It becomes a source of energy! Find out how at the SETMI.
The SETMI (Société d’Exploitation Thermique du MIrailis a branch of the Veolia company. It is in charge of operating the factory, which has obtained triple QSE certification: Quality, safety and environment.
Tariffs and conditions
This visit is FREE of charge
Prior reservation required at: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Proof of identity is required on the day of the visit
• Visits available, with prior reservation, for groups and individuals
• Duration: 1h30
• From Monday to Friday, except public holidays
The Toulouse waste-to-energy plant is situated to the South of the town centre. It was built at the same time as the district of Le Mirail in order to recover the energy produced by the combustion of domestic waste as thermal energy. The site opened in 1969, and it has been upgraded several times since then, improving its output and environmental efficiency.
Today, the plant processes about 280,000 tonnes of domestic waste each year. You will learn how the processing of this waste allows the surrounding district to be supplied with both hot water and heating, as well as how the excess steam from the incinerators are used to produce electricity. When you arrive on the site, you will immediately notice the 70 metre-high red and white chimney. This stack evacuates the smoke that is produced by combustion, after multiple processes eliminate almost all of the pollutants contained in the smoke. The quality standards are drastic and are continuously monitored. Incineration allows the volume of waste to be reduced by 75% and the remaining residue (slag) can be used as a base layer for road and carpark construction.
You will bypass the factory to view the traffic of the trucks that bring the waste to the site: household waste (or “OM”: 80%), waste from assimilable companies (or “DIB”: 18%), hospital waste, laboratory , nurses… (or “DASRI”: 2%) and the combustion residues (unburnt or bottom ash) stored in a huge storage area (or camembert).
The entrance hall displays the history and evolution of the district and of the plant itself. The presentation continues in a conference room dedicated to visitors:
– The waste library presents all of the main categories of waste (plastics, metals, cardboard, electronic equipment) and tackles the themes of recycling, recovery, biodegradability, but also the reduction of waste at the source, composting, consumerism, and how to buy smart in order to reduce waste.
– An animation of the plant presents all aspects of the site:
• The arrival of dustbin trucks on the site (registering and weighing), unloading into the waste pit (20 metres deep, 60 metres long).
• The work of the gantry operators who mix the waste and supply the four incinerators with 3 tonne grapples.
• Waste combustion (domestic, industrial, medical) at more than 850 degrees in incinerators controlled by an operator who monitors all the major parameters.
• Recovery, sorting and processing of slag (60,000 tonnes per year approx.)
• Smoke processing and de-pollution.
Animated diagrams explain how the boiler works: water is piped through the hottest parts of the incinerator, turning it into steam at high pressure and high temperature.
This steam will then be used in heat exchangers to create hot water for heating and hot tap water, and also to operate a turbo alternator in order to produce electricity. The visit continues on the 5th floor, offering a panoramic view of the slag maturation area, rainwater recovery, the site’s beehives and the Pyrenees mountain chain in the distance…
Information panels summarise the various processes that have previously been described. The highlight of the visit is the view of the waste pit from behind the crane operator’s cabin. You will be greeted by the spectacle of an impressive amount of waste being used to resupply the site’s four incinerators.
The plant operates round the clock, 363 days each year, in order to eliminate the city’s waste Trucks and vehicles are restricted to daytime activity to avoid excessive noise pollution. Constant monitoring of gaseous, liquid and solid outputs is provided to ensure environmental safety and efficiency.