In 2021, WtE Buchs (belonging to VfA - Verein für Abfallbeseitigung) celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of its founding. Little remains of the original concept of waste disposal.
In the cleaning of soot and fly ash from the combustion plants, much has changed in the history. While the ancestors had to deal mainly with soot in the flue gas, the present-day furnaces are mainly confronted with fly ash in the flue gas thanks to the controlled firing. The «soot», resulting from insufficient combustion is not known to modern combustion technology, because this organic carbon content is burned out to the state of inorganic residue, namely to the fly ash.
A waste incineration plant uses the energy contained in waste to produce steam, which in turn is advantageously converted into electrical energy. Waste is the sole fuel for energy production. Due to technological constraints, only about 85% of the contained thermal energy can be utilized. The electrically operated aggregates consume about 2.5 to 4% of the up to 35% generated electrical energy. The rest is fed into the grid. Exhaust steam, which remains downstream the turbine, can be used advantageously for heating purposes in the district heating network. Where such a network is not available, the exhaust steam must be condensed to water in a condenser to be fed back to the steam boiler.