades and only a small proportion can be usefully captured. Using residual waste as a fuel reduces the need for fossil fuels to be used and disposes of residual waste in the most environmentally way possible, removing the need for landfill and destroying harmful chemicals.
Latvia for example, along with most Countries, has a waste problem. The long term objective of every country should be to reduce residual waste to a minimum, but it is not possible to reduce residual waste to zero.
The Baltic States projects will be based on 2MWe modules, with the number of modules installed being matched to the local heat/cooling demand. Each module, when fully operational will process some 15,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste carbonaceous wastes, primarily fuel in the form of solid recovered fuel from municipal solid wastes. Besides generating 2MWe for sale to the grid, there will be some 5 MWth for sale to the local district heating scheme, local industries or for the provision of cooling.
A core element of the BREH strategy is achieving high overall energy efficiency which means the recovery of a high proportion of the useable heat available after power generation – basically very good quality combined heat and power.