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      EcoGenerator is important to Szczecin

      Marta Kufel

      Marta Kufel

      EcoGenerator is important to Szczecin

      A decision on the construction of EcoGenerator, Szczecin’s Waste Incineration Plant, was thoroughly analysed by the city authorities. Today, after six years of the Plant's operations, we can certainly say that all the expected effects have been achieved, as there are plenty of benefits from state-of-the-art waste disposal.  It is, most of all, environmental protection, but also the production of cheap energy for Szczecin.

      As Szczecin has its Waste Incineration Plant, EcoGenerator, mixed waste collected from city residents is not taken to landfills and dos not pose any related risks to the natural environment. Mixed municipal waste which is not fit for recycling is transported to the EcoGenerator. Waste from the Szczecin Municipality and its collection under agreements made between the Szczecin Municipality and other commune and special-purpose commune associations is a stream of around 70% of waste which the plant subjects to thermal treatment, recovering energy. Commercially acquired waste from various suppliers, but only from the territory of Poland, account for the remaining 30% of the waste.

      EcoGenerator is located in Ostrów Grabowski in Szczecin and has been operating since December 2017.

      “The project was preceded by an open social dialogue which allowed mutual acceptance and the use of cutting edge solutions. It is a plant which, in the process of municipal waste incineration, generates energy, producing electricity and heat in a way that is safe to the surrounding areas. It is one of the most modern incineration plants in Europe, utilising the so called wet exhaust gas purification system,” said Anna Folkman, Spokesperson, ZUO (Zakład Unieszkodliwiania Odpadów - Waste Treatment Plant). 

      With the city’s own waste incineration system, Szczecin residents can enjoy lower waste management costs. A fee for the admission of waste by Eco Generator from the Szczecin Municipality has not changed for several years now, and is PLN 300 per tonne. The rate is at least 50% lower than the one in commercial plants in the region. EcoGenerator is able to maintain such a rate thanks to producing energy from waste.

      The maximum capacity has been reached.

      In 2018, in the first year of operation, the Szczecin incineration plant received over 114 tonnes of waste for treatment. They were transported to the Plant as part of over 7 500 shipments. The plant reached its maximum capacity in 2022. At the time, EcoGenerator received nearly 176 000 tonnes of waste for incineration, which reached the plant in approximately 14 000 shipments. It was made possible thanks to obtaining an integrated permit in October 2021.

      In December 2023, six years passed since EcoGenerator was launched.  During that time, the plant produced a gross total of over 492 000 MWh of electricity and nearly 3.6 million GJ of heating energy, using over 928 000 tonnes of waste.

      Energy for Szczecin

      The Waste Incineration Plant is one of the pillars of the Szczecin ENERGY programme (ENERGIA Miasta Szczecin), which is aimed at increasing the use of own energy sources by the city and ultimately at reaching energy self-sufficiency). Szczecin is currently the leader in respect of energy self-sufficiency among large cities.

      “In 2023, thanks to using renewable energy sources and own energy production, the City saved 16 million zloty. We managed to accumulate savings of nearly 8 million zloty thanks to producing electricity in the waste incineration process, while the remaining amount includes savings from electricity generated from RES, which we did not need to purchase,” added Anna Folkman

      In increasing the share of own energy sources, the City avoided huge electricity fees, and to a large extent it has become independent of external factors. The consistent implementation of new solutions and investment in renewable energy sources provide safe supplies to Szczecin and the assurance that the city will not experience any shortages, in addition to environmental protection, in the case of RES.

      ZUO plays a major part in this process. A breakthrough event, which took place in 2022, was the issuance of an electricity trading licence by the Energy Regulatory Office, which allowed the Plant to participate in bidding procedures for the sale of electricity (previously, the entire electricity volume was directed to Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne - Polish Electric Power Networks).

      As a result, throughout 2023, the energy required to power street lighting and traffic lights in Szczecin and the energy used for the operations of the Szczecin Science and Technology Park was produced by EcoGenerator.

      The activities were conducted as part of the Szczecin ENERGY programme and are being continued.  A contract with Technopark Pomerania for 2024 was signed in late October 2023, and another one was made with the Szczecin Roads & Public Transport Authority a month later. New entities which source electricity from EcoGenerator in 2024 include Tramwaje Szczecińskie Sp. z o.o. (Szczecin Trams) to power six rectifier stations: „Piotra Skargi”, „Gontyny”, „Gdańska”, „Rugiańska”, „Kaliny”, and „Piesza” and Szczecińskie Przedsiębiorstwo Autobusowe „Klonowica” Sp. z o.o. (Szczecin Bus Enterprise) for bus charging stations at Kołłątaja, Owocowa and Kolumba Streets. 

      In addition to electricity, thanks to waste incineration, ZUO also produces heating energy. Since the beginning of EcoGenerator's operations, the heating that the plant produces is sent to Szczecińska Energetyka Cieplna (Szczecin Thermal Energy), and further to the taps and radiators in Szczecin residents’ homes.

      Open to residents

      In autumn 2022, we reinstated educational trips to our plant for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic. They have been held on a  regular basis since then, enjoying huge interest among visitors of all ages. Throughout 2023, our plant was visited by 1242 guests as part of 61 trips.

      “Each of the visits included a theoretical part and a field trip, a tour of the Plant.  Last year, we organised the “EcoGenerator Saturday” for the first time. The event included tours of the plant for individual residents. Last week, on 24 February, we provided an opportunity to visit the plant for the first time as part of the 9th International Tourist Guide Day,” said Anna Folkman

      During the year, residents can meet the EcoGenerator while attending numerous open-air events across the city. Bulwarove, Young Talent Festival or Szczecin Illuminations are only some of the events we are partners of.

      Development plans

      There are still plenty of goals and specific operational development plans ahead of ZUO. They include the construction of a new plant near the EcoGenerator as part of collaboration with the Westpomeranian Region.

      The facility is to secure the Szczecin Metropolitan Area in respect of medical and veterinary waste management, as the is no plant intended for such purpose in the region whose capacity would meet the needs of hospitals and other healthcare establishments in the Westpomeranian Region. 

      During the incoming local government conference entitled  “The Energy independence of Cities and Communes” which will be held in Szczecin in March, we will use our example to speak about how a municipal waste incineration plant based on the existing resources and experience may be the basis for the performance of communes’ tasks and a solution to their problems. Such plant as the EcoGenerator may also use its potential to create further power-generation facilities and become a vital element that will enable the energy self-sufficiency of communes.

      “It is intended as a medical and veterinary waste incineration plant. The plant, whose planned capacity is to reach a maximum of 5 tonnes, is scheduled to be launched at the turn of 2027 and 2028,” stressed Anna Folkman

      The latest news updates from the EcoGenerator are available on and on our social media sites.

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