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Energy-from-Waste (EfW) Overview

Ecologically Sound, Cost-Effective Energy

Recovering valuable resources by turning waste into energy 

What is Waste-to-Energy?

Ecologically Sound, Cost-Effective Energy

Waste-to-energy (WtE), also known as energy-from waste (EfW), is a vital part of a strong and sustainable waste management chain. Fully complementary to recycling, it is an economically and ecologically sound way to provide a renewable source for energy while diverting waste from landfills.

A WtE plant converts solid waste into electricity and/or heat - an ecological, cost-effective way of energy recovery.

A waste-to-energy plant converts municipal and industrial solid waste into electricity and/or heat for industrial processing and for district heating systems – an ecologically sound, cost-effective means of energy recovery. The energy plant works by burning waste at high temperatures and using the heat to make steam. The steam then drives a turbine that creates electricity.

Recover valuable resources
Harnessing energy from waste isn’t just a trash disposal method. It’s a way to recover valuable resources. Today, it is possible to reuse 90% of the metals contained in the bottom ash. And the remaining clinker can be reused as road material. 

The results and benefits are proven:

  • Avoids methane emissions from landfills
  • Offsets greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel electrical production
  • Recovers/recycles valuable resources, such as metals
  • Produces clean, reliable base-loaded energy and steam
  • Uses less land per megawatt than other renewable energy sources
  • Sustainable and steady renewable fuel source (compared to wind and solar)
  • Destroys chemical waste / conventional HAPs
  • Results in low emission levels, typically well below permitted levels
  • Catalytically destroys NOx, dioxins and furans using an SCR

High efficiency and low emissions

Waste to energy is one of the most robust and effective alternative energy options to reduce CO2 emissions and replace fossil fuels.  Approximately 2/3 of household waste is categorized as biomass. Therefore, we can recover 2/3 as CO2-neutral energy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

In Europe, 50 million tons of waste is converted into valuable energy through EfW technology, supplying 27 million Europeans with electricity. Still, 50% of municipal solid waste becomes landfill. This releases greenhouse gasses like methane. Our energy from waste technology eliminates these emissions.

Our goals are two-fold: to maximize production and efficiency to meet energy needs, and to reduce our environmental footprint. 

Waste facts

  • 4 tons of waste equals 1 ton of oil
  • 2 tons of waste equals 1 ton of coal
Download Our Waste to Energy Brochure

B&W is Part of ISWA EfW Technologies Publication

As a member of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), B&W is proud to be part of ISWA’s White Book on Energy-from-Waste Technologies, a publication which provides a comprehensive overview of the technical, economic, legislative, institutional, social, and environmental aspects of the available thermal technologies which produce energy from waste (EfW). We were part of the working group that produced this publication and directly contributed to its development.

Download ISWA White Book Brochure

ISWA White Book Brochure Cover


A Circular Economy

Waste to energy is one of the most robust and effective alternative energy options to reduce methane and CO2 emissions.

As urbanization and spending on consumables increases, more solid waste is generated. The amount of solid waste has grown over the last century to more than 3 million tons now generated per day globally, and the number is expected to double by 2025 (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

Solid waste management is often one of the greatest costs to municipal budgets. Increasing the amount of municipal solid waste in landfills translates to increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, air and odor pollution, and soil and water contamination.

Sustainable waste management

To reduce the size, cost and environmental impacts of landfills, many regions are shifting from a linear economy (make-use-dispose) to a more circular economy model, where materials are made, used and reused to their fullest extent. Complementary to recycling, WtE plants extend the useful life of the solid waste, converting it into electricity and/or heat for industrial processing and district heating systems, filtering out harmful substances and recovering metals and other material for reuse. WtE is one of the most robust and effective energy options to produce power while treating waste and reducing emissions as an alternative to fossil fuels.

How Waste to Energy Works Diagram


New Build Technology Expertise

B&W Renewable has more than 150 years of experience in designing, supplying and servicing some of the world’s cleanest, most efficient energy and environmental systems.
Our waste-to-energy (WtE) capabilities, including the state-of-the-art Vølund™ technology, developed and improved over the last 80 years, has been used in more than 500 applications – engineered, tested and proven to offer real and lasting benefits.


  • More than 500 installations utilizing B&W technology in more than 30 countries
  • Flexible designs to accommodate various capacities, fuel compositions and steam requirements
  • Experience as both a supplier to and operator of WtE facilities
  • Environmental equipment solutions for a wide range of emissions
Learn More

Upgrades, Parts & Services

Exceptional service and maintenance means improved availability and performance.

Parts wear out. Technology changes. Needs change. Throughout the useful lifetime of a waste-to-energy or biomass plant there will be many reasons to call a service specialist. And not just for service, but for plant improvements and upgrades, too.

Here are just some of the ways we can help keep your facility functioning smoothly and productively, both for short-term and long-term plant operation:

  • Pre-planned maintenance and service agreements
  • Unscheduled maintenance and equipment repairs
  • 24/7 emergency assistance
  • Startup and commissioning services
  • Plant staffing, training, personnel policies and procedures
  • Operating procedures
  • Long-term plant operation
  • Safety and quality control programs
  • Environmental compliance and permitting assistance
  • Plant improvements and upgrades
  • Replacement and spare parts
  • Inventory control
  • Assessment surveys
Learn More

DynaGrate and Vølund Grate

In a waste-to-energy plant, the grate is where waste is converted into energy – the heart of the system. Over the past 80 years we have supplied more than 500 combustion grates worldwide.

Waste Fuel Feeder Systems

Steady and continuous feeding of fuel in waste-to-energy plants is the key to stable operation, maximum efficiency, and lower operational and maintenance costs.

Water-Cooled Wear Zones

Water-cooled wear zones are a revolutionary, efficient, and economical way to improve operational accessibility and productivity for waste-fired power plants.

Energy Recovery

Improved revenue and reduced greenhouse emissions are benefits that come from extended energy recovery by condensation of the hot flue gases.

VoluMix Systems

Proper turbulent mixing of the flue gases in the boiler furnace provides a better combustion process and burn-out in the gas phase.

Emissions Control

As a single-source supplier, we can develop an integrated multi-pollutant strategy to match your long-term requirements. Through every phase of the project, we take time to determine your needs and recommend a customized solution.

Flue Gas Treatment

Our flue gas cleaning systems are purpose-designed to treat the gas so emission limits meet acceptable margins during fluctuations in the gas composition.

Corrosion Protection

At our production facility in Denmark, capabilities such as spiral welding and cold metal transfer welding allow us to design and manufacture boiler tubes and wall panels that can withstand the special operating conditions of WTE applications.

ARC, Copenhill

WtE Copenhill Waste to Energy Plant


Located in Copenhagen, Copenhill / Amager Bakke sets new standards for environmental performance, energy production and waste treatment.

Video: The Story of Copenhill


SWA, Palm Beach 2

Palm Beach Facility Waste to Energy


In partnership with BE&K, B&W engineered, designed, procured and constructed SWA's Palm Beach Renewable Energy Facility No. 2. - one of the largest WtE facilities in the world. And through our subsidiary, we are providing O&M services.

Video: Renewable Energy in Palm Beach County


Indaver, County Meath

Meath Ireland Waste Powered Electricity


For the first time in Ireland's history, in 2011 20,000 households in Meath County are provided with waste-powered electricity.

Video: Virtual Plant Tour