Recycling & energy recovery facility starts low carbon heat supply in Leeds


The Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF), operated by Veolia on behalf of Leeds City Council, has now started delivering low carbon heat for local homes.

The start of this supply marks the 600th district heating scheme that Veolia supports across the world.

Developed by Veolia, the RERF, which manages all of Leeds’ black bag waste, has been built with the latest energy recovery technology. The award winning facility is designed to recover recyclable materials from the waste and use what is left to generate low carbon heat and hot water, through the new district heating network, and electricity for the local grid. It will initially supply heat for 1,983 council homes and enough electricity for 22,000 homes. 

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Officially opened in November 2016, the 14 MWe RERF site is aiming to help Leeds become a zero waste city. The site is also home to Europe’s largest vertical green living wall that stretches 1,800m2 as well as a unique timber-arched frame structure.

Richard Kirkman, Veolia’s Chief Technology & Innovation Officer, said: “District heating is a key strategy that will drive heat decarbonisation and help reduce CO2 emissions across the UK. With this innovative facility Leeds is a shining example of a circular economy hub that transforms unrecyclable black bin waste into an important energy source that benefits local communities. By connecting it to the district heating network it  further boosts sustainability, and cuts carbon emissions for the city.”

Worldwide Veolia already operates almost 7,000km of heat networks including schemes that serve up to half a million people. In the UK Veolia currently manages the energy plant and networks across 47 schemes. These use a range of low carbon and renewable energy technologies including combined heat and power (CHP), renewable waste wood biomass and heat from Energy Recovery Facilities. The company also operates over 120 community heating schemes serving campuses and hospital sites.

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