AVR innovates with CO2

The implementation of the CO2 Performance Ladder does not limit itself to the infrastructure sector. The waste sector also takes advantage of the management system to reduce its CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. AVR is one of the companies that benefits from the CO2 Performance Ladder. The waste-to-energy concern has implemented the Ladder to strive for its ambitions in sustainability and CO2-reduction.

“There are two reasons for the implementation of the CO2 Performance Ladder within AVR. First of all, AVR is a sustainable company that actively seeks to reduce its CO2-footprint. We have set for ourselves a very ambitious climate goal and the CO2 Performance Ladder contributes to achieving our goal”, says Nathanya Sandelowsky, SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environment & Quality) expert at AVR. “Second of all, we aim to adhere to the demands of our clients, such as municipalities and provinces. These commissioning parties make use of tenders in their projects, in which the CO2 Performance Ladder is part of the criteria of these tenders.”

Capturing CO2

As a processor of waste, AVR deals with two types of CO2-emissions: process bound emissions and non-process bound emissions. The process bound emissions are caused by waste processing installations and materials. These emissions are labeled as scope 1 (GHG protocol) on the CO2 Performance Ladder. The non-process bound emissions are caused by gas consumption and transportation, such as leased vehicles, but also flights, rented cars and bought electricity (scope 2). The largest amount of CO2 reduction can be achieved within the process bound installations. “Waste processing is our business and if the largest CO2-reduction can be achieved therein, then we need to focus our efforts upon diminishing CO2 in the atmosphere as caused by waste processing. That is why we started with the CO2 capture project in 2015. This project enables us to capture flue gases as a result of the waste incineration process, which also enables us to capture CO2”, Sandelowsky says.

The captured CO2 can then be used in greenhouse horticulture. The plants in greenhouses need extra CO2 for optimal growth. AVR does not disclose other business sectors that want to make use of the captured CO2. “Our CO2 capturing initiatives started out as a pilot project. This allowed us to extensively test the scope and technology necessary to capture CO2. Based on these tests we found that the CO2 is suitable for usage in greenhouse horticulture. We now have developed a plan for our waste-to-power plant in Duiven to start out. Moreover, we have plans to continue the CO2 capture project in our location in Rozenburg”, says Sandelowsky. The waste-to-energy company claims that the CO2 capture project leads to a yearly reduction of 70.000 metric tons of CO2 per line. Both plants in Duiven and Rozenburg combined consist of 10 lines from which flue gases can be captured. This amounts to a great potential to reuse CO2 and reduce the emissions in the atmosphere.

Averted CO2 emissions

Besides processing waste, the waste-to-energy plants of AVR produce sustainable heat and electricity. For this, the company makes use of turbines that convert the steam from the incineration process to electricity. The renewable electricity that AVR generates for the most part is directly sent to the power grid. Furthermore, AVR produces steam to heavy industries and uses steam to heat water for heating 160.000 households and company buildings in Rotterdam and Arnhem. Instead of fossil fuels that cause a great deal of CO2, AVR therefore offers a sustainable alternative to its clients. With these initiatives AVR contributes to the avoidance of CO2 emissions.

“When we deliver heat, steam and electricity to our clients, we make sure that these clients do not make use of gas or fossil fuels. This leads to avoided CO2-emissions, of which the previous version of the CO2 Performance Ladder did not take into account”, says the SHEQ expert. “The management system now includes a list of possible CO2-reduction measures. This made it possible to grade our actions of generating renewable energy and take averted CO2-emissions into account. Thus we were enabled to move our standards of CO2-reduction to a higher level.”

Working with the CO2 Performance Ladder

Thanks to the implementation of the CO2 Performance Ladder AVR managed to internally increase awareness of their ecological footprint, Sandelowsky noted. The waste-to-energy concern purchases green electricity for their machines and works according to the principles of ‘The New Driving’, of which the goal is to reduce fuel consumption within its operations. “When we purchase new machines and materials, we make sure to keep CO2-reduction in mind. Because the reduction of CO2 is becoming more and more important for many organizations, we want to communicate our efforts. The trick is to concretize ambitions of CO2-reduction. This is why we conduct research to the various ways of keeping our CO2-footprint at a minimum.”

Moreover Sandelowsky sees opportunities to make CO2 reduction more accessible to all layers of the organization by means of the CO2 Preformance Ladder. “An organization should take lead in the implementation of the CO2 Performance Ladder and include as many employees in this process as possible. That way, the organization will acquire better insights as to how to actually cut down on CO2 within the business.”