Alchemy of Incineration

The Alchemy of Incineration

From Waste to Resource

by Patricia Chase

For every three tons of garbage, the new super-efficient incinerator operated by SYSAV in Malmö, Sweden, extracts the equivalent energy of one ton of oil. Nine municipalities, with a total of 500,000 inhabitants, jointly own SYSAV, a regional waste service company serving southern Sweden. In addition to burning its own wastes, Sweden has become a waste importer. Revenue is generated in two ways: by selling waste incineration services, and by selling the energy and heat produced by incineration. This is the alchemy of waste incineration: Waste = Energy = Revenue.

Malmö, Waste to Energy

The Waste to Energy plant in Malmo accepts garbage from many municipalities. Electricity goes into the electrical grid; heat is distributed to homes and business through the district energy system.