REMONDIS Rheinland: Secondary fuels from the region’s waste

In the town of Erftstadt, highly innovative activities are taking place, almost unnoticed, on the premises of REMONDIS Rheinland GmbH. The company has been operating a modern waste treatment plant on the site since 2005. In a specially developed process, the plant uses non-recyclable waste to produce high-quality Solid Recovered Fuels (SRF's), which are used in combined heat and power plants and cement kilns as an alternative source of energy.

The plant separates the delivered household and bulky waste using cutting-edge sorting technology and subjects the recovered waste streams to further processing. Magnetic and eddy current separators as well as automatic optical sorting technology, so-called near-infrared spectroscopy, recover recyclable ferrous and non-ferrous metals and separate recyclable plastics.

The plant then processes the non-recyclable waste to produce quality-assured and certified Solid Recovered Fuels (SBS®, with quality award RAL-GZ 724 and 727) with defined properties such as heating value and chlorine content. These secondary fuels are used as a substitute for fossil fuels i.e. in a nearby power CHP plant and in cement kilns. Any residual waste is recovered in the form of energy in local incineration plants.

The combination of material recovery, fuel production and replacement of fossil fuels as well as the conversion of residual waste into energy reduces the CO2 emissions by 70,000 to 80,000 tonnes per year in total. More than one million tonnes of CO2 emissions have already been avoided.

Engine for progress:

  • Savings of over 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year (effect of SRF's)
  • Improvement in the region’s value chain
  • Reduction in transport distances
  • Low waste collection charges thanks to the combination of recycling, fuel production and energy recovery

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Photo: The rubbish that is delivered from the surrounding area, within a radius of approx. 50 km, is mixed and includes municipal waste and bulky waste refuse as well as industrial/commercial waste.

Flagship site for recycling

A regional focus lies at the plant’s heart: the delivered household and bulky waste comes from surrounding towns and districts. By sorting and processing the waste to produce fuels in one location and using the fuels in the nearby power plant, REMONDIS avoids long logistics chains and supports regional materials flows. In addition, local people benefit from the low waste collection charges. The concept is also generating a lot of international interest.

Further innovation measures are planned

The development of quality-assured Solid Recovered Fuels is not the only local innovation. For example, automatic sorting technologies and near-infrared spectroscopy have undergone further development as part of European demonstration and national research projects and in cooperation with various industrial and research partners. A new type of electrically driven grab excavator and an energy management system ensure the plant’s energy efficiency is optimised. The company is also continuously working to develop new processes to recover resources from household waste and from mattress recycling.


"Following our pioneering work in the field of quality assurance and secondary fuel development, receiving the first RAL quality mark to be awarded in Germany for the reliabledependable quality of the fuel, following European activities to standardise Solid Recovered Fuel, it is a great pleasure to have the climate-friendly credentials of our plant in Erftstadt confirmed by the state of NRW."

Dr Thomas Glorius, Head of Material Flow Management

Partners and sponsors

  • REMONDIS Rheinland GmbH
  • EU-Förderung