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Generating energy from waste which businesses and homeowners can use for heat or electricity is a vital cog in the move towards a circular economy.

Energy from Waste and the circular economy

Tackling climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. To follow the path for limiting global warming below 2ᵒC, set out in the 2015 Paris agreement, requires significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The UK has committed to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 requiring action at a local, regional and national level to transition to a zero carbon economy.

To decarbonise and decentralise the UK’s energy system we must implement technologies that provide energy supply solutions across the UK.

The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) and the Birmingham Energy Institute are running a policy commission to examine the state of play, barriers, challenges, and opportunities for Energy from Waste (EfW) to form part of the regional energy circular economy in the Midlands. This policy commission will explore the case for regional investment whilst helping shape the regional, local government and industry thinking surrounding critical issues such as fuel poverty and poor air quality.

Energy from Waste - the Midlands' opportunity

In the Midlands, many industrial sites are unable to access supply of affordable, clean and reliable energy to meet their demands.

Energy from Waste (EfW) could offer a solution to the Midlands based industrial sites. EfW sites provide affordable, secure energy supply solutions that form part of a developing circular economy. EfW reduces our reliance on landfills and obtains the maximum value from our waste streams. There are a number of merging technologies that could potentially play an important role which treats waste as a resource, properly integrated into an energy and transport system and fully respects the potential of linking in the circular economy.

Investment into EfW infrastructure in the region could lead to job creation and economic growth and could help provide inward investment needed to redevelop old industrial sites and retiring power stations. However, for EfW to be part of a net-zero energy system (either in transition or long-term), technologies and processes are needed that reduce the current carbon emissions burden.

EfW could play a significant role in the net zero carbon transition in the Midlands, supplying heat, power and green fuels and solve other problems - the region has some of the highest levels of energy/fuel poverty and poor air quality in the UK. The policy commission will help shape the regional, local government and industry thinking surrounding this important topic.

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The Tyseley Energy Park in Birmingham is an example of an Energy Innovation Zone which is driving forward energy from waste technologies and creating new opportunities for businesses both large and small.

Energy from Waste Policy Commission