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The activities of PGE Group companies, especially during the production of electricity and heat in power plants and combined heat and power plants, generate waste, which the companies strive to reuse and manage.

With a view to protecting natural resources and minimising environmental impact, PGE Group's activities are aimed at reducing the amount of waste deposited in landfills. 

Starting from January 1, 2020, PGE Group companies actively participate in the national waste database system and perform all their obligations in this respect on an on-going basis.

This has made it possible to develop an effective tool for all participants in the waste management process in the companies’ branches.

This task in PGE Group companies is carried out in accordance with the provisions set out in the administrative decisions held (integrated permits and sectoral decisions).

The minerals accompanying lignite deposits play an important role in the sustainable supply chain of raw materials and materials. Management of associated minerals contributes to rational deposit management and protection of the earth’s surface. All waste generated that is not managed on the companies’ premises is transferred to external companies that have the relevant permits and authorisations in this respect.

The strategy for the management of combustion by-products at PGE GiEK, in accordance with the principles of the circular economy, should lead to the use of waste as products and by-products and, consequently, to the reduction of final waste to a minimum. The economic management of as much combustion by-product as possible becomes a necessity. Waste, which should be classified as raw materials, must be fully utilised by, among others, civil engineering, road construction or macro levelling.

The combustion of lignite at the Bełchatów plant produces fly ash and furnace slag, and synthetic gypsum (as a product) as a result of flue gas desulphurisation. The predominant direction of the management of substances arising from the combustion of fuels is the disposal at the combustion waste dumps „Zwałowisko” (the area of the former open pit of the Bełchatów Field) and Lubień (the above-ground dump located to the west of the Bełchatów plant).

Fly ash from ash removal processes in electric precipitators is transported to retention tanks, where each has a working capacity of 1 800 m3 and is equipped with 1 or 2 loading sleeves depending on the type of tank and ash. The volume of ash which was not collected by external customers is directed to the suspension production and transport installation and is deposited in the „Lubień” landfill. The second type of waste produced during the combustion of lignite is slag, which is transported hydraulically to the „Zwałowisko” landfill.

At present, the Bełchatów plant operates three landfills for non-hazardous and inert waste – the „Zwałowisko” and „Lubień” landfills, where ash-slag mixture is stored, and the „Rogowiec” landfill, where gypsum waste and partly waste from production that can no longer be recovered are stored.

Part of the fly ash is considered a by-product and can be further managed as a product in accordance with the relevant administrative decision. It is advisable to increase the volume of such management, which will lead to a reduction in the amount of waste deposited in furnace waste landfills.

Work is currently in progress to develop the use of the entire volume of ash-slag mixture produced at the Bełchatów plant. It is assumed that more and more ambitious targets will be set in this regard from year to year.

The entire volume of gypsum produced at Elektrownia Bełchatów is sold to market customers, with by far the largest volumes being taken by a major building materials manufacturer.

The methods of waste management, as well as the volumes of waste generated at the Turów plant are in accordance with the conditions set out in the current integrated permit. The amount of waste generated depends on the investments made and the scope of operations carried out at the installation.

In order to prevent the need to dispose of furnace waste in a landfill, this waste is transferred to an ongoing recovery process. The management of combustion waste in the ongoing recovery process consists of filling in areas that have been adversely transformed as a result of mine operations.

Waste generated at Elektrownia Turów is handed over for management only to entities with the relevant administrative decisions on waste management activities.

The synthetic gypsum produced at the Flue Gas Desulphurisation Facility is classified as a by-product for use in the agricultural (fertiliser) and construction industries. In 2022, approx. 150,000 Mg of gypsum was produced at the Turów plant. The sole customer for the gypsum produced at the Turów plant is PGE Ekoserwis.

Due to the commissioning of Unit 7 with the IMOS wastewater treatment plant in 2021, new types of furnace waste and sludge from the IMOS wastewater treatment plant are generated at the Turów plant.

Due to the numerous changes in legislation in the area of waste management, Turów continuously monitors changes in the law and implements the applicable adaptation measures if necessary.

The Opole plant produces by-products from fuel combustion (slag, fly ash), flue gas desulphurisation (synthetic gypsum), fly ash as waste (non-quality fly ash) and insignificant amounts of other waste from fly ash flotation (microspheres).

These substances result from the operation of units 1 – 4 and new generating units 5 – 6.  

Flue gas desulphurisation systems are operated on all generating units. Synthetic gypsum (as a by-product) is fully collected by Knauf Bełchatów Sp. z o.o. and PGE Ekoserwis SA. Fly ash recognised as a by-product is managed in the construction and cement industries. Coal fly ash, which is a waste product, is used in the mining industry. It is assumed that the power plant will not carry out UPS storage – all combustion by-products will be subject to economic use. The Opole plant has a combustion waste landfill site, however, due to the economic use of all the combustion by-products generated, no more waste has been deposited there since 2000. 

At the Dolna Odra plant, mainly combustion waste called ash-slag mixture is generated, which is deposited at the combustion waste landfill located at the fuel combustion installation.

Microspheres and sludge from the flue gas desulphurisation system are produced in insignificant amounts. Coal fly ash, which is considered a by-product, is collected by PGE Ekoserwis. Gypsum is also produced as a by-product and managed by PGE Ekoserwis. 

 The Rybnik branch transfers the generated combustion by-products to PGE Ekoserwis for further management.

It should be emphasised that in 2022 ash and slag were produced exclusively as by-products, while gypsum was produced as a product.

In 2022, all of the gypsum produced by the plant’s operations was earmarked for sale as synthetic gypsum. It is used in the construction industry for the production of plasterboard and fertiliser products (AgroSulCa, AgroSulpur, Sulfagro).

