Finland’s biggest waste-to-energy plant opens in Vantaa

The biggest power plant turning refuse into electricity has officially been taken into use on Wednesday in Vantaa. The new plant will produce 920 gigawatt-hours of heat and 600 GWh of electricity each year by burning rubbish collected across Uusimaa.

Vantaan Energia officially opened its new waste-to-energy incinerator on Wednesday. The new plant is Finland’s biggest of its kind, and will produce half of the district heating demand and 30 percent of the electricity needed in the municipality of Vantaa.

The facility has been thoroughly tested, with the first waste entering the system this spring. It’s the biggest investment the local electricity company has ever made, replacing one unit at the company’s existing incinerator in Malminlaakso.

30% cut in CO2 footprint

Around 320,000 tonnes of rubbish will arrive at the plant every year, before it is sorted and incinerated to produce some 920 gigawatt-hours of heat and 600 GWh of electricity. That will reduce Vantaan Energia’s carbon output by 30 percent.

The plant’s emissions will be monitored continually, and the unit will be shut down if it exceeds a certain limit. Handling waste in this way is becoming more common in Finland, but the country still lags behind neighbouring Sweden. Some 90 percent of Swedish waste is recycled or used to produce energy, while in Finland the corresponding figure is just 40 percent.

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