How is oil shale waste generated?

Energy production in Estonia is largely based on oil shale. Although the share of renewable energy is increasing, it still remains at around 30% per year. The remaining electricity is generated mainly from oil shale. 

The share of electricity generated from renewable energy sources in the total consumption of electricity has increased every year and reached 19.7% in 2018, which is an increase of 5.7% in the last five years.

The share of renewable energy in primary energy generation has increased to 30.7%, and growth over the last five years has exceeded 9%. 

Statistically, the share of consumption is the biggest in Ida-Viru and Lääne-Viru counties due to the locations of the production units – 21.23 million tonnes (Mt) and 106,000 tonnes,2respectively, in 2018. In 2018, 21,374 thousand tonnes of oil shale was used in Estonia for the generation of electricity, 15.7 Mt of which was used for the production of electricity, steam and hot water, 5.56 Mt for coke and purified petroleum products and 106,000 tonnes for the production of other products made from non-metal minerals. 

11.94 million tonnes of oil shale was used for the generation of electricity in 2018, 371,000 tonnes was used to produce heat and 3.4 Mt was transformed into other types of fuel. 

Ida-Viru County without ash hills

The scientists of Tallinn University of Technology and the University of
and the team of Ragn-Sells AS
are developing an industrial technology
for the separation and recovery of the elements found in oil shale ash,
following the example of similar circular economy projects
implemented in Sweden.