Work has begun on a 1.5 MWe commercial demonstration waste-to-energy plant in the UK.
The SynTech Energy Centre in England’s West Midlands will use gasification technology from US-based Frontline Energy to process 40 tonnes of post-recycling refuse derived fuel (RDF) per day, turning it from municipal waste into syngas.
The syngas will be converted to power using a modified gas engine, with the engine’s waste heat used to heat a local swimming pool and the power planned to supply around 2500 households.
An integrated test facility will allow the testing of new engines, turbines and upgrading processes which produce products from waste-derived syngas, including a proprietary methanol production process.
The project has the backing of the UK’s Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), which will invest £5m ($6.4m). US-based SynTech Bioenergy will provide a matching investment.
The ETI said the plant is more compact than many other waste-to-energy designs and could be suitable for providing heat and power to factories and hospitals as well as integrating with heat networks in towns and cities.
ETI bioenergy project manager Paul Winstanley said: “The UK paid to export three million tonnes of RDF to Europe in 2016. This export market is still rising and nearly 16 million tonnes of waste is landfilled, of which half could be used as fuel.
“This technology could be used to convert waste into clean, reliable and economic heat, power, chemicals and fuels on a smaller scale where it could be used by factories, car plants, hospitals and data centres economically.”