How Waste-to-Energy Works

Wheelabrator Technologies owns and operates modern waste-to-energy facilities. Unlike conventional power plants, these sophisticated facilities safely and effectively convert heterogeneous waste materials into clean, renewable energy and useful byproducts, while sustainably powering communities and protecting the environment.


Here in our waste-to-energy plants, we weigh post-recycled waste delivered from residential, commercial, and special waste customers before transporting it to the tipping floor. Material is visually inspected before being pushed into the fuel bunker. This waste material can vary widely in moisture content and thermal value, so it's continually managed in the bunker to ensure consistency.

Residential Waste

Our facilities use local fuel—everyday household and business waste— to generate clean, local energy for our communities

Commercial Waste

We offer commercial and industrial customers one-on-one staff support to ensure their zero waste goals are achieved and each delivery is executed effortlessly

Special Waste

We are trained in handling sensitive materials such as non-hazardous waste that requires special treatment or handling like assured destruction


Overhead cranes then transfer the trash into a feed hopper to the boiler. Inside each boiler, an inclined, reciprocating, metal grate slowly moves the trash through a thermal (heating) process, where temperatures exceed 1100°C.

Volume Reduction

As we process post-recycled waste, we reduce waste volumes by 90 percent

High Temperature

Temperatures exceed 1100°C

Dust & Odor Control

Air is continually drawn from waste storage areas into the boiler, creating a constant negative pressure that prevents the escape of dust and odours

Electricity Production

Hot combustion gases pass by a series of boiler tubes filled with water, creating high-pressure steam. The steam is used to drive turbine generators and produce electricity for sale to local utilities. The steam also can be sold to drive industrial processes or for district heating & cooling. We condense the remaining steam into purified water and return it to the system for more renewable energy production.

High-Pressure Steam

Heat from the combustion process heats water in boiler tubes to create high-pressure steam

Plant Turbines

Thermal energy in the form of high-pressure steam is used to drive turbine generators

Electricity on the Grid

Plant turbines generate electricity that is sold to local utilities to power communities

Metals Recovery

As we process post-recycled waste, we reduce waste volumes by 90 percent, conserving valuable landfill space and reducing greenhouse gases. Prior to safely landfilling the inert ash, we remove ferrous metals such as iron and steel, and non-ferrous metals, such as copper and aluminum, from the ash residue and send it to recycling facilities. The remaining 10 percent is ash residue. In the UK, the ash residue is either processed on-site or transported to an offsite facility where metals are recovered for recycling before the remaining ash is used as an aggregate by the construction industry.

Ferrous and Non-ferrous Metals

We recover and recycle metals such as iron, steel, copper and aluminum that would have otherwise gone into a landfill

Additional Metals Recycling

Additional metals are removed from the ash, which are sold and recycled into new products

Air Quality Control

After heat in the combustion gas is absorbed in the boiler to produce steam, the gas exits the boiler and powdered activated carbon is injected to remove mercury and trace organic compounds. The gas then enters a spray dryer absorber where lime is combined with the gas to neutralise acid gases, including sulfur dioxide and hydrogen chloride. The gas then passes through a fabric filter where particulates are removed. The cleaned gas exits through the stack after a series of continuous emissions monitors analyse and record levels.

Boiler Gas is Treated

Gas is treated with carbon and lime to remove mercury and trace organic compounds, and to neutralise acid gases

Fabric Filters

Gas passes through a fabric filter where particulates and remaining pollutants are removed

24/7 Monitoring

Cleaned gas exits through the stack after a series of continuous emissions monitors analyse and record levels, which are closely monitored by plant engineers