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If you go down to the woods today ...

The classic children’s nursery rhyme continues … “you’ll be in for a big surprise”.

Riikinvoima Ekovoimalaitos’ new waste-to-energy plant near Varkaus in eastern Finland is something of big surprise – an ANDRITZsupplied, top class, environmentally friendly facility, consuming 145,000 tonnes of household waste, situated in the middle of natural Finnish forests.

Why a waste-to-energy plant when there is so much wood around in Finland, particularly for use in biomass for generating district heating and electricity? “Well, what else would we do with our unrecyclable household waste?” comes the direct response from Juha Räsänen, Managing Director, Riikinvoima Waste-to-Energy plant. “In Finland we are good at recycling; we have been taking it seriously for decades, and there is a belief that this in itself would solve all the problems and the waste would just disappear. But of course, it doesn’t; there is always something left, mainly plastics, that can’t be reused and in this region would normally have gone to landfill.

“However – and most importantly for this Riikinvoima project – recent EU regulations mean that landfill is not allowed, and the implementation of these regulations means we needed to move fast in compliance, particularly here in eastern Finland where there is no access to any waste consuming plants.”

ANDRITZ Recovery and Power Senior Project manager Olli Ryymin (L) with Juha Räsänen.

THE VERY BEST TECHNOLOGY

Due to the EU regulations, plans were put in place to build a facility in the area, and in 2012 a company was formed from eight eastern Finnish waste collection companies as well as the company responsible for district heating in Varkaus. The plan was to build a waste combustion plant with fluidized bed technology for incinerating waste and producing electricity for 4,300 homes and district heating for around 10,000 homes. This would need a waste-to-energy facility that would have the capacity to treat 145,000 tons of waste per year, which would generate 180 GWh of district heating and 90 GWh per year.

ANDRITZ was asked to supply a turnkey solution for the waste-to-energy plant, which included a circulating fluidized bed boiler (CFB), waste fuel treatment and flue gas cleaning systems, steam turbine, electrification, automation, and all auxiliary systems including civil works and systems installations. In addition to the main project technology, ANDRITZ also supplied a flue gas condenser to condense water from the flue gases and increase the plant’s district heat production. The delivery was conducted from several Finnish ANDRITZ locations as well as other specialist products shipped from Austria.

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“Emission limits are very tight since we are burning waste and these limits are set by EU. Our online displays show a red line if any element exceeds the limit, and we monitor this continuously. Because of this, we can clearly say that our plant is very environmentally friendly.”

JUHA RÄSÄNEN

Managing Director

Riikinvoima Waste-to-Energy plant

“OUR PLANT IS VERY ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY”

The boiler fired up on July 15, 2016, only 20 months after placing the order - and since the start-up, it has consumed around the full capacity of waste at 145,000 tons. Räsänen says, "Looking at the figures from August 2016 to August 2017, we treated 130,000 tons. We had six months commissioning time in that first year, so we are delighted considering that the start-up time is included as well.

 “As far as emissions are concerned, we monitor them online measuring carbon, nitrogen, hydrochloride, and carbon monoxide. Emission limits are very tight since we are burning waste and these limits are set by EU. Our online displays show a red line if any element exceeds the limit, and we monitor this continuously. Because of this, we can clearly say that our plant is very environmentally friendly.”

Räsänen concludes, “Emissions are low and energy and heat production is in good order. It has been a major learning curve for all of us, as we knew nothing about waste management at the beginning of this project. I can definitely say that we have invested in the right technology and we have well-trained people operating the plant, always taking steps to ensure that the very latest knowledge and information is available to them.”

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