With yearly amounts of about 2.5 million tons in France, Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) offers an interesting but heavily underexploited energy potential. By regulating its recovery, the provision 2971 of the energy transition law would send a positive signal to many players.
The LTECV represents an evolution that might accelerate the structuring of a sector dedicated to SRF that, at European level, is still considered as waste.
The SRF, i.e. fragments of wood, cardboard or plastic foils selected among non-recyclable waste for their energy potential, is for the moment mostly buried waste: high calorific value, low chlorine and heavy metal content SRF only is used in cement factories.
Although it is gradually acquiring the status of product, thanks to such quality requirements, extending its recovery would allow segmenting the market and broadening the link between supply and demand, as the players’ needs are beginning to converge. Indeed, as substitute to fuel, coal or gas in heat stations, SFR could be an interesting leverage for the objective to achieve a 30% reduction of the use of fossil energies by 2030.
In spite of the lack of long-term visibility on the prices of a kilowatt-hour of electricity, and even though it is not a “miracle resource”, SRF guarantees constant costs and a relative sustainability, meaning that recovery in heat stations adapted to the departmental scale could be an option. Indeed, a 30 to 50-kilometer perimeter would allow matching 20 to 30,000-ton and populated areas of 300,000 inhabitants: the operation of 5 to 10-megawatt plants may thus be ensured.
Without taking away the whole potential of material recovery, of course, the provision 2971 of the LTECV could thus accelerate the development of a sector that, in the absence of investors, continues to rely on subsidies and financial and fiscal incentives to provide for a competitive energy.