What is an ERF?

An Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) produces energy in the form of electricity, heat or both through the combustion of residual waste. It carries out this essential work to prevent waste from being sent unnecessarily to landfill.

This process is managed under very tightly controlled conditions. Energy recovery is a preferable solution over sending waste to landfill. Until recent times, landfill has been the most common method of disposal for municipal waste in the UK. However, this trend is changing as landfill is widely recognised as the least sustainable method of disposal and is at the bottom of the waste hierarchy.

‘Residual waste’ (or black bag waste) is the remaining waste material after separate diversion of potential waste components through reduction, reuse, recycling, home composting, garden waste collections and food waste collections. It is essentially the non-recyclable waste that is left over after our best efforts to prevent, reduce or recycle it.

For an ERF to produce power, water is boiled by the hot gases generated by the combustion of waste process. This creates steam which spins a turbine to generate electricity which may be exported to the grid. It is possible to generate heat from the ERF when it is linked to a heat network providing efficient and low-cost heat to residential homes and businesses. Our aim is to be the most efficient facility of its kind operating in the UK.

All modern ERFs are built with sophisticated pollution monitoring and control systems which capture virtually all of the potentially harmful emissions from the plant.