Waste Management In Action

WtE and the fight against landfill: Hitachi Zosen Inova

Hitachi Zosen Inova’s Marina Mills outlines how waste-to-energy technology is helping shape Moscow’s waste management evolution.

Moscow, a city of 12.5 million people, produces the largest amount of municipal solid waste in Russia. Historically, most of that waste has ended up in large landfills inherited from the Soviet Union, which are often located in highly populated areas.

Based on published statistics, there are circa 400 kilograms of municipal solid waste attributable per person per annum in Russia, or a total of 60 million tonnes each year.

That number is forecast to grow to 500 kilograms per person by 2025.

“95 per cent of the waste is not treated but landfilled in Russia,” Hitachi Zosen Inova’s (HZI) Marina Mills says.

“Landfills take up one million hectares of land around Moscow and circa four million hectares across Russia. Most – estimated at 80 per cent – are full and are closing or will be closing soon.”

Environmental awareness has been steadily growing in Russia over the last decade.

In 2017, the country faced large protests organised in 30 regions against illegal waste dumping.

In the summer of 2017, for example, Kuchino landfill, one of the largest serving the Moscow region, was closed due to overcapacity and pollution concerns.

In 2018, the Russian Government approved a national project for ecology.

The project sets a target that 60 per cent of all solid waste will be processed by 2024, with 36 per cent recovered, reused or recycled.

In alignment with the new project for ecology, four waste-to-energy (WtE) facilities are set to be constructed across the Moscow region in coming years, with Russia’s Green Tariff program making these projects more attractive for investors.

The four WtE facilities will be constructed by HZI, in collaboration with consortium partner ZiO-Podolsk.

Through the consortium, HZI acts as combustion and flue gas treatment technology suppliers, while ZiO-Podolsk will deliver manufacturing services for power island equipment.

“With more than 600 WtE references worldwide, HZI is one of the world’s leading designers, suppliers and manufacturer of WtE technology,” Mills says.

“We are proud of being able to collaboratively work with our consortium partner, notwithstanding some territorial, cultural and language differences.”

Mills explains that ZiO-Podolsk brings local experience, expertise and the ability to manufacture high quality equipment locally.

“We look forward to growing and strengthening this partnership in the future,” she says.

Each facility will process 700,000 metric tonnes of waste and generate 70 megawatts of electricity for the grid.

Mills explains that this will supply circa 400,000 residents in the Moscow region.

Construction of the first facility is well underway, she adds, and is progressing reasonably considering the challenges presented by COVID-19.

The second facility also received its Notice to Proceed in June 2020.

Thermal waste treatment will be used to recover energy and material from non-recyclable waste, Mills says.

She adds that the process will convert waste into energy and reduce material volumes by 80 per cent.

“Thanks to continuous optimisation, today’s grate combustion is the most advanced technology for the treatment of non-recyclable waste with regard to environmental friendliness, operating reliability, flexibility and cost effectiveness,” Mills says.

More specifically, each Moscow plant will have three lines with HZI designed reciprocating grates, as well as the company’s patented flue gas treatment system: DyNOR-SNCR for NOx reduction.

“The state-of-the-art grate combustion and dry flue gas technologies developed in-house by HZI are specially designed for the thermal treatment of municipal solid waste,” Mills says.

“It allows HZI plants to process large variations and quantities of waste in compliance with the strictest environmental regulations, such as the European Union’s 2018 Emission Directive, reliably.”

“This is the same standard against which HZI is currently building the East Rockingham WtE project in Perth, Western Australia,” she says.

“Additionally – we have kept in mind the potential for standardisation of multiple WtE plants built in Russia to address waste management issues effectively and efficiently in future, as well as our ability to reliably maintain technology should it be required.”


Mills, who lead commercial contracts negotiations on behalf of HZI for the East Rockingham WtE facility, says as Australia’s WtE market expands, the country should look towards international experience and best practise.

“In Russia, for example, the introduction of the Green Tariff applicable to electricity produced by WtE plants has focused the development of the Moscow projects,” she says.

“Governmental support, landfill taxes and WtE grants provide a level of certainty to us, as technology providers, that the market understands modern WtE technology and the need for it.

“However, continuous raising awareness of it in general public and involving local communities cannot be underestimated.”

The Australian market has particular challenges, Mills says, such as individual state regulations and variance in council waste volume sizes, as well as the location of Australia.

“As a consequence, each project needs local knowledge, stakeholder information and a good understanding of the local waste composition to allow for WtE projects and affordable gate-fees,” she says.

Mills adds that HZI’s international experience presents opportunities to evaluate the differences and similarities in standards applicable to construction of WtE facility globally.

Furthermore, she says to grow WtE in Australia, further source separation of organics, recyclables and residual waste is key.

Mills explains that in collaboration with composting facilities, HZI’s Kompogas dry anaerobic digestion systems can produce renewable energy in the form of biogas, which can then be used for natural gas grid injection.

“We aim for as much waste as possible to be recycled, but there will always be a non-recyclable fraction of waste,” Mills says.

“WtE is a clean and safe solution for municipal solid waste that cannot be further recycled.

“In addition, it allows recycling of aggregates and metals which would normally be lost in landfills.”

HZI is also preparing for the renewable future with its power-to-gas solution EtoGas, which transforms surplus electricity from intermittent sources such as wind and solar to hydrogen.

“Together with carbon dioxide, we can synthesize renewable methane. Considering the large Australian footprint available for wind and solar, we can see a future where Australia becomes fully sustainable and a net exporter of renewable energy,” Mills says.

“This aligns with HZI’s vision of the world moving away from landfills, that account for 8 per cent of the total greenhouse emissions, to a circular economy.”

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