Fuels & products
When does waste become fuel? And what is the difference between what we refer to as a product and as a fuel? The answer is in EFO relocating it - and taking responsibility in making its way from a country where it is considered to be just waste, to Sweden, where we can use it as fuel to heat homes and creating electricity.
We have a total of 19 boilers – from Sundsvall in the northern parts of Sweden – to Halmstad in the south of Sweden, which together burn almost 2 million tons of waste annually. Click here to find out which types of fuels we use, what effect we deliver, and how much waste we take care of every year.
Waste, product – or fuel?
Let’s be frank – growing piles of waste is a major problem in most countries. In fact, the industry of waste management is in many ways a “dirty business”. In some countries large parts of the industry in being run by more or less criminals – which says a lot of the complexity of handling waste. And, when you have no use for the waste itself somewhere, it quickly becomes a problem. It piles up and takes up space.
But in Sweden and in a couple of other countries, a radical decision was taken over half a century ago. That was to invest in building district heating, to ensure a stabile flow of hot water to heat homes, especially during the cold winters. This has enabled us to efficient and clean burn waste that is suitable for burning. For many years, oil was the main fuel. Nowadays, oil is only used in critical situations as a backup. So, for us waste is a good fuel. If handled right and responsible. So good, we call it a product. That’s why we say “relocating energy”; which is a quite good parable. The right waste is fuel. That creates energy.
Do we pay for fuel or do we get paid for handling waste?
Once again, as waste for many companies or countries is a problem to be handled and at the same time an opportunity for us to feed our need for heating – the matter is a bit complex. But in most cases, we get paid for relocating the waste – which also covers the logistic costs. But in some cases, as for example wood chips from northern Europe, we sometimes pay a small fee. This mainly happens during long and particular cold winters, when the need for heating is big.
Waste wood (RWW)
Recycled wood is obtained from the construction or demolition of buildings, as well as from scrapped pallets and furniture. The wood collected for recycling is crushed, screened to be sure it cannot be used in any other recycling process and then cleaned from rock, sand, bricks, metals and other contaminating substances. Further processing can result in wood pellets.
Forest wood residue (FWR)
Forest Wood Residue is made from materials collected directly from forests. Forest management results in dead or decaying stems as well as those trees that have been thinned out. Logging activities provide residue from slash consisting of harvesting residues such as branches, treetops, tree bark, and tree stumps. Waste fractions from sawmills and even whole logs that do not meet the requirements of either the pulp or the lumber industries are also collected.
Profiles & storage
Our need in Sweden for fuel varies over a yearly cycle because the need for more heat and electricity is bigger during the cold months. So in some cases, the need for fuel and the need to handle waste doesn’t always match. To tackle these imbalances, we at EFO have built up a large storing capacity at all our sites, enabling us to match different types of fuel's certain profiles.