The products placed on the market are of full quality and meet all the requirements of the relevant standards, approvals and certificates.

Waste management at the Rybnik plant is carried out in accordance with the waste hierarchy. In 2022, no ash, slag and gypsum waste were generated at Rybnik and it was entirely managed as products and by-products, which contributed to the prevention of waste generation.

Any industrial waste that was generated in 2022 was selectively stored in designated areas so that internal and external factors did not affect the physical and chemical properties of the waste. The Branch only handed over the waste stored in this way to reputable companies that have the relevant decisions and authorisations in the field of waste management. Most of the industrial waste was sent for recycling or other recovery processes. In this way, valuable materials in the waste were managed, thus reducing the use of natural resources. An example is the sludge from the wet flue gas desulphurisation plant, which is used to obtain materials for the reclamation of land and degraded areas.

Waste management is carried out on the basis of the waste hierarchy, primarily based on waste prevention.

All waste is collected in accordance with the rules of waste segregation and is initially stored in designated areas. Waste storage is equipped to minimise the volume of waste.

Secondary raw materials are collected selectively in separate bins. All waste is handed over for management to authorised collectors. Only two types of waste that are not suitable for further use are sent directly to landfill.

The mine carries out the process of recovering combustion waste from the Turów plant (the so-called R5), which consists in filling in the negatively transformed areas, i.e. the decommissioned part of the pit. Sewage sludge from domestic sewage treatment plants is a valuable fertilising and soil-improving substance and is used in the process of biological reclamation of post-mining areas. The waste recovery process consists of mixing the tailings with the mine overburden, and then filling the post-mining pit with the resulting mixture, in accordance with the terms of the mine’s waste treatment decision. Ultimately, the excavation area together with the internal heap, where the recovery of combustion waste from Elektrownia Turów is carried out, will be developed into a forest.

The Turów mine also carries out rational management of humus (removed as part of the preparation of the forefield), which is used as a sodding material and to protect the surface of the internal dump from excessive dust.

Waste management at the Bełchatów mine is carried out in accordance with the legal acts in force in the field of business activity concerning waste management.

Its main objectives are to ensure the protection of the life and health of the population and the environment in accordance with the principles of sustainable development, to prevent the generation of waste and limit its quantity, to carry out waste recovery or neutralisation, and to take measures to limit its negative impact on the environment.

Storage and recovery of generated waste is carried out at the mine site. Waste is stored selectively, depending on its type, with preliminary separation of recyclable waste, in separate and adapted places, with a ban on mixing and in conditions protecting against penetration of harmful substances into the environment, access of unauthorised persons and animals, in appropriate containers or in bulk.

Most of the volume of post-processing outfall is transferred to external customers, either as waste or as a by-product.

Once in a while there are situations when the volume of transferred waste is higher than the current volume, which is due to the transfer of waste to external customers from the previous period’s stock.

When waste has no economic use, it is sent to landfills. In recent years, these quantities are marginal in relation to the total outfall.

By-products of incineration are handed over to third parties for management, which, in line with regulations recommending a circular economy model, should be considered a desirable course of action.

Taking into account the regulatory context and processes of the transition of energy sources, a gradual reduction in the volume of post-process waste should be expected in the coming years.

The substances produced in PGE Energia Ciepła and used as raw materials for production are continuously monitored.

They are subjected to a number of production-approval tests, which provides a guarantee of their quality and safety of use. 

The company’s waste management is carried out in accordance with the Waste Act, internal regulations, e.g. the Waste Management Procedure at PGE EO, and the provisions set out in permits for the generation of hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

The municipal waste generated is properly segregated and then collected by authorised external companies with which the relevant contracts are concluded.

Hazardous and non-hazardous waste is handed over to companies with permits for waste collection, transport and management.

In accordance with the Waste Act, records of waste generated and transferred are kept in the computerised waste database system (BDO).

Oil management is certainly part of circular economy. The oil, which is necessary for the correct operation of the hydro-complexes, is cleaned and treated on an ongoing basis for re-operation.

Systems are also used to minimise its consumption and reuse. These include oil vapour capture systems, sealed oil sumps, oil separators and oil separators.

The waste generated is sent to recycling or disposal companies. Waste heat from block transformers is used efficiently in the individual divisions. Thanks to the heat recovery system, it is possible to feed the district heating network.

Malfunctioning equipment or other components are first attempted to be repaired by PGE EO employees before being classified as waste.

Some parts or components from faulty equipment are used in other equipment. The same applies to materials that can be used in other applications, such as pipes, sections, rollers, raw metals.

There is also the sale of waste – scrap materials, used oil for regeneration and reuse.

The company makes rational use of its resources.

All waste generated that is not managed on the companies’ premises is transferred to external companies that have the relevant permits and authorisations in this respect.

The volume of hazardous waste generated is decreasing every year. Particularly noteworthy is the significant reduction in non-hazardous waste generated. In the case of PGE Dystrybucja SA, the amount of waste generated depended on the scope of operations carried out on the power grid, the occurrence of failures and the investments carried out.

The development of the Live Work technology, which is classified as a modern technology for operating the electricity network without having to shut down the lines supplying electricity, influences the maintenance of quality standards for transmission and distribution services and reduces the incurred losses in the transmission of electricity.

An important advantage of Live Work is also the extension of the service life of switching devices (disconnectors, disconnectors and circuit breakers), which has an impact on reducing the amount of waste generated in this area.

In the area of operation of the Zamość Branch (in Krasnobród), there is a modern training ground for training employees in carrying out live work.

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