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A practical method to calculate the r1 index of waste-to-energy facilities

Viganò, Federico
Waste management 2017
boilers, case studies, energy balance, energy recovery, guidelines, incinerators, municipal solid waste, uncertainty, Italy
According to Directive 98/2008/EC, the operation carried out by an incinerator of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is classified either as energy recovery (R1) or as disposal (D10) depending on the result achieved by the application of the R1 formula. In 2011 the DG Environment of the European Commission (EC) issued some non-binding guidelines on the interpretation of such a formula that clarified many aspects related to its application. A point not fully clarified by the EC guidelines is the determination of the energy contained in the treated waste (EW). For this term of the formula, reference is made to the indirect method for the calculation of boiler thermal efficiency, as defined by the norm EN 12952-15. However, the application of such a norm to an entire year of operation of a Waste-to-Energy (WtE) boiler is not immediate. Therefore, a practical method for the calculation of the EW term has been developed in the framework of a collaboration between the MatER Study Centre and the Lombardy Region (Italy). The method is based on: (i) the identification of the most reliable data available from the Distributed Control System (DCS) of the plant; (ii) the definition of a control volume around the boiler(s) also based on the availability of data; (iii) the closure of the mass balance for such a control volume; (iv) the energy balance of the same control volume that gives, thus, the EW term of the R1 formula. The method has been applied in 2015-2016 to nine plants, generating a number of interesting data reported and discussed in this work, such as R1 index values, Lower Heating Values (LHV) of the treated wastes, main sources of energy losses in WtE boilers, etc. For one case study, discussed in detail in this work, the law of propagation of uncertainties has been applied according to the ISO/IEC Guide 98-3, leading to the assessment of the accuracy of the method, which resulted in ±2.4% with a confidence level of circa 95%.