The Maresme Waste Centre produces around 94,000-megawatt hours of electrical energy each year, of which more than two-thirds are distributed to the electricity grid, supplying electricity to around 30,000 homes.
Beyond conscientiously promoting the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, the Maresme Waste Consortium is working to provide a tangible response to the needs that arise from moving towards a more sustainable society. The Consortium manages the Maresme Waste Centre, which deals in the recovery of materials so that they can be returned to the production cycle, while at the same time playing a very important role in the production of electrical and thermal energy. The latter has led the Centre to position itself as one of the main generators of renewable energy in Catalonia and a benchmark for the diversity of sources with which it generates this energy.
Today, on the occasion of World Energy Efficiency Day, it is interesting to review some of the most relevant data on the energy that this Maresme facility produces from its three sources: the energy recovery plant, the biological treatment process of anaerobic digestion for the generation of biogas, and the photovoltaic roof.
The energy recovery plant, in operation since 1994, is the final stage for waste, the place where it ends up if it has not been recycled, recovered or (better still) prevented. It is a process that scrupulously complies with the strictest guidelines on emissions regulated by RD 815/2013 of the Industrial Emissions Directive. The Centre produces around 94,000-megawatt hours of electricity per year, of which more than two-thirds is distributed to the electricity grid, supplying around 30,000 households, while the remaining part is used to supply the plant itself.
The Maresme Waste Centre also produces biogas, a combustible gas created from the biodegradation of organic matter through the biological treatment of anaerobic digestion. This process, which was launched in 2013, produced 600-megawatt hours in 2020 that were sent to the electricity grid for external consumption.
Beyond that, the Centre also generates solar energy from a photovoltaic roof with more than 1,700 panels: the largest solar panel installation in the county. Thanks to this, which has been in operation since 2012, a significant amount of energy is produced each year, all of which is fed into the electricity grid for external consumption. The number of megawatt-hours generated from the photovoltaic installation in 2020 was 244.
These sources of renewable energy from the facilities in the Maresme region contribute to tackling the climate emergency crisis, avoiding the use of fossil fuels and thus reducing the greenhouse effect.
The Green Pipeline, Mataró district heating and cooling
Since 2013, the Maresme Waste Centre has been transferring the use of thermal energy from part of the steam produced from the combustion process of the energy recovery plant and the heat generated in the cogeneration engines of the anaerobic digestion process to the Green Pipeline. This is a municipal underground heating and cooling network that reaches many public buildings in the city, such as the Mataró Hospital, the TecnoCampus, and various sports, educational and training facilities, among others.
Since the Centre started making this contribution to the Green Pipeline eight years ago, the amount of thermal energy transferred has increased by up to five times. Thanks to the pipeline, public buildings can dispense with air conditioning systems based on fossil fuels, contributing, once again, to the reduction of CO₂ emissions and the reduction of the ecological footprint.