Grupo TERSA implements innovative catalytic system at Energy Recovery Plant to enable 50% reduction in emissions

13.05.2021, Sant Adrià del Besòs Nou catalític a la planta de valorització energètica de TERSA a Sant Adrià del Besòs. foto: Jordi Play

This system uses the latest and best available technologies to ensure the best possible environmental practices. The project to install the new system was approved in 2016 and the system, which required total investment of 18 million euros, was commissioned during the month of April.

Grupo TERSA, a public company that manages environmental services related to the circular economy and which is owned by the Área Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB) and Barcelona City Council, has commissioned a new catalytic system that reduces NOx emissions by up to 50% at the Sant Adrià de Besòs Energy Recovery Plant (ERP).

This advanced technological system, which guarantees the best environmental practices currently possible, was put into operation progressively during the month of April, subsequent to the annual technical plant shutdown, during which the necessary actions for the commissioning of the system were carried out. The construction of this large-scale system began in 2020, and technical and building challenges had to be overcome in order to integrate the new installation into the current ERP configuration.

This cutting-edge technology enables Grupo TERSA to achieve early compliance with the BREF, the new European regulation which comes into force in 2023 and which lowers the nitrogen oxide emissions limit to 150 mg/Nm3 for existing energy recovery plants. The average emissions of the ERP are in fact already below this limit but the new technology will reduce NOx emissions by up to 50 % more, well below the limits due to come into force in two years’ time. The system will also enable a further reduction in particulate matter emissions.

The implementation of this new catalytic system at the ERP is fully aligned with the measures promoted by the AMB and Barcelona City Council to improve air quality. In this respect, Oriol Vall-llovera, manager of the Grupo TERSA, points out that “this strategic project for the company was approved in 2016 and is indicative of our ongoing commitment to continuous process enhancement and the achievement of the highest possible standards of efficiency and environmental sustainability. Our aim is to continue being a benchmark in the sector”.

Commitment to continuous innovation 

The project, which required investment of 18 million euros, is part of the Grupo TERSA’s commitment to innovation and environmental management. Gemma Gargallo, Director of Corporate Development and Sustainability at Grupo TERSA, explains that “as a public company, and in accordance with our vocation of providing excellent service to citizens, we work to implement the best practices for the purpose of minimising environmental impact and contributing to sustainable development”.

Within the framework of the Grupo TERSA’s management of environmental services related to the circular economy, the ERP generated more than 140,000 MWh of electricity in 2020 by recovering energy from waste. This energy is approximately equivalent to the annual domestic consumption of a population of 100,000 or twice the annual energy required to power public lighting in Barcelona.

The waste recovered at the Sant Adrià de Besòs plant also enables the supply of steam to the urban heating and cooling network of the Forum and the 22@ district, which serves more than 100 buildings in this area, including the Hospital del Mar. This makes it the only waste-to-energy plant in Spain to supply thermal energy (in the form of steam) to a heating and cooling network for use in heating, air conditioning and domestic hot water.